Poem: Slavery by any other name is still Slavery

She made herself invisible

by not looking into their eyes.

She degraded herself with lies

disguised as jokes

to beat them to the punch.

She smiled politely at their pick up lines

pretend compliments:

exotic,

oriental,

geisha,

ornamental,

celestial orchid,

concubine,

pearl of the orient,

asian persuasion,

war bride,

(every Asian is either)—

Chinese/Japanese

gook or chink,

dragon lady,

mama san,

“slanty-eyed”

massage parlor girl.

Ignorance continues generationally,

bigotry passes on through greedy wars,

laws of imperialist thievery.

So she made herself disappear:

while scrubbing floors,

washing dishes,

folding laundry,

cleaning toilets,

changing diapers,

cooking meals

bowing lowly.

All for the ruling class

the privileged elitists

who grant her a slave’s wage

and call it generosity

written off as tax-free charity

under the table.

11 Comments

  1. Well done, Judy. Thank you for sharing this. It resonates strongly with me. I won’t go into my past or the abuse, but my response (in part) was self-deprecating humor. As you described, it hurt less if I beat people to the punch. I was actually very good at it, and always made people laugh. Friends would chuckle and roll their eyes at me, knowing at least somewhat what I was doing, if not understanding why.
    Then one day a friend got very upset with me for making fun of myself. “Stop saying bad things about my friend!” she demanded. “You are my friend, and I don’t like you saying bad things about yourself. You make it funny, but it really is not. So stop saying bad things about my friend.”
    That was more than 20 years ago, but it stuck with me. I’ve used her words myself now, to stop other people speaking badly of themselves.
    Kudos on this poem and on taking a stand. Hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Teagan, I love your insightful comment, thank you. I know exactly what you’re talking about, I didn’t realize how mean it was to make fun of myself either, (I still do this sometimes, it’s an awful habit). I think it’s called “the inner critic” and its the result of coping with habitual, external criticism. The criticism gets internalized and repeated although the outside criticism is gone. Comedians do this expertly, but at least they get paid! I remember doing this once when I was with my sister. I called myself “Prince Charming” because of a bad haircut, I was laughing but my sister got so sad/angry that I was making fun of myself. It was the first time I realized what I was doing, even though I was an adult. You’re right, we should be kind, not just to others, but to ourselves also. Thank you for this important reminder.❤️

      Liked by 2 people

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