Down is Up and up is down
The trumpeter swans Know nothing of White privilege White is what they are Down under and Above the down Except for beaks As black as ebony on ivory Their voice is not the honk of pride and privilege Pens and cobs Teach their young The Beatitudes Where Up is really Down and Down is Up without a down- Ward sneer at Loons or Redwing Blackbirds Ebony and ivory Nesting in a wetland Marsh where no Manicured lawns And Scotts-fed Greens feed faux- White privilege. - GCS, May, 2021
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." -- Gospel According to Matthew 5:1-10 NIV
Gordon C. Stewart, public theologian, author of Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness (2017 Wipf and Stock), Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, March 3, 2022.
Effective combo, your poem and the Gospel of Matthew. There is no denying the fact that because I was born white I received a built-in advantage; an easier path through life. I don’t like the word “privilege” because it has that look-down-your-nose-at-others connotation but privilege is what it is, defined by my dictionary in part as “A right or advantage gained by birth.” So, like the swans, my skin color, and that of the rest of the white population, is what it is, and should be only that. Color. Not inherently better than the loons or blackbirds. Not some generational basis for discrimination. I find I need the words of Matthew 5:1-10 these days as problems in our minority communities sometimes make me stop thinking and begin wondering “What’s wrong with these people?” Considering what those very communities of color deal with every day, I’ll bet they are asking the same question of us whites.
Jim, Thank you for your commendation of the comb, and your way of speaking your heart and mind so clearly. Otis Moss III, pastor of Trinity UCC, Southside Chicago, the Obamas’ home church, spoke at Morehouse College. Here’s the link: https://youtu.be/RPec1VUb9E8
Beautifully said – both poem and the painful but true reminders of the privilege that belongs to the white world – including us.
Thank you, Anonymous. A friend sent me a link to Otis Moss III’s address at Morehouse College. Haven’t watched it yet.
Not sure why I am showing as anonymous, although it’s perfectly okay. I’ll look up the Morehouse address