Poem: Authenticity: If you don’t know what you’re talking about, don’t pretend that you do

1)

If you don’t know

What you’re talking about

Stop pretending you do.

You don’t have the authority

To speak for us

You don’t know what we’ve been through

Second hand knowledge

Superficial research

Doesn’t make you an expert

On our culture.

2)

If you’re curious

Then ask us,

the true experts

Who lived through actual experiences

Don’t try to learn from books

Written by the ruling class

Institutionalized propaganda

Isn’t the truth.

3)

If you’re an artist

A writer, painter, movie director

You have an obligation

To tell the truth!

Don’t be lazy and assume

When you don’t have a clue.

I’m tired of reading books

Watching movies

that pretend accuracy

while spreading misinformation

and stereotypes

I’m tired of “learning”

about non-white cultures

from white people’s perspective.

Stop “championing” our causes

it won’t relieve ancestral guilt.

I’m tired of movies that feature

a “white savior” who rescues:

Native Americans,

African Americans

Asian-Americans

and even Aliens from outer space!

Star Wars I’m talking to you.

Memoirs of a Geisha I’m talking to you.

Dances with Wolves I’m talking to you.

The Hunger Games I’m talking to you.

Daughters of the Dragon I’m talking to you.

The Last Samurai I’m talking to you.

The Help I’m talking to you.

The Fifth Element I’m talking to you.

Avatar I’m talking to you.

Hmmm, maybe it would be easier to list the films that authenticity represent the struggle of people of color without a “white savior”.

Roots, Malcolm X, The Color Purple and Joy Luck Club are the only ones I can think of from Hollywood.

If you really care about injustice

Step aside

Move away from the mic

Step out of the limelight you hoarded

with privilege

Let the people of color stand up and rise

With pride to tell our true stories.

Don’t cash in on our struggle

Pretending you’re an insider.

Don’t be a “Rachel Dolezal” fraud

Robin DiAngelo I’m talking to you.

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