I’m Not Angry at You

I’m not angry at you

Just because your government, your people

At some point in history

Enslaved people from my continent

Displaced and dispersed and abused them

Because you weren’t there

You didn’t do it yourself

I’m not angry at you

Just because your government then freed them

Thinking they were doing them a damn FAVOR

Then continued to treat them

As less than human

As less than citizens

As less. As less

To this day

As less

I’m not angry at you

Just because your government, your people

At some point in history

Colonized my land

Violated my land

Violated my history

Stole my history

Crushed my culture

Violated my people

Shamed them

Because it’s not your fault

You weren’t there

I’m not angry at you

Just because your language and knowledge

Are dominant

To the extent that they almost

Erase mine

At least I count myself lucky

That I can communicate in the world

At least I am privileged

To have a voice

I’m not angry at you

Because my exoticism attracts you

It’s normal in ignorance

It’s normal in novelty

At least you’re looking

You’re listening

And someday the exoticism

Will fall away

And you will see the human

In me

But I’ll tell you what makes me angry

When one of my people

Commits a crime

And you generalize it to us all

When the weakest of my people

Seek refuge in your land

And you vote to refuse them

When those very people

Are people whose land and what’s in it

You stole

Without permission

For years

When you could have helped

With their plight

But instead you repeatedly voted

To make their plight worse

And then you refuse to help them

For years

I’ll tell you what makes me angry

I’m angry when I tell you my story

In your OWN DAMN LANGUAGE

And you change it

Because you think you know it better

You don’t

Because you think you can express it better

You can’t

That’s YOU colonizing ME

I’ll tell you what makes me angry

When I so carefully choose my allies

And you, from your haughty distance

Presume to know

To judge

My story

And tell me I can’t see colonialism at work

You

Who have never been colonized

Telling ME

That I don’t know what colonialism looks like?

Are YOU KIDDING ME?

What makes me angry

Is YOU

Calling yourself my friend

For years

Then supporting someone else

Colonizing, bullying me

Supporting their right to free speech

Bullying those who support me, even

If I were black they would be called racist

If I were Jewish they would be called anti-Semitic

If I were gay they would be called homophobic

But you call them none of those things

Because there isn’t the right buzz word for it

Because it really isn’t Islamophobia

Because it has nothing to do with Islam

But it’s a white man

Abusing a postcolonial woman

And there’s no word for what that’s called

Because it is beyond sexism.

It’s not that a white person

Can never critique a non-white person

We are all people

We all make mistakes

But it’s that a white person

Cannot possibly understand

Experiences of racism or postcolonialism

Cannot possibly understand it

Better than the people experiencing it

DON’T SHAKE YOUR HEAD

It’s NOT possible

No one should feel guilty

Because they were born white

Just as no one should feel guilty

Because they were born brown

But every day

You have a responsibility

To speak out against injustice

To question your own actions

To consider your own words

And if you don’t know

How to make it right?

I suggest you shut up

Or you’ll just make me more angry

flickr photo by mislav-m https://flickr.com/photos/mislav-marohnic/7455400824 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license