It’s National Georgia Day, and since I have some roots in Georgia, I thought I better celebrate. Maybe I’ll cook some buttermilk biscuits, grits, chicken and dumplings, or corn bread and pinto beans. My maternal grandparents were from the south, and I grew up in California with the benefits of eating southern cooking.
Diversity is the word for the day. I couldn’t help but think today of the diversity of this great nation–in all the amazing nature, foods and cultures, and in all the kaleidoscope of people. My grandfather grew up in Georgia, in a family that enslaved people. He moved west as a young man working on the railroad, settled in New Mexico and later moved to California, where he did not get away from the scourge of our white supremacist bedrock.
Though we were founded on the notion that liberty was reserved for white men, we continue to go through growing pains as we become more diverse every day. Those growing pains and the fear that our nation won’t keep fighting were what inspired my poem today. It is a Rondine with words and phrases mostly found in this article in The Bay State Banner, “America’s Growing Diversity a Threat to White Supremacy.”
Democracy in the reality
of white numbers fading each year
looks less like white-privileged liberty,
codified for whites; crumbs for those near.
When the law was held by majority,
black and brown people were not feared
White power descent, expediency
bears authoritarian spear.
We must fight with politics and clear
this stronghold of white supremacy.
During each day in the months of August and September, I am responding to a different word from Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. Today’s word is Diversity. A small group of people wanting to make the world a better place are reading and responding together. Join us! Visit Common Threads: Patchwork Prose and Verse by Kim Haynes Johnson for more information. Here is the word list I’ll be following for August and September.