Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Things Aren’t All that Different

In a corner of my mind, in a dark bit of space that knows no peace, old tongues chant the same old words: “Things were different back then. The past was harsh and brutal, separate and unequal. But all is better now. Everyone gets a chance. Anyone who works for it gets to be whatever they want. Aren’t you glad? Aren’t you grateful?” My heart wants to say yes—if you love the dream, my heart sings, believe it and it will be yours—but heartsong can’t quiet lived memories. I know.

the only Black boy
in line, can not move ahead
before getting frisked


photo by Marcus Bellamy, on Unsplash
I don’t know the individual in the photo (I’m pretty sure it’s a self-portrait of the photographer), but the frustration in his expression spoke to me. 

for Poets and Storytellers United (Weekly Scribblings #27: Things Were Different Back Then and Writers’ Pantry #28: The rain is like my heart)

49 comments:

  1. Couldn't have said it better myself. It appalls me how there is still so much prejudice out there. If only, they would see people as people regardless of colour, race, caste and creed. Thank you for the glorious prompt, gorgeous!💝💝

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    1. Let's hope that our voiced outrage gets reaches the brains and hearts that needed most.

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  2. A telling moment! And I imagine far from the only one.

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  3. I've wondered if the endemic racism in policing isn't directly related to for-profit prisons need for a functionally slave labor pool. But I suppose I do wear tinfoil hats. ~

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    1. You aren't the only one doing the wondering, señor.

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    2. And you definitely aren't the only one who has been suggested accessorizes with tinfoil hats. ;-)

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  4. Haibunilicious response to a tasty prompt. Thanks, Magaly!

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  5. Love the leap you took from the expression of frustration in the unknown face to the ‘dark bit of space that knows no peace’, Magaly. The memories of the past, the things we read and hear about it, are all stored there, waiting to be released, if only for a short while, to give us perspective - only the lens hasn’t changed focus at all. If only your haiku weren’t true.

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    1. I must confess that I found the photo after I wrote the poem. So, I have no idea what inspired the actual look on the face of the subject of the photo. He just looks frustrated to me lol!

      And I agree about the haiku, if only it weren't true.

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  6. Oooh, I can frustrate you even more! German Home Secretary, Mr. Seehofer, advised against doing research on racism within police structures. That would not be necessary, as police racism was illegal and hence non-existent.

    o.o

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  7. Oh, if only those dreams were true .. but we have so far to gp. Your words are poignant.

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  8. I know I've come across many genuinely kind and well meaning people who felt racism and bigotry were relics of the past. It's been frustrating and sometimes downright enraging trying to point out, "Hey, maybe there's a blind spot that keeps you from having to consider it, but it's definitely still there." I'm trying to do my best for the ones for whom it's only innocent ignorance that kept them from seeing. But I have no patience with the ones that want to cling to the lie because it's less disquieting that way.

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    1. These days, my "patience with the ones that want to cling to the lie" has been lessening at alarming rates.

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  9. I hope the current calls for justice and change actually result in some.

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  10. Haibun is a really effective form for this. We do have a ways to go...

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  11. I think the situation is horrible, raciest discrimination show of inbred hatred and fear.
    To an extent I identify here, my great-grandfather held off a lynch mob, he was of German descent and it was WWII time. Afterward he changed our family name. Also we youbg men in Lincoln, Nebraska, were harassed continually, being stopped for no reason by the police and having our cars searched. One policeman was rough with me for having loud mufflers. Finally one ancester was banished from the family for marrying a Jewish lady
    Then much later Mom was iffered reparation money for the WWII holocaust.
    Still this doesnt compare to the hatred shows being displayed regularly these days.
    Thank you for the prompt, you made it fit for these alarming days.
    ..

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    1. Strange, how the distressing ways certain humans treat other humans is both astonishing and unsurprising, isn't it?

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  12. We have come a long way in the last 80 years and much more, but we are just a mean and cruel as ever, thinking of how we can benefit from any situation at the expense of others, Such is humanity!

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    1. "mean and cruel as ever... is humanity!"

      I wish that didn't read so much like a title that would fit the current state of the world.

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  13. This never ends. I remember getting call from the police last year that they had stopped my son on a 'stop and search' at a train station and were just calling to verify his identity. I think I died on that phone call. It was ok in the end...but I was so angry...

    You've painted the true picture of things, Magaly.

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    1. Being the parent of a young Black man requires an extra strong heart these days. It's either that, or our heart would be strangled by constant worry.

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  14. we think we've won whatever battle we're fighting, but along comes someone else with fresh anger and pulls it all apart again.

    In one way it was better, fresher (at least to us) but harder and meaner for others. I guess you just keep trying, and hoping.

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    1. "trying, and hoping" and baring one's teeth is the name of the survival game.

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  15. We all have lived memories. The hardest part is getting past the bad ones. I have this problem as well, more than you might think. And the problem thingy does not change. When one is calmed, another arises. Its eternal. I have stories. One day perhaps I will tell them.

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    1. Yes, we all have individual stories... communal ones, too.

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  16. For many people things are not better, but rather seem to be escalating.

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  17. That's powerful writing and sadly the truth almost everywhere - prejudice and outright discrimination is like a poison in our societies. Hats off to those standing up against it.

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    1. A poison that keeps on gaining on deadliness because so many want to pretend that it doesn't exist.

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  18. Very powerful and well written Haibun. I hope mankind will awake and improve but they have been nasty throughout history. There is still a fight at hand

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  19. "The past" is an excuse. Neither is it far from the surface, especially with idiots excavating it, extracting its DNA, and encouraging it to come to life in all its bloody saurian glory.

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  20. this was powerful! and the photo enhanced it even more. great write!

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  21. Still the vigilance, still the reporting, if the dream fullfilled is to be realized
    Happy Sunday

    Much💖love

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  22. I was a kid when I first realized that there was an "us" and a "them" and that the "them" were treated differently. I remember how shocked I was and how outraged--and then I grew older and thought we have come so far--and then I picked a different "them" to belong to--and wore that difference like a flag--I still do--your piece is heartbreaking and so truthful--we have so far to go--

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    1. And that choice makes all the difference...

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  23. This is a reality I will never know, except through the eyes of those who have lived it. Bless you for writing it, for sharing it, and for holding out the hope (in a backhanded sort of way) that you and others may no longer have to live it.

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    1. I can't say that I fully understand your "backhanded sort of way" perspective. Do elaborate...

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  24. Way too many of these moments...May things change...May all of us be loud enough and determined in our insistence it does.

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I love your insightful remarks. So, go ahead, let them fly…