Giving voice to the voiceless, in an expression of empathy and rage, a cauldron of fire and hailstorm of ice, hitting deeply into the core of humanity
by Dominique Christina
We become poets in an attempt to tether words to righteousness,
Our notebooks to social consciousness.
Sitting cross-legged and anxious in wing bat chairs, we sip lattes to news of regimes,
firing American-made artillery into crowds of folk.
Dead bodies pickled by the sun,
they line streets in countries we never think about and we
suck our teeth and ask a thesaurus to become a machete
and as romantic as pacifism is, these days I dream of dictators falling headfirst into karma and forget to be afraid.
If I could write this shit in fire, I would write this shit in fire.
This ain’t poetry, this is rage unabated, a verb, a means and end.
This is my body.
This is Sankofa, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, South-side Chicago, Compton, California. Redhook Projects in Jersey, Roosevelt Projects in Brooklyn.
This is severed hands and clubs against flesh,
black boots to pregnant bellies.
Sterilizations masked as inoculations, leg irons and chains, the bit and the noose,
this is a war-cry.
Tell ‘Massa I coming back,
carrying fire in my knapsack.
Tell him “Patrice Lumumba, Steven Biko, Fannie Lou Hamer.”
Tell him “they have been born again in me.”
Tell him, “I found my mother tongue buried under the rubble of the World Trade Center.”
Tell him, “this shit ain’t no poem, this is me, running naked from sugar cane and cotton field having dropped my crocker sac.”
Tell him, “He can call me Karma, I am refreshing the bones of a witch, a root worker, a sorcerer, a priestess, a gangster.”
Tell him, ”this is the result of segregation.“
Tell him, “this is the result of integration.”
Tell him, “I have never been invisible.”
Tell him, “He has never been invincible.”
Tell him, “I am melting the barbed wires and steel bars of prison yards, they ‘gon flow over him like lava.”
I am returned, I am blood thirsty, I am fangs, and hooks and swollen feet in welfare lines, the gauntlet thrown down.
Lines drawn in the sand.
I am apocryphal-
Historical deletions gathering themselves up into textbooks.
I am the niece of exploitation on a rice and pancake box come to collect the royalties for Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben.
I am the line of smoke, a rain dance, the Tomahawk used to kill the first invader.
I am a passbook in South Africa, a Whites-only sign on a courthouse door in Mississippi,
The streets of Benghazi pocked in prayer beads and shell casings, the juxtaposition of faith and savagery.
Tell him, “I am African wide hips and American bulimia, peace symbols affixed onto assault rifles.”
It is the deepest kind of contradiction.
If I could write this shit in fire, I would write this shit in fire.
Tell ‘Massa “I’m coming back.
Howl in the wind I’m coming back,
Burr in your heels I coming back
‘Massa, I coming back. ‘Massa, I coming back.
‘Massa, I coming back.”
I remember having watched a similar doll test video a few years ago, and now that I am becoming more aware of the issues of white privilege and its effects on people, I am thinking through the implications of these studies more deeply. I did an online research to look into the background of these studies, and learnt that the original psychological research started in the 1940s to look into the effects of racial segregation in schools in America back then.
“These findings exposed internalized racism in African-American children, self-hatred that was more acute among children attending segregated schools. This research also paved the way for an increase in psychological research into areas of self-esteem and self-concept”
Similarly, this article noted:
“The Clark Doll Test illustrates the ill effects of stereotyping and racial segregation in America. It illustrated the damage caused by systematic segregation and racism on children’s self-perception at the young age of five.”
This is the reason why Malcolm X’s words below resonate so much with me.
“Who taught you to hate the color of your skin? Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair? Who taught you to hate the shape of your nose and the shape of your lips? Who taught you to hate yourself from the top of your head to the soles of your feet? Who taught you to hate your own kind? Who taught you to hate the race that you belong to so much so that you don’t want to be around each other? No… Before you come asking Mr. Muhammad does he teach hate, you should ask yourself who taught you to hate being what God made you.” (May 22, 1962, Los Angeles)
I came across this book that puts into perspective the influence that the white-dominated media’s concept of beauty, which is subjective and culture-specific, has on people who are exposed to such media.
“Beauty standards are perceived according to cultural norms. For example, the cultural norms and beauty standards of the Masai in Africa are different from that of the Eskimos in Alaska. Black Americans, perhaps more than anyone else, carry a heavier psychological burden. The mental damage from centuries of bombardment with Euro-American standards of beauty has had tremendous impact on how we view ourselves within what is essentially an alien country.”
Yes, if truth be told, there is something powerful, genuine and moving about the raw, unadulterated, innocent beauty of indigenous people such as the Masai people in Africa, like what is said in this blog. It is something that the white-washed media that is obsessed with artificial make-up and fair skins cannot stand nor comprehend. It is paramount that we reclaim our innate, original beauty and our sense of inherent self-worth.
Below are my answers to an online survey in www.yougov.com
Q: Why do you feel neutral/negative about the SEA Games 2015?
It seems to be part of the competitive system that tends to divide people rather than create true unity among humanity. Rivalry and competition fuel the capitalistic money-making business, and competitive sports tends to distract people from social and humanitarian issues. Sports has its place and can be beneficial in some ways, but the commercialisation and glorification that come with it can be detrimental to the process of loving and accepting ourselves and others for who we really are.
Q: Why are you neutral/unsupportive towards Team Singapore athletes’ efforts in SEA Games 2015?
Ultimately, we can be our own best versions of ourselves, and no one is intrinsically better or worse than others. We are more than our national identities – we are all one human race. I don’t consider myself a Singaporean at my deepest core, so I don’t support Singapore or any other nation, as nationality is an artificial, man-made, illusory human construct that doesn’t exist in reality.
Yes, laughter and tears are the very emblem of the essence of our humanity, which holds the power to be an antidote to hatred and terror indeed. It reminds me of an impassioned speech by Charlie Chaplin, which I came across some time ago, in which he also spoke about how the world, in the face of wars and violence, needs to recover humanity and universal brotherhood.
On looking back, it looks like the public school education system that I grew up in has far more repercussions than I probably realised. The need (or the pressure) to keep up an appearance of performing, whether in studies or socialising or participating in discussions or conversations, seem relentlessly pervasive in every aspect of our lives. Why was I shunned or ignored in schools, or later in life, in social outings such as care group meetings? It seems that to be popular and extroverted is the goal of many of my peers. If friendship were to be built on such superficiality, I would rather be not part of it. On hindsight, maybe it was a blessing in disguise that I didn’t – and couldn’t – fit into the crowd, as much as it felt painful then.
“Segmet.net” provides critical and rare information on Breathing and what to do to gain the greatest benefit for your own Self. Part 2 contains an actual Breathe-along portion. Enjoy!
I have checked out both videos and watched them twice as her message on how to breathe deeply and consciously is so refreshing and important as a perennial reminder for me. I learnt that breathing deep down into our diaphragms can activate who we really are in our body and help clear the emotional trauma/tension that is stored above/around the diaphragm area. I find her demonstration of the deep breathing useful and I noted that the method of inhaling through the nostrils and exhaling through the mouth slowly at our own pace and space is similar to that taught by a trekking expedition guide when my hiking companions and I were warming up to climb the mountain to go to Cemerong Waterfalls. Talking about water, I find her reminder of staying hydrated in order to eliminate toxins from our body helpful too. I enjoyed listening to the warm and informative talk by the speaker.