Poetry Friday: Danez Smith — “Dear White America”

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Poetry Friday is hosted by Heidi @  My Juicy Little Universe  

Like everyone else, I’ve been watching the news from Ferguson, Missouri with horror and disbelief.  And, like everyone else, I can’t stop thinking about young Michael Brown – just about to begin his college life, no easy task given all the challenges he faced.  I began this morning by reading Charles Blow’s haunting Op Ed piece in the New York Times which he finished with this heartbreaking quote from Michael’s mother:

“Do you know how hard it was for me to get him to stay in school and graduate? You know how many black men graduate? Not many. Because you bring them down to this type of level, where they feel like they don’t got nothing to live for anyway. ‘They’re going to try to take me out anyway.’ ”

and I concluded the evening with Diane Ravitch’s equally haunting blog post about the high school Michael attended.  In between, I watched and heard news reports.  I saw and heard from people who were angry, and people who were bereft.  It is a sad time in this beautiful country of ours – we are still working towards “all men are created equal”.  I think the poet Danez Smith captures some of that anger and deep sorrow in his poem, “Dear White America”:


11 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Danez Smith — “Dear White America”

  1. Sad story. Powerful poem. Thank you for sharing it. the word’s of Michael Brown’s mother portray very clearly the heartbreak and disillusionment, the senselessness of it all. It does make you want to leave Earth.

  2. Oof. We are not there yet, so far from there yet. Yet I hope Danez does not leave, but stays to preach like that and be loud and be allowed.

  3. I just don’t understand, after so many years, still here, still not good for everyone. Our school psychologist tells us she feared for her two sons often & they were stopped often. Another parent, with adopted Asian children, plus also white children, says the Asian kids were stopped more than once, the white kids never. This poem from this young man is so sad, Tara. Thank you for finding and sharing.

  4. Wow, such power in the voice and words. Will poetry save us? I am so saddened to think we are going backwards and more backwards than my childhood even. Our prejudice is beyond words.

  5. It’s been a horrible week. I would say an “unbelievable” one, but it’s all too believable, and too common, and that in itself is a horrible, horrible crime.

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