sometimes I wish

sometimes I wish

my school had told us

that there was still sexism in the world,

even though there shouldn’t be,

and that we need to work to take it down.

instead they tried to demonstrate,

to be their own microcosm.

they told us that only boys were strong,

and that only girls were smart

(except for the best boys),

that boys never felt self-conscious, ever,

and that only girls knew pain.

sometimes I wish, too,

that they recognized

that not everyone assigned male at birth

would grow up to be a man,

and that not everyone assigned female at birth

would grow up to be a woman,

instead of saying,

let’s play dodgeball, let’s play jeopardy

with the males versus the females,

“just for fun.”

sometimes I wish

they’d told us that racism still existed

in our own country,

instead of treating the 1960s

like a battle we’d long won.

Now I never knew what happened

at home in 2004,

and sometimes I wish

that somebody had told me

when our state legalized gay marriage,

and what gay marriage was.

sometimes I wish

they’d talked to us about privilege

like the complex thing it is,

instead of saying

“America is the home of the brave

and the land of the free,

and nothing more,

and we know you’re privileged in every way

and ungrateful for feeling anything.”

because I’m still trying to piece this together now,

way too late in my life for this,

for learning about basic rights.

I bet some would argue

that the children aren’t ready for that yet,

they can’t understand such nuances yet,

and I can’t speak for everyone,

but I know

it would have made a world of difference

to me.

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