Silent Parade (July 28, 1917)

I learn about the silent parade
from a Google doodle,
not from my childhood
history classes,
not from my children’s
classes – even the one called
“history from below.”

I am white in America.
and I learned about privilege
by breathing,
also reading, television, movies,
the jobs I was offered
and the jokes people felt free
to tell before me.

I learned about racism
from the duck and shame
Maybe I have to think about it
once a week.

Once a week will not
retrieve one hundred years
of racism and violence.
Now is the time for white people,
people like me,
first to learn, maybe to parade,
certainly to be silent.

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3 Responses to Silent Parade (July 28, 1917)

  1. I learned about the parade the same way – from the google doodle How brave those men and women were. How beautiful and strong.

  2. Nathaniel C. Emens says:

    I remember when I was five years old and went to hospital to have my tonsils removed along with a bunch of other kids. The next morning in the hospital I woke up and was sweating profusely and when my Mother saw me, she went and got a towel to wipe my face and head. Then she noticed the boy in the next bed and saw no one was helping him. So she took her towel and wiped his face as well. He was a black boy and my Mother was teaching me to love everyone. That was how I
    was brought up.

  3. Maren says:

    A wonderful story!

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