Mental Apartheid

Photo credit: James Nash, "Mindcontrol Panorama," Spotted in Leake Street, London (underneath Waterloo Station), Flickr

Mental Apartheid
– JA Corbett

I’m a white girl
raised in a white family
married to a white family,
with Aryan sons—
a regular old Home Depot brand,
peachy colored girl
living her dream—
jealously white.

I learned book Spanish twice:
four years high school,
four semesters college,
summa cum laude,
And all I got is “¿Cómo estás?”
And, “¿Cómo te llama?”
And, “Escúcheme.”
My experience color-slim as
a pretty pocketbook
hecho in Mexico.
God, I love my Mexican things!

And now I’m learning book Hispanic history,
correction: Latino; Hispanic the word for census takers.
How did the census takers label
Mary and Joseph’s family?
I think in Christian analogy,
a default of my white culture:
WWJD a wristband of
compassion constrained
by a racism I was born to and
celebrated righteously.
These takers cross our boarders
take our taxes.
Send the children back.
Send them more surplus guns.
We have no room at the Inn.

This scholarly stuff
a Heimlich maneuver
making me cough up
the politics of racism.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
Lodged in my chest—
my snot, his blood,
water washed away
iconography hung in my
white churches on my white walls,
my God in flesh, peachy as mine.

Jesus was the color of a Mexican.

Crucify him to satiate
the rage of the underclass,
turn them upon themselves.
Pharisees made them look as if
they had a democracy;
whole divided by half, and again,
they turn on each other.
Apply Maslows.
Apply turn of phrase: crucify him.
Apply symbolic act for all to see.
Apply political expediency.
“What is truth?” Pilate asked.

For a book-smart white girl
living in a white town awash
with opinions afire
’bout racism in America,
Jesus was brown.
God’s flesh was brown.

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