for further thinking on poetry and privilege

For the white person who wants to know how to be my friend
by Pat Parker

The first thing you must do is to forget that i’m Black.
Second, you must never forget that i’m Black.

You should be able to dig Aretha,
but don’t play her every time i come over.
And if you decide to play Beethoven–don’t tell me
his life story. They make us take music appreciation too.

Eat soul food if you like it, but don’t expect me
to locate your restaurants
of cook it for you.

And if some Black person insults you,
mugs you, rapes your sister, rapes you,
rips your house up or is just being an ass–
please do not apologize to me
for wanting to do them bodily harm.
It makes me wonder if you’re foolish.

And even if you really believe Blacks are better lovers than
whites–don’t tell me. I start thinking of charging stud fees.

In other words–if you really want to be my friend–don’t
make a labor of it. I’m lazy. Remember.

-from Making Face, Make Soul
edited by Gloria Anzaldua
San Francisco: Aunt Lute Foundation Books, 1990.

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2 thoughts on “for further thinking on poetry and privilege

  1. No,Pat died in the late 1980’s. Like a lot of dykes of her generation, I think the battle they fought to be out and create political and cultural space took a heavy toll. I’ve always loved this poem, though, sheer truth and attitude.

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