Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 341: Red-lining

My mother grew up in Detroit

12 mile, Royal Oak Michigan

in the 50’s

where young children

privileged enough

to be white

played red rover in picket fences

just a pebbles throw from 8 mile rd

Americas most defining city suburb line

Where institutionalize racism learned to procreate

In a time when intergraded neighborhoods were considered unstable

‘Red lining’ was used a restrictive covenant that created an “invisible” barrier that determined where people of color could live and where they could buy homes

city officials drew their maps

and watch the cities sink, into soil

In these streets

The red lines run deep

Like the feet of disporatic peoples flee

and this city seems to be burning from the inside out

the realtors using skin as charcoal

the blacker the faster they burn

the happier the customers

who are not afraid to say “we want no color here”

but it aint just Detroit

Its Philadelphia

New York

Its how our communities turned ghettos began to burn

Best believe it’s the dirty south

Los Angeles

San Francisco

At Stanford

We learn these facts at a distance

In our suburban cul-de-sac bubble

Pretending that the “diversity” in our classrooms

Means we’ve come far

And that far is enough

Its my ethnic studies teacher saying that we don’t grow up knowing that students of color are under represented in university classrooms

Its my white classmates agreeing with the statement

it’s the brown bodies in the room that don’t even need to open their eyes to feel it

It’s the language

How it doesn’t seem to fit right on our tongues

It’s the history books ancients

It’s the process we go through to

Teach our selves to reason this is wrong

Never learning how to fix it

That would be too dangerous

It would darkness the line between us

As if sitting in this filth doesn’t

We play discussions with history

Like we didn’t learn the lesson

And We have read the lynching

How black bodies hung in the deep south

White men

Fronting whiter capes

Playing god

Making angles out of young boys

We watch as their halos fell bellow the neck line

Only gasping at the cracking noise

Of bone

To skin to rope

How something

Other than weight hung in the air those days

It is heat

It is Hate

It is screaming our name

So what happens when in Arizona

Black, Chicano, queer, and any ethnic literature other than white is banned from the classroom to the Furness

How fast are we burning now

When you add the books

When all you can read are white pages

When will there be room for our black and brown bodies in this institution

There is enough white between the lines without having the banish the words

Can you see the smoke rising?

The ink


Can you breath through the hypocrisy

Or slice it

The irony

Can you taste it

How in the last two years

Unemployment went from 7 million to 16

While Worldwide, global wealth held by millionaires rose by 19 %

It is 2010

The red lines seems to have only thickened since the 50’s

The government is playing maintenance

While we are burning in the aftermath

Our homes

Are ground zero

No one comes to visit

No one sees anything but dirt

But just beyond 8 mile rd

There is a town

Where young children

Privilege enough to be white

Play red rover

Between picket fences

We can see them from where we hang

It is as if we can almost reach them

From the darkness

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