If I reach the end of my life, and find my greatest sin was being white, what then?
Will I explain to God how it was part of being American?
It was an entrenched system.
It had more to do with inheritance than with decisions.
I care so little for the color of skin. But the weight of true sin,
that is a burden like no other. An anchor on a ship built to circle the world.
And if you never learn to recognize it, you never leave the harbor.
Too heavy to push off from this morbid coil, this meal we let spoil
into redemption soil, inherited toil, this life effort into death comfort, into oceans.
History so heavy it drags bottom. Measures how far we’ve not gotten.
Shows us the depth we are all so eager to stay on top of.
It makes for an awkward discussion, but the perfect poem.
Seeing society cripple itself so that it favors one leg over the other.
White people who are really beige, offwhite, often pink, rarely really white,
fostering fear and weakness and feigned innocence so that disparity
can be dropped like an anchor and stop progress pushing in the wind.
We all see round sails and current lines and a horizons frowning
they are so anxious to be pushed back further.
Yet we do not draw it up to drip above the water,
so our past has become a permanent tether.
We know history can not go away, but while we refuse to carry it,
at least we know where we stay. White in the United States.
But ships are not meant to stay anchored.
I am confident we were not either.
And I refuse to let my greatest sin be living complacently in white America.
I don’t know what afterlife waits for white Americans.
Though I am doubtful it will be a white heaven.