Treasure Island

Elsinore RathbridgeStewart


Racism in the Deep South and the Perils of Growing Up as a Young, Courageous Girl


Racism
It is bad
It is bad
In the deep south.
In the deep south.

I was a little girl
Growing up
Trying to find my way
Suffering always at the hands of
Damn morphodites

But I could see that my dear old indigenous maid
Had it worse off than me
Because of racism
Oh woe is racism

I just want to be me

Submitted: Monday, June 17, 2013
Edited: Monday, June 17, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

My own experience growing up as a young, courageous girl in the Deep South.

Comments about this poem (Racism in the Deep South and the Perils of Growing Up as a Young, Courageous Girl by Elsinore RathbridgeStewart )

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  • Emile Esteban (6/17/2013 7:50:00 PM)

    I see the sparse, uncluttered style of RathbridgeStewart's language as a hopeful attempt to embody the clarity of mind and heart that could be ours once we cast aside our hegemonic assumptions and practices about and towards Indigenous peoples everywhere.

    The repetition in the first stanza functions as a heartbreakingly beautiful homage to the work songs sung by America's first people during the time of slavery. I dismiss claims that RathbridgeStewart's appropriation of this technique is ironic - it's clearly indicative of a genuinely heartfelt compassion, a willingness to climb inside someone else's skin and walk around in it.

    The juxtaposition of emotion - damn appearing so close to dear - suggests the complexity and depth of the narrator's inner life. So passionate, so angry, but still so full of compassion, even for those in subjugated social positions. We could all learn a thing or two from RathbridgeStewart's example. (Report) Reply

  • Lauren Lollscraft (6/17/2013 8:14:00 AM)

    This is simple yet powerfully affecting. The voice and rhythm are reminiscent of childhood and the carefree naivety of youth, and yet it sparks with profound wisdom, reminding us of the importance of seeing the world from another's point of view. Oh woe is racism, indeed! (Report) Reply

  • Tanya Ashworth-keppel (6/17/2013 5:24:00 AM)

    The poet captures the rawness of racism in the Deep South brilliantly in just a few sparing words. What is remarkable about this work is not merely its unwavering confrontation of race relations, but its elegaic portrait of early girlhood and the voyage of self-actualisation that is coming-of-age. (Report) Reply

  • Steve Parker (6/17/2013 5:19:00 AM)

    Genius. So emotive, just.... a view into the mind of God itself. Thank creation for Elsinore RathbridgeStewart! (Report) Reply

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