A History of Complicity (spoken word poem)

Race Matters: Candid Conversations on Race & Culture, Uncategorized0 comments

A spoken word poem to help audiences understand systemic racism. This comes amidst the labeling of the Coronavirus as the “Chinese virus” which has led to increased violence and xenophobia targetting Chinese and Asians in the U.S and worldwide.

A History of Complicity:

You think I’m diseased, uncouth, the enemy,

but have you looked in the mirror,

or deeper into your psyche?

Below the surface, unconscious bias, hatred, prejudices,


All because of outlandish stereotypes, caricatures, and lies.

My reality denied, to ease your guilt, your shame,

your history of complicity,

in fostering racial hostility.

Native Americans, turned into Indians,

seen as mascots for your entertainment.

Blacks enslaved and once considered just 3/5 human,

Families raped, separated,

generations later, communities segregated,

wiped clean from your conscience,

out of sight, out of your mind.

“Great Scott” you declare,

It’s their problem, “separate but equal”,

No! that’s not fair, and it’s Dred Scott to be clear,

whom you denied freedom to,

to one and to all.

Fast forward to now,

like Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn,

whitewashing history,

to avoid your original sin.

White flight, urban decay, joblessness,

it’s a facade to think your race has nothing to do with this.

White privilege, an invisible shield,

to deflect any notion white skin plays a role,

amidst all this commotion.

White fragility also a weapon,

you use tears, dejection, shame,

as well as misdirection to obscure and to blame.

You fail to take ownership,

of how this perpetuates a game of inequality,

the game of Life,

disguised as a field of dreams.

But go ahead, “spin the wheel”,

take 2 steps forward if you’re white,

everyone else, go to the back!

Oh, the “horror” of it all,

to bring light to darkness,

to focus not on Black,

but on White,

so you can hopefully see you are not innocent,

you are not Scott-free!

History repeating itself,

not with explicit slavery,

but with subtlety, suspicion,

and once again White fragility.

Sandwiched between slavery and civil rights,

Asians come to America,

seen as a race that won’t fight.

Instead, we’re the easy scapegoat,

the laughing stock, the punching bag for today’s ills,

the perpetual foreigner,

the stranger,

the ones viewed with the virus,

the carriers, infecting and killing,

But not once have you considered,

What’s your part in this?!

Like a virus, you spread the fear, the vitriol, the hate,

it’s you who control the messages, the media, the movies, that disseminate: racial divide,

statistics that lie, names, narratives, and stories that hide,

the social, educational, political institutions that keep our country confused, conflicted, in a system of invisible racism,

that should be considered illegal and illicit,

but only if you own up to it,

see how you’re still to this day,

ultimately complicit.

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