The White Person's Gun Of Choice Version 1 & 2
I wrote these three poems as an assignment for a poetry independent study I did. The assignment was to take pre-existing source material like a news article, and to create a poem about it. I have never been able to forget this infamous Forbes article, “If I Were A Poor Black Kid,” in which this clueless-ass, privileged-ass white dude somehow came to the realization that it had been too long since Kipling’s “White Man’s Burden.” So why not write a new one for the internet age! It, of course, was not received well. But at the heart of the article, I felt like, was Mark’s clear judgment and prejudice towards black and poor people. One, not everyone that is black is poor, and two, to assume that those that are black and poor are in their situation purely because of not putting their money in the right places, and not because of, you know, systemic inequality and histories of slavery, Jim Crow, racism, disenfranchisement, oppression, and the intentional suppression of resources, education, and information… Like heffa, come on now! You are too privileged to be this unaware! You’re writing for Forbes for fucks sake.
So all in all, I wrote three poems that were playing around with how the judgment and misunderstandings of white people about the social standing of black people is one of the deadliest weapons they could use against black people. While a judgmental article can seem very inconsequential to something like a gun, an article like Mark’s can reinforce centuries long prejudices and biases in people that do have access to guns, and negatively inform the way they think about black lives and their value. The first poem (When Your A Poor Black Kid) is my initial response to the Forbes article. The next two (The White Person's Gun Of Choice Version 1 & 2) are variations that I built off of that first response.
When Your A Poor Black Kid
shoots out faster than the
bullets that alarm me
it’s time for school.
The White Person’s Gun Of Choice (Version 1)
Everyday I must confront the barrel of their noses
from which their judgment shoots out faster
& strikes harder
than any bullet.
The White Person’s Gun Of Choice (Version 2)
Every time they choose to turn up their noses I find
myself staring into a barrel from which their
is the deadliest
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