Social Justice Poetry

Holli Homan

Breaking the Mold, Snipping the Wires | A Social Justice Poem by Holli Homan

As we sit atop the mountain of the privileges we hold,
Coasting through our lives by the colors of our skin,
We live the day to day by carefully fitting into molds,
Our identities are crafted by the powerful akin.

We question all we hear on its exact validity,
If it wasn’t wired similarly it must be simply wrong,
We based all that we knew on our ethnocentricity,
No wonder unlearning oppressive ways takes so very long.

Our defenses come alive when we question all we’ve ever known,
They must be wrong if they question our know-ability,
We’ve never experienced oppression in the entire life we’ve sewn,
On all accounts this process tempts our white fragility.

Yet we fit the preferred molds on so many different planes,
We never before questioned what was held to be true,
Our privileged intersectionality served to influence our gains,
Blinded assimilation is all we ever knew.

That is until we learned how assimilation came to be,
Through cultural and ethnic genocide on this very land,
Our ancestors attempted to force our native brethren to their knee,
Telling them if they aren’t White they aren’t considered Man.

We learn that through our privileged lives we needn’t our own minds,
We regurgitate the rhetoric that flows within our wiring,
Our comfort zones work to place our inner-molds into binds,
Because fighting normative culture can prove to be quite tiring.

So we became complacent in the mold we were given at birth,
Sexism, Racism, Classism, Ageism we saw as extremist myths,
Yet wherever we fit on those spectrums somehow influenced our worth,
They have the power to lower us down or serve as effective lifts.

We’re learning more and more about how our breeding served to be,
A factory-like mode to perpetuate systems of oppression,
Our social consciousness helps us to fine-tune our clarity,
And helps us combat normative culture – of ourselves we gain possession.

Our implicit bias to this day tends to lineate with dominant culture,
We associated non-Christians, Non-whites and the like with stereotypes and stigma.
The more we learn the more we start to clearly see the future,
Social consciousness helps to demystify privilege’s enigma.

The mask that used to bare our face begins to crack and fall,
We see the world through a lens of vivid cynicism,
We see social change moving at the pace of a crawl,
We start to fully understand the meaning of each “ism.”

Where clouds loom over plains that we used to naively see as sunny,
Our entire world flips upside down and we clearly see inequity,
Where power is given to those with substantial sums of money
Despite our social disposition we view Capitalism as a malady.

The settler colonialist structure in which our society is built,
Helps to build the systems of oppression that we see,
It’s unhelpful to be overcome with circumstantial guilt,
Because that only shifts the focal point back from you to me.

So how do we shift the perception that women are property of men?
How do we end the objectification and hyper-sexualization?
Standing with our feminists of color now – though we didn’t then,
We hope solidarity will shift the power and create an equal nation.

How do we end mass-incarceration – which serves as the new Jim Crow?
Where prisons serve to embody the themes of Capitalism and Militarism,
Enslavement still continues despite all the injustices we know,
Resembling practices and procedures found in states of fascism.

How do we work to combat injustices our brethren of color experience?
We must continue to work towards desegregation to create long-needed equity,
We must educate so we can break down the metaphoric fearful-fence
Who knows – racial equality could be our generation’s destiny!

The more questions that we ask the quicker our mask falls to the floor,
The mold we once fit into now is miles out of reach,
As social consciousness rises it’s our choice to walk through the door,
While it’s important that we learn it’s just as crucial that we teach.

As social justice warriors, anti-oppressive we try to be,
At the end of the day all we need to do is try.
So as we learn we start to take accountability,
Then the realization finally comes that “we” is really “I.”