26 August 2009

On being accustomed

I’ve become accustomed
to the way
crowds disperse
when I make an entrance;
I have the power that,
in my youth
I didn’t realize I had:
The power to turn conversations
into whispers or si-
when I enter a room
I can cause people to stare
wonder about why I am present,
or my relativity to the situation in question,
to peek around people’s heads,
to point at me
always from a distance.
I can cause white women to clutch their purses,
or lock their car doors or roll their windows up
just by my being in their vicinity.
I can cause an entire pool to become contaminated
Just by dipping my big toe in it.
I can even cause property values to lower
just by being seen from a window
I have that kind of power.
                                                             Power, by Alieux D. Casey
I was inspired to write this when my nephew, who swims at the YMCA every day, called me recently to tell me that he’s been having the entire swimming pool to himself when he’s been there this summer because the parents of the other kids always get them out of the pool the second my nephew steps in, and when he enters the locker room he can hear the kids talking, but they stop talking when he enters and he can hear whispering. When he asks me why that happens, I never know what to say. I want him to believe that not all people are racist because I know some very cool people of all races that have treated me with the utmost kindness, equality and fairness and have been there for me at the lowest points in my life, but at the same time that are cool people, there are also some assholes out there as well

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