Bland and White from Suburbia, by Chelsea Manoff
Winning Poem from Poetry for the Mind's Joy, The Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress
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This poem was submitted for the "Poetry for the Mind's Joy" project and is reproduced here with permission from the author. All rights reserved. Poetry for the Mind's Joy is Poet Laureate Kay Ryan's project that includes a community college poetry contest administered by the Community College Humanities Association and a lively videoconference.
Minorities have it easy,
culture to come back to,
history of courage fought against repression.
Lashing out with expression
—rhythm, art songs, beat, words
Proof to their oppressors
We are here, we are strong, and here to stay.
poverty— check, problems— yes,
So what right do I have,
Privileged, white and from the 'burbs?
Where do I come off with, minorities have it easy?
They don’t, I’m not ignorant of injustice that still occurs
but (they) have a voice.
a Voice of unity and justification for rebellion.
Without esteem worthy of Voice, I am a gringa who’s never known hunger—
Well I’ve Known starvation.
no rhythm-art-songs-beat-or words for me
My ancestors were Spanish conquistadors, drunken jigging Irish, thrifty Jewish pollacks, Protestant French-Swiss devouts, hippies homesteading in North Californian hills,
daughter to both Quaker and nondenominational Farmer.
Pero esta igual en otros ojos,
when Others look at me they don’t see the oppressed—
only a bland shade of white.
Rebel against the fact that my voice is drowned by my own majority?
not necessary, I’m just a privileged white girl from suburbia.
Bucks County Community College, Newtown, PA
Faculty Contact: Dr. Allen Hoey, Director, Bucks County Poet Laureate Program Curriculum Coordinator & Core Liaison Dept. of Language and Literature