by Angus Gallagher
I am a racist,
But my best friend is Black!
I know it seems contradictory
But sadly, it’s fact.
I took the Harvard IAT,
Facial profiles black and white,
To match with words both bad and good
And I didn’t always get it right;
When pairing things like love and pure
With faces, skin tones blacker,
And coupling gun, violence, thug
With melanin deficient crackers.
Even when I got it right,
There was an invisible micro-delay,
Not present, when asked to match,
Words and faces the other way.
Each pause a sad, subconscious,
Against faces of those I’d never meet
Labels primed for their oppression.
The devil though’s in the data,
Against black I was slightly biased,
But when people of colour take the test
Their skew is often highest.
Now, you may assume their bias
Falls against those that are white,
Though I won’t deny, that exists, (sometimes strongly)
You would not be completely right.
Many POCs came out neutral,
No unconscious bias within,
But a strangely large proportion
Slant against those with a similar skin.
It starts early too, kids given dolls
Of different colours, regardless of THEIR race,
When asked which is their friend, pretty, or nice,
Point to the white doll’s face.
Human survival required flash judgements
But they’re not a great foundation
To judge one another by stereotypes
Based on different pigmentation.
When one black boxing legend
Whom I shall leave unnamed,
Chose to attack the Brown Bomber
It was his blackness he defamed!
Joe Lewis, a gentleman pugilist,
Described as an Uncle Tom,
A Black man who up against fascists,
Delivered so many brown bombs.
At school, during history, another black boy
Called my best friend a bounty bar nigger,
In a similar fashion, he could have responded
But his retort shows which man was bigger.
“There is white inside me, of which I am proud,
My Nona, of my genes, she makes up a quart,
I love her dearly, she’s a huge part of my life,
I’d be nothing without her support.”
I know he had to hold back, withdraw from the rage,
Pull the rag from the molotov
Stop himself asking why all HIS friends were white
Did he hope that HIS black would rub off?
See here is the problem,
We use race as a weapon
To keep one another down,
Regardless of culture or country of origin,
All that matters is, are you white or brown?
I come from a race so incredibly fair
That we need not attend any rallies
Though generation ago, at the entrance to pubs
No Blacks, No Dogs, No Paddies!
The Irish were in recent memory inducted
To the White Race Hall of Fame
After years of oppression, accepted, unquestioned,
To our ever eternal shame
So I’ve accept my role as a racist,
Conscious of the bias I hold;
Hoping that whenever they raise their head
I’ll catch them, they’ll be controlled.
Try to stop them from leaching down
Unto the next generation.
We can only hope that they will be able
To bring about racism’s cessation.
When that happens, one of our biggest problems,
May finally be considered fixed,
And regardless of skin, we’ll look within,
Like my friend and my kids, we’re all mixed!