Sunday, April 29, 2012

White Wash by Wendy-O Matik

Aug. 18, 2009

While sleep escapes her
she lists her confessions.

I was conceived in part because of race
this was 1966
I was delivered in a white-walled hospital on white bed sheets
beside the spirit of thousands of white babies before me
amidst white doctors
and white nurses
while people of other races
held the janitorial jobs—
     scrubbing toilets, dumping garbage
     serving food, doing laundry
I grew up in a predominantly
white neighborhood
because white privilege bleached the streets
in the image of their choosing.
I went to schools packed with a predominantly
all-white student body with all-white teachers
and all-white administrators and all-white textbooks
     transcribing an dominant Eurocentric colonialist perspective
whose white privilege excluded the accomplishments
   and contributions of people of color
because they were taught to do so.

White employers hire me
based on my privilege of white reflection
I gain entry into places because of my white status—
     universities, clubs, bars, jobs, organizations of the elite
     summer camp, student exchange program
Because of my whiteness
I am excluded and protected
from gangs, juvie, prison, military service, racial profiling
and other lower socio-economic traps
I am permitted unlimited entry
to free drugs, parties, neighborhoods, stores, and gated communities
without suspicion or second-guessing of my right to be there
because I am a gold-card-carrying white person
with detailed, specified entitlements
they serve me and my white brothers and sisters
without questions
respectively and accordingly.

I am alive and here today
in this white-washed apartment
owned by my white landlord
holding this job, savings account, car, clothes, and all the rest
thanks to my sweet little white ass.
And believe me,
when I tell you,
that I never forget it,
nor the heavy responsibility
that comes with it.
Wendy-O Matik