Privilege

One of our ministers told a story this morning—
a white pastor asked
why there are so many churches in Harlem.

How could a man of God wonder why we
would need pockets of refuge after fleeing a South
that beat/hung/chased us North
into overstuffed tenements
as earthly authorities, from the lowest to the highest, turned a blind eye

Why would we not need to know
Jesus looked like us
be reminded of God’s love and mercy
by men/women who looked like us
so we could face another week of
earning a living on our knees

Why did we not deserve to
wear our best suits and dresses,
be addressed as
brother/sister/sir/ma’am/deacon/deaconness/usher
instead of
first names/boy/gal/darky/nigger/spook
as our children learned the Word and to
mind their manners
be told how pretty or handsome they looked
and be applauded for performances and graduations

We raise(d) our own money for church buildings/support(ed) black-owned businesses
assist(ed) sisters and brothers in need with shelter/food/jobs/scholarships
and voted Adam into Congress
to raise hell and pass laws

If I could find that white pastor
I would ask him how
Dylann Roof could walk into Emmanuel A.M.E.
ask to worship
kill nine members of its congregation
and be offered forgiveness by the families of his victims

Carla M. Cherry is an English teacher and poet from New York City who has been published on anderbo.com, Soar, and Obscura. She has also published a book of poetry, Gnat Feathers and Butterfly Wings. She hopes to earn an M.F.A. in Creative Writing.

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4 Responses to Privilege

  1. I’m not a fan of political/current events poetry, but this is simply brilliant. Congratulations, Carla!

    • Carla Cherry says:

      Thank you Sarah! Since you’re not a fan of political/current events poetry, I really appreciate you taking the time to read this and leave a comment. I’m honored by your compliment!

  2. Reblogged this on tmy_chronicles, phd and commented:
    Food for thought…

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