Skin – A Soon to be Deemed “Racist” Rant, More Like a Tirade

I have been in contact — skin-to-skin — with those
of a darker shade than I,

it felt like…skin.

It was not the passionate embrace of intimates,
or the caress of long known love,

nor was it an assault — violent expression of hate,
fear and ignorance– there was no instinctual
desire to attack,

merely a touch, unconscious of color.

Bear in mind, I do have my prejudices, oh yes,
and hold tightly to them, even when
I may be wrong.

I form an immediate opinion when I see a black man,
hand holding his pants up by the crotch,
wife-beater t-shirt and a do-rag,

I have similar thoughts about the Hispanic with tattoos
on his face and a lowrider in the yard,

it is much the same with the white woman with four kids
living in a trailer, smoking cigarettes and not
working, refusing to marry the baby-daddy

’cause the food stamps would stop.

Are you pissed off yet? Have you decided on the name
you will call me? Racist? Bigot? Judgmental?
It’s ok, I can be a judgmental SOB.

But here is the thing: my judgements are based on actions
and ideas, not color, and I certainly do not believe
there is some inherent superiority imbedded

in my somewhat-tan-but-still-white skin.

However, there is a reciprocity required which is often
overlooked: you do not get to judge me either,
or, at least not based on my skin,

I do believe there is content of character at issue,

and while mine may indeed come into question when
I display my prejudice against those I do not
know or understand,

you do not get to call me racist if I question the decisions
or actions of a man of color, simply because
the words came from a white man.

The color of my skin does not grant me any right
of superiority, but neither is it a valid reason
to censor my convictions,

that would be racist.

I have hugged the neck of a black woman and kissed
her on the cheek, shook hands with Hispanics,
Asians, Arabs…

all just felt like skin.


Filed under Poetry

11 responses to “Skin – A Soon to be Deemed “Racist” Rant, More Like a Tirade

  1. I understand the point you are attempting to make in this poem. It is a valid one.There are other prejudices apart from colour prejudices. There is class prejudice and also prejudice against those who do not conform to politically correct cultural mores of the moment. There is political prejudice as well In fact there is so much bias and prejudice in all of our institutions it is mind boggling. This poem is very thought provoking and interesting.

  2. Yes, what Rallentanda said. This is a deep look at reverse racism, which happens – this poem is very thought-provoking. I read it carefully, to make sure I was reading it right.

  3. Interesting. The art of expression is admirable.

  4. I wanted to write a good comment, but when I read Rallentanda’s I agree with her word for word. And I agree, we’re not all the same, but…
    It also really surprised me when I was in Norther Ireland how much prejudices there still are and how deep rooted they seem.
    See, your poem made me ramble. Very thought provoking.

  5. ZQ

    I agree with the group conscientious… without taking away the talent of this piece. Well written!

  6. this really makes one reflect on groups, minorities, racism, ways of life….

    really got me to thinking about things, the human condition.

    the truth of it is, i think everyone is trying to make it in their own way, equipped only with the things they know how to make it with. which is why i think education, information, reading, knowing, is important.

    stacy lynn mar

  7. Points well made, Mark. I cannot disagree with you on any of them.

  8. A very pointed poem. The intent is solid and so is the delivery.

  9. Hi Mark…you have been posting quite regularly at Poetry Pantry. But it seems you aren’t commenting on others. Looking at last week’s poem here (which many of us in Pantry commented on) & do know that all of us who comment on our poetry would enjoy comments as much as you do. Hope I will see you making rounds this week.

    • you are correct, my commenting has been rather anemic lately, especially last week, posted in the morning planning to come back to comment, did not work out.

      • There is always today. I see you have a lot of comments today again. Hoping you find more time today to visit at least those who spend time reading and commenting on your poems.

Some of what I write is true, some is fiction; most is merely possibility.

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