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white privilege

by Gloria Browne-Marshall


White privilege was born, foul smelling,
conceived by pious heathens. A perfumed history,
rewritten by enslavers, seeking heaven
they created a hell we now live in.

Extorted by murder, white privilege grew with
lynch mob terror. They feared only that our stank
of smoky burnt flesh had ruined their best
Sunday school vests.

White privilege was earned by pale cannibals,
feasting in cacophonous joy while
castrating African innocence, with raped
Black women left to carry mixed messages.

Privilege him? Lower your eyes, voice, mind.
Make his command your will to survive
or face blood-hungry swarms of seething gangs
seeking strong brown bodies to hang.

Privilege her? Slave mistresses selling
their man’s brown babies. Rough breasted
accomplices. Dry-eyed cries. And too frail-framed
she says, to share his pus-filled shame.

Their privilege is a carnal gift -- by way of Ham
or Cain or some other hazy mythical curse
still feeding their diabolical frenzy,
sanctifying this unholy man-made pathology.

Privileges, protected on high, by black robes
blind to justice, shot thru by night riders,
now called police officers. All rise! Again and again
expose their guilt-fed fear of non-white skin.

No center can hold back the rising sad rage
of those forced to kneel before butt raw pilgrims
still sucking on their privileged reign,
based in 400 years of blood, lies and pain.

Gloria J. Browne-Marshall

My first poem "Dreamers Americanus" was published in 1990 in Quarterly Black Review. My produced plays include "My Juilliard," "Killing Me Softly." and "Jeanine." My nonfiction books include "Race, Law, and American Society: 1607 to Present" and "The Voting Rights War." My award-winning articles include "Selma: 50th Anniversary of Edmund Pettus March" and "The Confederate Flag: A Symbol of Terrorism and Free Speech." I am working on my first novel.

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November 2019

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