My White Body
My white body has brought me ease
in this USA society that's marked black
and brown bodies, that marks them still.
My body white and masculine has functioned
as a passport, yes it has. Has often let me
be as invisible or as noticed as I prefer.
Has allowed me to prefer. I hear the voices
of contrarians: Have my white body and I
been excluded, ignored, worked hard, and
maybe even hated? Oh, sure. But not so
as to make my white body's experience
and me equivalent to that of those marked
by this USA society. I've been reading
The Slave Ship: A Human History by
Marcus Rediker, 2008. You know, you
think you know, but you don't know--
that is why history is written, read.
Admit it. Admit you have a white body
according to the culture's rules, I told
myself. And let's not whitewash the issue.
This isn't Tom Sawyer's fence.
What's an admission worth? Not much.
It's a move, a mental shift. What must ensue
after the admission must be more productive
than just the admission. Otherwise the move
becomes just more hoo-hah from a mind inside
a white body. My white body has brought me ease.
Copyright 2011 Hans Ostrom