November 3, 2020
by Kamil Saxena Khan
You do see color. You watch out for it like a STOP sign, briefly halt,
then go on about your day.
You intentionally stare at it like a stoplight, anxious to move past it.
Every space you enter has a seat waiting for you.
You feel awkward when your minority friend acts self-righteous and brings up race. It feels like
they are just stirring an empty pot.
The elephant in room isn’t them,
Race isn’t your problem,
Because you’re nice, respectable,
You don’t really have an opinion so you can’t be complicit if you never:
DO the crime,
SAY the slur,
OWN the slave.
Like you know rape is terrible but are tired everytime she alludes to HER marginalization.
..because MAN you were socialized to relate more with her rapist.
You prefer to come off as polite.
Until three shots of Cinco De Mayo later,
the honesty spills and stains,
You like my kind, “but the gays”;
As I hear you drop judgement,
But you know no LGBTQ,
Too many mixed alphabets for you,
You always start with A,
Go in order,
But you never make it to Z.
And when Z asks “why, A?”
You point your fingers at B.
Your racist relative is “old-fashioned” but nice,
Kind enough to give Patriarchal advice,
Drops a nugget of wisdom,
“whites are victims of racism, too”
Forget the lesson you got,
But your black friend Scott,
Your Jewish colleague,
Your Nigerian doctor,
Your Vietnamese counselor,
Your Mexican girlfriend,
Them as them, us as us,
You will take an eye for I.
The courts seem fair,
Because the judge is an older version of YOU.
In his adolescence, he made mistakes too,
now cages black and brown kids,
Ghetto manufactured, state processed,
The presumption of decency your whiteness affords you.
You love the culture behind multiculturalism, but think we are divisive when our voices multiply.
Empathy that doesn’t propel action unintentionally propels complicity.
Sacrifice your standing! Join our sit-in!
Shield the people from the institution,
not the institution from the people.
The rules your fathers made won’t rule against you.
“Object your honor,” overruled.