Anna Vine is a first year student at the University of Manchester, studying English Literature and American Studies. This poem was inspired by a George Lipsitz guest lecture on racial discrimination in America.
Out, out damn-
nation! I say!
A nation of depravation,
An accumulative system of deprivation
Set in motion by years of segregation.
The ‘Long Fetch of History’ as Lipsitz said,
The long fetch of patterns of the past;
Patterns that see gains turned into segregation,
Segregation turned into congregation,
Only for congregation to be turned back into depravation.
There’s the displacement and disinherit history of housing discrimination,
Conjoined with the social warrant of privatisation.
While poverty for whites lasts a generation,
Wealth for African Americans is only a temporary celebration.
There’s no housing security; but there’s medical racism?
‘White Fright’ is the latest catalyst,
A catalyst for an excuse for police brutality;
Brutality from those who are taught The Constitution;
The Constitution and The Declaration of Independence
That allows Mike Brown’s ninety-second incident to be turned into an abomination.
Hand in hand both documents claim the right for all;
For all to have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness which is inhibited.
Inhibited and prevented in communities,
Incarcerated like the people of these communities,
Ignored in the air of these communities;
Ignored by the whites in power
Who have the power
But do not utilise their power
To remove this racialized time,
And remove the connotation;
The connotation that the minorities are disposable and unable.
That nation should be teaching us that everyone is able,
That all are created equal;
That everyone has the right to Exceptionalism
And not just the ones who proclaim racism.
Wasn’t that part of the thesis in eighteen-sixty-five,
In the Emancipation Proclamation,
That everyone has the right to freedom and equality;
to this so-called Americanisation?
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