what response you will get when you write a poem and send it out into to world! Below this post is a poem called ‘In Passing.’ What inspired it was a combination of frustration with our society and the seemingly slow and tedious movement forward, toward peace and equality for all. It actually all started to be written in my mind when I read a racist comment by someone on a very popular news website. The article being commented on dealt with the death of Osama Bin Laden and the white house. I read that comment a few times and thought about writing something ambiguous that could apply to all people who feel they are on a treadmill of bigotry of some sort, be it race, gender or sexual orientation related. The result was ‘In Passing.’
Before work this morning I checked my blog and what I found shocked me a bit but then it intrigued me. The perception of a reader or two was that it was Val doing some man bashing, but nothing could be further from the truth. I thought about it all day actually and I wondered if it would have been read differently if no one had ever known my gender. If I didn’t have a list of feminist sites on my blog or identify myself as a feminist would it have been read and digested in another way? How would the reader have been affected by it? If I had been black or a gay man what would you have thought of it then? I’ll leave it with you lovely scribes to discern and consider. As for me, I’m going to keep a promise to a wonderful photographer, Adrian L, and balance ‘In Passing’ with a poem about my uncle whose birthday is now. If anything, my opinions of men are not colored by the men who have mistreated me but rather by my uncle who was my hero as a child and an adult. Such was his strength, courage and generosity of spirit. If anything, there are very few men or women for that matter, at least in my mind, who could live up to the ideal of my uncle, the man, the human being and soul.
I’m going to say one thing about the feminism label before I end this diatribe, and why I like it. I’m female. I like being female. I like what it represents. How you define it is your completely up to you. How I define it is equality for everyone regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation. These are things we don’t choose, they just come with birth and existence. Stereotyping anyone is idiocy, but to close our collective peepers and deny that those of color are oppressed is blind, to deny that women are oppressed is blind, to deny that gay men and women are treated like second class citizens is blind. To make it abundantly clear just how far we have come, let us recall that it wasn’t so long ago that black people and women were considered property, let alone the fact that neither had the right to vote in an election. In 1865 black men were given the right to vote in the United States of America and women were given the right to vote in 1920. In Canada it was 1917 for women and 1837 for black men. All we have to do now is stop killing/abusing/oppressing each other in every corner of this planet and we will finally be moving forward as a human race.
Ask Coolio, he knows. 😉