This poem was inspired by actual tweets from the #YesAllWomen trend on twitter. X
Because my cousin shared 3 rape experiences she had
And on all three occasions
She was wearing sweats and was brutally beaten
So there goes your excuse
That my tight dress was asking for it
It might have escaped your attention,
But I don’t wake up in the mornings,
And put on a skirt thinking,
Will this get me raped?
I don’t put on a tank top hoping,
Maybe this one will.
Because in school, they teach us that our bodies are offensive.
They pull us from classrooms
Demanding if we have longer shorts,
Or even a sweater,
Reminding us that the boys are distracted,
That the boys go wild for a peeking shoulder,
Or the sight of a sun burned thigh,
Because their education is more important than ours.
Because white men in pressed suits,
Expensive watches hanging from their wrists,
Red faces glinting with arrogance,
Have more say over my body than I do.
Because those same men,
Quoting the Bible and fake statistics,
Have never shed blood,
As a twisted sacrifice for being a woman.
Because those same men,
Have never walked the streets,
Fearing for their lives,
Clinging to keys between their fingers like a lifeline
With pepper spray in their bags,
Ready for someone to feel entitled to their body.
Because when a man says no to us,
It is a fault in OUR character.
It is because we are not
Thin, tan, or perky enough for HIM.
Because when WE say no to a man,
Its still a fault in OUR character,
We are the cold, ruthless bitch,
Saying no to the nice guy,
Who offered to buy us a drink,
And Who complimented our hair.
Because a UCSB entitled nine-teen year old boy,
Can record a video
Of his plans to shoot down all the
“Blond bimbos who denied him his right,”
And then do so,
Only to have his actions excused by the media,
Claiming he was depressed,
Instead of admitting that male entitlement is dangerous.
Because I am done being silenced
And I am done being polite.
I am done sitting by
As a country hypocritically cries
Equality and justice
But doesn’t have equal pay
Lets men make decisions for a woman’s body
And blames the victim for the actions of a rapist.
Because our NO won’t be enough one day.
Because I wasn’t asking for it.
Because “Boys Will Be Boys,” is still an excuse
Because “Not All Men Are Like That,” is still a defense.
Because enough blood has been spilled.
Because I am sixteen years old, and I am so afraid, when I shouldn’t have to be.
Saluden Muchachxs, saluden.(via frijoliz)
Early in my freshman year, my dad asked me if there were lots of Latinos at school. I wanted to say, “Pa, I’m one of the only Latinos in most of my classes. The other brown faces I see mostly are the landscapers’. I think of you when I see them sweating in the morning sun. I remember you were a landscaper when you first came to Illinois in the 1950s. And look, Pa! Now I’m in college!”
But I didn’t.
I just said, “No, Pa. There’s a few Latinos, mostly Puerto Rican, few Mexicans. But all the landscapers are Mexican.”
My dad responded, “¡Salúdelos, m’ijo!”
So when I walked by the Mexican men landscaping each morning, I said, “Buenos días.”
Recently, I realized what my dad really meant. I remembered learning the Mexican, or Latin American, tradition of greeting people when one enters a room. In my Mexican family, my parents taught me to be “bien educado” by greeting people who were in a room already when I entered. The tradition puts the responsibility of the person who arrives to greet those already there. If I didn’t follow the rule as a kid, my parents admonished me with a back handed slap on my back and the not-so-subtle hint: “¡Saluda!”
I caught myself tapping my 8-year-old son’s back the other day when he didn’t greet one of our friends: “Adrian! ¡Saluda!”
However, many of my white colleagues over the years followed a different tradition of ignorance. “Maleducados,” ol’ school Mexican grandmothers would call them.
But this Mexican tradition is not about the greeting—it’s about the acknowledgment. Greeting people when you enter a room is about acknowledging other people’s presence and showing them that you don’t consider yourself superior to them.
When I thought back to the conversation between my dad and me in 1990, I realized that my dad was not ordering me to greet the Mexican landscapers with a “Good morning.”
Instead, my father wanted me to acknowledge them, to always acknowledge people who work with their hands like he had done as a farm worker, a landscaper, a mechanic. My father with a 3rd grade education wanted me to work with my mind but never wanted me to think myself superior because I earned a college degree and others didn’t.