Poetry can fight discrimination

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Dear White Fella by Benjamin Zephaniah
When I was born I was black
When I die I’ll be black
When I’m mad I’m black
When I cry I’m black

When you were born you were pink
When you grew up you were white
When you in the sun you tan
But through this process I’m still black

When you cold you red
When you sick you purple
When you die you’ll be gray
But you have the nerve to call me colored

Dear White Fella
Thou shall not judge
even with my skin color
you shouldn’t hold a grudge

I’m human just like you
whether I’m black, purple, or blue
Our skin may not be the same
But we play by the same game

Dear White Fella

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Click on these links https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhaXDfIGGzA  and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxK0n5gHIjw

What is Benjamin Zephaniah’s attitude to racism?

A message against racism can come from any of us.  We do not need to be renowned poets to express our feelings against racism.  We have all suffered from a form of discrimination.  We have all been somehow cut out or made feel different.  Listen to this girl, who gives makeup tutorials on youtube, but in this video decided to share her painful childhood memory.

stamp out racism

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Social advertising is used by different governments to raise awareness of the issue of discrimination and racism.


Unfortunately we are so bombarded with stereotypes that we do not always realize that they influence us unconsciously.  When we do not spot them, then, it implies we cannot see them and so we are “breathing them”.  Look at the way advertising is packed with and thus reinforces negative stereotypes:

Poets use poetry to fight a cause dear to them.  Lots of them fight against racism, others against different forms of discrimination (homophobia, violence to women for example) or injustice (the SYSTEM not protecting those who really need protection, not safeguarding people’s rights).  Other poets powerfully disclose the hypocrisy so deeply rooted in lots of us, the indifference of the haves towards the have nots.  Other people lament these incongruities and human absurditeis and contradictions by marching, writing banners, writing blogs, singing songs, shooting films or documentaries.  Find your own way to speak against any form of discrimination that bothers you.  You can write your poem, draw your social ad, doodle something powerful and effective.  Give voice to your bewildered soul: I feel bewildered and speechless when I am crushed by the offences and pain humans cast upon other humans.

Be careful though, you can speak out your anger and your mortification, you can use lashing words towards those who tread on your humanity with fierce indifference, yet you should avoid generalizations.  By generalizing you may in turn abuse someone else, and we do not want to do this at all.

What do you think of this poem?

And this one?

Inglan is a Bitch by Linto Kwesi Johnson

Violence is another issue that we are confronted with in our century.  Difficult to understand, yet so very true even in our country where the number of women killed or battered by those who claim they love them is increasing year by year.

What is your poem denouncing violence against women?

This is one I love, because it is linked to Canada, it is linked to Aboriginal People I love so much and feel so close to.

-NO MORE- By Ashley P.
A life that has for so long been controlled by manipulation and fear, So many times left broken and in tears.
Broken bones and bruises followed by promises allowed to heal, Names and accusations, confusion at the appeal.
Was it really appeal, or just a distorted view?
A victim of the lies, a victim of “I don’t know what to do”.
Attempts to do what’s right, attempts to inspire change,
Feelings of defeat when things remained the same.
A will to be happy, a will to stand fear in the face,
Determination to finally escape this dreadful place.
Emergence out of darkness, finally able to see the light,
Finally the courage to stand up and fight the fight.
No more being afraid, no more running away,
No more looking back and living like yesterday.
No! no more being afraid, not one more excuse,
No longer a victim, but a survivor of abuse.

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Thank you for your poems girls.

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