white, man.

I often wonder
what it would mean
to be other than
a white
man…

to be able to
take pride in
what I am—
my body, my skin—
without it feeling
like a celebration
of the exploitation
of every other kind of human…
but I can’t
for I am, alas
a white
man…

I do not wish to be
a slave
to the identity
of “master”
nor shall I “submit”
to the identity
of “husband”
(to subdue my wife)
but neither can I
endeavor to be
other than I am:
a white
man…

I can let the sun kiss
my skin;
I’ll get tanned,
burned and
still never pass,
except maybe laughably as
a “red man”…
and though I can
be a parent,
I’ll never give birth
(for better or worse)
for I am only
who I am,
a white
man…

That doesn’t mean
I chose to be
or that I would have
if it were up to me
so don’t blame me
and don’t hate me
for what I am:
a white
man…
(yet if you do, of course,
I’d understand)

But I’ve hated
my white skin
ever since
I became conscious
of what it represents;
I resent
being painted the color
of picket fences,
presidential residences,
and oppressiveness…
but my ethnicity
cannot be cleansed,
“white as snow”
for whiteness is
darker than that;
in fact, the palest of face
have often made
the darkest race
for darkness lies inside,
not on the hide…
and as for mine,
and I’ll never know
what it’s like to be
other than I am:
a white
man…

But I have, in fact,
been proud to be
a man—
because sexism,
unlike racism,
always seemed to me
that is, until recently,
to be naturally,
and acceptably,
just the way of things…
but in my defense,
that was before I knew
that the “battle of the sexes”
was always fixed
like a white jury
in Mississippi…
long before it occurred to me
that to life
it is always better
to give and sustain,
nurse and nurture,
than to dominate, take, and restrain
just to maintain
an evil but ancient status quo…
and to that effect,
I must confess,
we’ve not been the better sex,
yet nevertheless,
I am what I am:
a white
man…

no less,
but hopefully more
I do not contest
who I was before,
but thats the old me
get to know me truly,
not the old, the new me
and then tell me if who
or what you say I am
is just two words,
one adjective, one noun
and no name
but
white
man…

But whether or not
you give me the same,
I promise you,
I’ll give you a name,
not a noun,
you are not
just a word, or two
or a number,
stat,
type
or face
or race
or color;
you are an Other…
and so am I, brother!
so lets not be Cain
or Abel
neither self–, nor un–
–righteous;
just brothers
with names,
not labels
neither dispensing with
our histories,
nor letting them persist
to draw our lines
or make our minds

white, man.

Mark de Jong

Anderson, United States

  • Artist
    Notes
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Artist's Description

open and honest exploration of identity of Self and Other, and an examination of the deeply rooted causes of the estrangement between being and beings…

Artwork Comments

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