#RRBC, IT’S COMING FROM BOTH SIDES

Last night, I happened upon a very interesting documentary about the desegregation of busing in Boston public schools.  “The call for desegregation and the first years of its implementation, led to a series of racial protests and riots that brought national attention, particularly from 1974 to 1976.  It led to a decline of public school enrollment and white flight to the suburbs.”  (ref:  Wikipedia)

In this documentary, a teacher asked his class of all black students, why they thought the white kids had left their school?  The response was:  “They didn’t want to sit next to us.”  Recently, during another open discussion on social media, I read this comment by a white student:  “They are prejudiced against us, too.”  (WOW!  When the word too is used, that’s an open admission that this is going on, right?)

I don’t recall the name of the documentary, as I came in on the middle of it, but it moved me so much, I felt compelled to pen this poem…as it is coming from both sides, people. Let’s wake up.  Our kids are speaking.

***

“DOES MY LIFE MATTER?”

I am a black woman, and because of the shade of my skin and coarseness of my hair, because of the fullness of my hips, my lips and the bold colors I wear…some don’t find me as attractive as my fairer counterparts.  You see, I’m no longer your house-maid or here for your sexual pleasure;  no longer Mamie to your children, I’m now someone’s Mother…a treasure.  But, does my life matter?

I am a black man, and because of my dark skin and the boldness of my stance, because of the kinky in my hair, the anger in my stare, and the wear and tear shown on my hands…some still don’t see me as a man.  You see, I’m no longer your field property or your whipping post.  I’ve freedom papers and own land now, maybe, more than most.  You build cages to hold me, guilty or not;  where you should build institutions of higher learning,  you lock me away for little things, then leave me there to rot.  Will my bed forever be a cot?  But, does my life matter?

I am a white woman, and because of my milk dove skin and cute, pinched nose, thin ruby red lips and fair skin that glows…with my pearly whites and prominent chin…some still look at me and despise the skin I’m in.  I was never privy to the pain that was caused.  I was born into that hatred…those God-awful laws.  So, does my life still matter?

I am a white man, born into privilege and wealth, easy life, perfect health, yet…I’m still persecuted and referred to as “the man.”  I, too, hate the ways of the Ku Klux Klan.  My neighbors are black, white, green and red…still, I haven’t fled.  To be where everyone looks more like me, is not where I want to be.  I, too, would like to one day be FREE. (Yes, FREE!  It also applies to me!)…FREE of the labels that bind because of the color of my skin. I’ve never owned any human or degraded any man. But, does my life still matter?

I am a brown-skinned woman and because of my accented words, you think I should be silent…quiet and not heard.  I can do more, than clean your windows and floors.  Just ask me what I’m capable of, you’d be surprised, I’m sure.  I may have come here via the back of a truck, or even the legal route, if I was blessed with such luck.  Maybe I was born here, and my parents, too.  In your eyes, would that still make me less American than you?  Does my life matter?

I am a brown-skinned man and though maybe a bit stocky, I’m no less in appearance, than your brawn and cocky.  I’m not a rapist, a thief or thug…but a man like you, with kids to hug.  I’m not ashamed to tend your lawns and trees, but Executive, also a title I’d wear with ease;  whatever it takes…my family to feed. Don’t dismiss, or overlook my face;  I may not have been born here, but I’m here to stay.  And with that said, does my life still matter?

With all that’s going on, there’s much racial unrest.  It’s time to put differences aside and put real LOVE to the test.  We can’t keep fighting each other, when there are real wars going on.  We must come together in love, heal and stand strong.  There are real enemies among us, and their names we know not.  We must stand on the front lines, together and talk.

The differences between us are fewer than those in our heads;  and in the end, until we draw our last breath,  we all still bleed red.  Yes, that small matter is what makes us brothers, and binds us tighter than any other.

That stream of red flowing thru our veins, is what should force us to…
release all blame,
stop the pain,
forge ahead,
no more blood we’ll shed.

Yes, the hatred does come from both sides and it’s time WE all bring it to a peaceful end.

YOU MATTER.

I MATTER

WE MATTER, ALL.

“ALL LIVES MATTER.”

all-lives-dogs

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39 Comments

  1. annemargaretmanay

    I appreciate the spirit of this post. I do think, however, that we have to be careful not to fall into the trap of false equivalence when seeking forgiveness or peace.

    Like

    • Oh, A. M., you must expound on that. Now, on which side might the false equivalence be falling? In trying to understand your comment, are you saying that you don’t believe that it IS going on, on both sides equally? That there is more coming from one side than the other? I’d love to hear more of your thoughts.

      Thanks for dropping in!

      Like

      • annemargaretmanay

        I suppose what I’m saying is that while it’s true that anyone can experience racial animostly on an interpersonal level, we shouldn’t let the idea that both sides are bad prevent us from addressing the systemic racism that disproportionately impacts the lives of people of color in our country.

        Like

  2. This is such a beautiful and powerful message. It truly speaks to everyone, and should. Thank you for sharing it with us, Non!

    Like

  3. Great poem. Bigotry is not born, it is taught. My daughter at 4 yrs old saw her first black man. Her question to me was, “Mommy, why is that man wearing white shoes?” Her dad always wore black shoes. That was the only difference in color that she noticed.

    Like

  4. Well written. Thought provoking. Love the pictures of the puppies.

    Like

  5. This was SPOT ON; what an objective and forward (in a good way) article. We need real, unbiased love, YES!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. YAY!!! for all the Labs and for all the skin colours of our Rainbow World! 😀

    Like

  7. Omg! I absolutely LOVE this!! Beautiful, Nonnie! Amazingly beautiful! 🙂

    Like

    • Yvette, it’s always nice when you drop by and I’m so glad you enjoyed the piece! Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Moving words. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Nonnie!

    Like

  9. Reblogged this on Welcome to the World of Suzanne Burke. and commented:
    A must read post from a heart that is open to all.

    Like

  10. Moved to tears. We humans are a strange breed. Unconditional love appears to have left the building. It’s time to open those doors and invite it back in. Thank you for this post. I have reblogged it.

    Like

  11. Shirley Harris-Slaughter

    Profound observation!

    Like

    • Thanks, Shirley! Surprisingly, I expected more from you on this piece…LOL

      Like

  12. Nonnie, this moves me deeply. Thank you for sharing your gift with us. This is such a beautifully written and powerful message. Blessings to you and yours.

    Like

    • As always, Natalie, thank you! From one poet to another, so glad you enjoyed it 🙂

      Like

  13. A fabulous post, Nonnie with a message that needs to be shared and heeded. Thanks for posting. Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!

    Like

  14. Reblogged this on Room With Books and commented:
    A very thought provoking poem by Nonnie Jules. How does this make you feel?

    Like

  15. Loving and heart felt words of someone with a forgiving heart. This is the heart that this nation needs. A forgiving heart. I wish… I just wish… It is a great honor to know you, Nonnie.

    Like

  16. Well said.

    Like

  17. beautiful and so forgiving. there’s so much uunarticulatednshamebinbthe white population among those who care deeply about matters of race equality. thank you for presenting that side. ❤️

    Like

    • Rea, did you mean “un-articulated shame in the white population?” Well, however you said it, we appreciate it! LOL! This made my day!

      Like

  18. Gwen Plano

    What a powerful and timely poem! Yes, we all matter, and we all hurt from the unrest. If ever there was a time to extend a hand and offer an open heart, it is now. Truly, too much is at risk, as you’ve written, from the “real enemies among us.”

    And….I dearly love the photos of the 2 labs!

    Like

  19. This is a great poem and an even greater message about our shared humanity. The poetic form gives it tremendous power, Nonnie! Thank you for this gift!

    Like

  20. niargcom

    Beautiful, Nonnie and definitely spot on! Bravo…

    Like

    • Thanks for dropping by, Carol!

      Liked by 1 person

      • niargcom

        It was an honor to be able to read and enjoy your amazing poem, Nonnie. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

        Like

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