Ashamed to be white

The following poem was published on the webzine, ‘I Am Not A Silent Poet’ on 11th July 2016.

According to mappingpoliceviolence.org, ‘Police killed more than 100 unarmed black people in 2015.’ And ‘Unarmed black people were killed at 5x the rate of unarmed whites in 2015.’

Forty years ago Bob Dylan was singing (in ‘Hurricane’) about a black man, Rubin Carter, sentenced for murder by an all-white jury: ‘How can the life of such a man/ be in the palm of some fool’s hand?/ To see him obviously framed/ couldn’t help but make me feel ashamed/ to live in a land where justice is a game.’   What’s changed?

black lives matter Is his life worth more

Ashamed to be white

 

(in memory of Alton Sterling of Baton Rouge, Louisiana

and  Philandro Castile of St.Paul, Minnesota,

murdered by white police officers.)

 

‘Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.’   John Donne

 

It is shameful to be white.

It is shameful to be white

and not speak out.

It is shameful to be white

and not speak out against

racial abuse.

It is shameful to be white,

the colour of purity,

when so unclean.

It is shameful to be white,

the colour of innocence,

when so guilty.

It must be shameful to be white

in the home of the brave,

when some behave as cowards.

It must be shameful to be white

in the land of the free,

when so many are imprisoned

by their colour.

It is shameful to be white,

the colour of cold sterility

of those who have the power

and abuse it.

Black brother, black sister,

when the trigger is pulled,

I am ashamed to be white.

Centuries deep

and time after time

I am ashamed to be white.

 

© Dave Urwin 2016

 

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About jadedmountain

I am a poet, living a rural life in south-west Wales. The purpose of this blog is to publicise my poetry.
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3 Responses to Ashamed to be white

  1. This is a very important poem like J. Donne’s quotation. I remember it every time I hear the bell announcing the death of someone. Ashamed to be white? Maybe.. But as I said in another comment some days ago it’s not the skin colour but the economical conditions that influence society.

    Like

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