Disappear This White Woman’s Ink, Burn This Poem

I feel great trepidation posting this poem. 
It is not my intention to shame or accuse anyone
just because they are white.  
This post is about how ashamed I feel.
Most of the time, I am perceived as white, 
and my birth certificate indicates "Caucasian." 
The truth is much more complicated, 
but that’s a discussion for another time. 
The irony is that this is a poem where 
I state that my white privilege means 
it’s time for me to shut up, listen, 
and let black people speak and lead. 
Yet, here I am posting my white woman poem. 
I am trying to be the best ally I can. 
I’ve found some resources to help me with this. 
Here are a few: 
 https://www.greatbigstory.com/guides/how-to-become-a-better-black-lives-matter-ally 
and
 http://www.scn.org/friends/ally.html 
and
 https://reflections.yale.edu/article/future-race/becoming-trustworthy-white-allies 
 Lana Hechtman

 Disappear This White Woman’s Ink,
 Burn This Poem
  
 A white woman’s pen
 means nothing.
  
 Even when she means 
 to write as ally,
 she betrays otherwise,
 saying stupid shit
 about a best friend
 or a maid who helped raise her.
  
 Too bad her ink isn’t white,
 invisible as her skin 
 is to the police.
  
 Let her ink leak,
 sink a pool of black
 onto the page 
 so that it no longer
 reflects her privileged face.
  
 When she stares 
 into the depths of inequality,
 and says she cares, still,
 all she sees is color.
  
 Let the white woman’s thoughts
 be unknown, 
 let her action show
 her true feelings.
  
 If she’s really an ally,
 racism, injustice, 
 civil unrest will force her
 to do her best,
 attend the protests 
 holding signs inked with
 a black person’s words
 instead of her own.
  
 Let her body be 
 one in a crowd,
 where instead of proud,
 she’s ashamed
 of her skin,
 the violence and sin
 it has always represented 
 in America.
  
 Let her return from the rally 
 and burn her diaries,
 her poems, 
 all her writings.
  
 Let her instead
 be led by voices
 of the disempowered,
 with their history
 of malicious slaughter
 so red it’s black.
  
 Let this white woman’s pen
 no longer be a weapon,
 intentional or inadvertent.
  
 Let my pen become a window
 cleared of my well-meaning ink,
 so that I may look though
 and see the truth 
 as it’s always been—
  
 my voice is nothing 
 but more injustice,
 more drops
 in a pool of black blood 
 so dark, so wide,
 so oft renewed,
 it never dries. 

3 thoughts to “Disappear This White Woman’s Ink, Burn This Poem”

  1. Thank you, Lana. It is a time to support and Listen. Yet as a poet we need strong supportive voices.

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