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by Ashanti Barber

I take a deep breath to calm myself because you are the example
Of the ignorance and or anger of which this world has more than ample
I inhale and remember who I am as well as you
A black middle class woman versus the man who bleeds red white and blue
But blood that was spilt came from brown people too
Yet I exhale remaining seated while you do you
Clenching your fists and pacing as you refuse to drop
The conversation where the topic is obviously too hot
Too hard headed to be taught
Although I yearn to teach
The rhetoric is hateful despite my attempt to beseech you to drop it
This hot topic just made you my foe
And this is the way that the country goes
Back and forth with 2 party hate
A system that long ago obliterated
Our chance of unity
So soon we will see how quickly words become actions
How party lines puts us into factions
warring on opposite sides for the same thing
The right to live freely and be treated as a human being
But all I’m seeing
Is another white man
Telling me how he has a right to belittle who I am
And used code words like “ inner city”
To invoke pity
From the other rural bystanders
The slander neither hidden nor regretted
Because your white privilege alone means that you have been vetted
And everything you say is instantly true
My very being is a contradiction to
Everything you thought was impossible.
Yes, I continue to sit patiently while you stand
Pacing back and forth clenching’ your hands
Demonstrating to all that you truly can be
Exactly who I was afraid you were, the epitome

Ashanti is a poet and writer whose goal is to integrate the voice of the Black woman into 21st-century art and literature. Her book Woven: Perspectives of a Black Woman showcases poems written from her teenage years to early adulthood.  Samples of readings and the publication are available on her website www.mytruenorthartistry.com.

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