a single race

I have always been baffled by the reality that long ago Africa was a rich nation, full of natural resources and the people had all that they needed. But suddenly and terrifically slavery was thrust upon them by men of fairer skin, who in their homelands had not half of what the Africans had. I am even more baffled by the fact that this brutal plunder has weighed down on black people for centuries.

And, I am most annoyed that racism and prejudice — the worst forms of slavery — still exist today, including in my own mind and actions. But as a person of many races, I have been on both sides of the skin-coloured coin. And as a result have a conviction to love. To love all people yes, but black people especially. Because there has been a deficiency of love for them, our brothers and sisters. So here it is. Here is my ode to the negro race.

***

I am a mixed race girl,
The daughter of integration,
The sunshine under the mango tree,
In the midst of frustration.

Though I admit with shame,
That my blackness I cannot trace,
My heart desires to sing out,
My love of the negro race.

For they knew not what they did,
When they looked upon you with a price,
And made it so low that,
Your worth was less than rice.

They knew not what they did,
When they passed that whip upon your flesh,
And ripped apart that rich blackness,
To make a red, cream and black mesh.

They knew not what they did,
Even as they nicknamed you from afar,
As though your head was a rock,
And your heart made of tar.

They must have thought you invincible,
When they hammered you to death,
Testing the strength of your stature,
As you humanly suffered your last breath.

They must have been threatened,
By the possible superiority of your thinking,
To put such effort into ensuring that,
No fight would keep you from sinking.

No reputation of yours go untarnished,
Or brother of yours walk the streets with joy,
No idea accepted of your being just another,
Man, woman, girl or boy.

Forgive me for not being aware,
That I carried the prejudices of my fairer gene,
Unable to accept you wholeheartedly,
And sometimes even feeling supreme.

But it is your patience that opened my eyes,
Your willingness to stay strong below the heels,
Of an ignorant and selfish people,
Whose skin and your skin the same, feels.

And your love for your people,
As you gather vibrantly together,
Time and time again,
Fighting this torrential weather.

The weather of human blindness,
The fatal winds that are built upon hatred,
The floods of greed and insecurity,
And the coming of truth, well belated.

The truth that you are a beautiful race,
One that invites me always into your presence,
One whose men have loved my bigness,
And whose women have inspired my resilience.

And as I listen to more stories recorded,
Of the terrible things present and past,
I promise myself to love you better,
Than historically has my lighter caste.

You are a precious people,
Come sit with me and eat,
Because here is where God’s race,
The united race, of beloved people, meet.

***

Now that you have read that (if you got that far), I encourage you to watch this short film I made. Watch it all the way to the end. And then when it is finished, ask yourself if you are guilty of not loving God’s people. Search within your mind and if you find ugly thoughts there towards people with darker skin, be honest with yourself, and then start changing. And please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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4 thoughts on “a single race

  1. Impressive statement and feature, Bianca. Its always refreshing to see young people break the negative mold that we adults cast so easily and so often. The main issue with slavery is the mind-set that is created to justify its existence. The sad part is its continued use even centuries after its abolition. There is no need for you to feel shame for believing a lie that is presented as gospel truth – the real shame is never waking up to reality.

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Yes it is so ingrained in our thinking, so much so that it is mistaken for truth. It is a true shame that prejudice exists at all, but knowing ourselves as selfish people it is not surprising that in order to get what we want we are willing to put others down. As I was writing this poem I realised that a lot of what black people have gone through is what Jesus went through, but their resilience as a race is a gorgeous and inspiring thing. Oh that the people of the world may just learn to love!

  2. Black, in its many shades, is not just a colour. It is a state of mind and, in its most elevated and aspirational mode, it recognizes that forgiveness, love and humility are strengths, not weaknesses. It is a state of mind that does not view the world as black and white, us and them, mine and yours. It views the world as a big technicolor ball of collective and collaborative creation and procreation. European imperial ambition and colonialism created hell on earth but the wonderful long term result has been the dispersion of people of color all over the world. So now, at last, there is a chance to create God’s Race, the United Race, a mixed race of beloved people.

    footnote: In the UK 12% of households are already mixed race. The race is on.

    1. What an interesting point! All things work together for good, it is God’s promise. Forgiveness, love and humility are definitely strengths, and reflect in the warmth of many black-majority cultures.

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