Day By Day

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Addicted to the Indigenous

A wonderful poem about political correctness:

        Go, Ghost, Go

At this university upon a hill,
         I meet a tenured professor
                 Who's strangely thrilled
         To list all of the oppressors --
Past, present, and future -- who have killed.
Are killing, and will kill the indigenous.
         O, he names the standard suspects --
                 Rich, white, and unjust --
         And I, a red man, think he's correct,
But why does he have to be so humorless?

And how can he, a white man, fondly speak
         Of the Ghost Dance, the strange and cruel
         That, if performed well, would have doomed
All white men to hell, destroyed their colonies,
And brought back every dead Indian to life?
         The professor says, "Brown people
                 From all brown tribes
         Will burn skyscrapers and steeples.
They'll speak Spanish and carry guns and knives.
Sherman, can't you see that immigration
         Is the new and improved Ghost Dance?"
         All I can do is laugh and laugh
And say, "Damn, you've got some imagination.
You should write a screenplay about this shit --
         About some fictional city,
         Grown fat and pale and pretty,
That's destroyed by a Chicano apocalypse."
The professor doesn't speak. He shakes his head
         And assaults me with his pity.
         I wonder how he can believe
In a ceremony that requires his death.
I think that he thinks he's the new Jesus.
         He's eager to get on that cross
         And pay the ultimate cost
Because he's addicted to the indigenous.

By Sherman Alexie -- a Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian, poet and screenwriter. This poem is from his book War Dances.

HT: Things White People Like

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