#NationalPoetryMonth 27/30

white people do not consider the war of space

too used to having so much

not having to fight for so little

Raina J. León, PhD

Today’s read: Profeta Without Refuge by Raina León – Nomadic Press – 2016

A few years back, I began a practice of demanding. If a person was asking for something then I demanded that they acknowledge me first. It doesn’t have to be much, just a smile Hello, or How are you? will do. But if there is no acknowledgement then I began to call people out. In the time I have been doing this practice there continues to be one repeat offender: Anglos.

Anglos have a way of just demanding things from me without any kind of simple acknowledgement. So one day, I just paused and then after a long pause I looked at the Anglo in the face and told them that I don’t do anything for anyone without an acknowledgment.

This is when it gets interesting.

A few times, I have had the person recognize their error and thank me for pointing this out to them. I usually smile but do not respond to them any further.

The normal scenario is that the person is just stunned. I am not sure what they are more confused about: their lack of manners or my resolve. Either way, they usually walk away at this point which is fine by me.

The worst was the white woman at a local spice shop who was utterly fascinated by the sweatshirt I was wearing. It said “Unconditional Education” on the back and she thought it was the most amazing thing. Amazing enough to tell me to stop and model the sweatshirt for her friend. I went into my resolute stance and let her know I don’t respond to orders. She accepted this and agreed but then went on to tell me how her friend is an educator and would love to see this message. I leaned into the word No and kept up with my business. The white woman then did what white people do: use the power of whiteness.Turn it on and off as fits the situation, and when things get real tough, turn it on so bright that then you just blend into the background.

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