How to write a poem about racism

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how to write a poem about racism

Readers Against Prejudice and Racism - Poem Showing 1-6 of 6

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Published 09.12.2018

Javon Johnson - "cuz he's black" (NPS 2013)

Perhaps it was the announcement of another all-white panel, literary event, or award shortlist in my social media feed. I do recall feeling frustrated and defeated — the same emotions I feel every time I witness the prevalence of whiteness — and pacing around my apartment while texting friends about it. Despite my lack of formal training in songwriting, filmmaking, and novel-writing, I have always found the challenge of exploring a new medium invigorating.

My Blackness Goes Before Me: A Poem and Commentary on Racism and Reproductive Justice

Few tools in the fight for racial equality have been as powerful as poetry. Racism is premised on the bizarre idea that humans are reducible to a few racial features. It reduces us from thinking, feeling and complex individuals into pre-determined categories. And then it stereotypes those categories to sow seeds of separation and proliferate prejudice. It dehumanizes people by asserting that superficial shades of skin and arbitrary outcomes of ancestry make some humans less human than others. In our world as it is today, forged through the wrongs of empire, eugenics and slavery, people of colour bear the brunt of this burden.

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O n Monday I'm going to be pitching my anti-racist poem to fans of the Blades and Pompey at Sheffield United's Bramall Lane stadium, the oldest major football stadium in the world still hosting matches. I'm an experiment — a poet on the pitch, but not a pitch-perfect poet. I might even be a botched experiment. As far as I know, I'm the first poet to read to a whole stadium just before kick-off — but certainly the first woman poet. They came up with the idea of commissioning a poet to write an anti-racist poem, read it at a match, and paint the poem on the stadium walls. They picked me because they'd read I was sporty! Beeley said: ''If it works, it will go down a storm, if it doesn't we'll let you know.

This past Tuesday when Barack Obama stepped out of the political morass and wiped the mud from his suit, when every one of the chattering news networks quieted down to watch him speak, I cringed, convinced the gifted orator couldn't be that gifted. He was doing himself in. Yet there he was addressing racism, of all things, with wisdom and grace and care and forgiveness. Accepting that it was, in part, a calculated move by a campaign, and no matter its effect or lack thereof on the election, it was the most remarkable speech I've witnessed in my lifetime. There were the pundits unsure how to handle what so clearly had transcended politics. There was CNN, plucking the most inflammatory line in the speech: Obama: "Racism is a Stain on the Constitution" for their headline--then realizing they were an embarrassing demonstration of Obama's criticism of the press, pulling it. It was a surreal and, in some ways, joyous moment.

4 thoughts on “Readers Against Prejudice and Racism - Poem Showing 1-6 of 6

  1. Poetry shows that racism is absurd by reminding us of a truth often . He's not excused by the fact that, at the time he was writing, nearly all.

  2. I wrote this poem because I had grown tired of people not seeing me beyond the color of my skin or my "otherness." I see it being played out on.

  3. Of human ignorance I am almost in despair For racism is around me everywhere But like they say sheer ignorance is bliss Just like Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss.

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