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[Artwork Courtesy/Shebani Rao]

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by Gayatri Sethi


When we are neither 
Black nor 
White 
When we are either
Benefitting from 
Proximity 
to whiteness 
Or when we are fleetingly
selective 
in feigning allegiance 
When we are discreetly
anti-Black while blatantly 
claiming to be a “person of color” 
But maybe we shun bring oppressed 
So we ally with whiteness 
We drown in whiteness
Ever the Other 
We shy away from our black kin 
Not seeing our collective humanity 
We gaslight their pain
While claiming to be discriminated against 
All the while choosing 
to drown in whiteness
Denying our pigmentation 
Justifying how we do gentrification 
We who are overly invested 
In being the exceptions 
We seek to shine as “model minorities”
We have bought the master’s rules 
Claiming we all must pull ourselves up by our 
Boot…straps 
But we are the master’s fools 
With our boots at the throats of 
Our Black kin
To climb up the master ladder
And mock with our climb 
our brethren that their lives don’t matter
We are complicit in adding insult injury and harm 
We, the brown the neither here
Not there 
We the Non-Black People of Color
We must shift this tide 
Instead of drowning ourselves in whiteness
To obfuscate our pigmentation 
We could turn the tide
Someday it won’t be
An either-or
Someday we will all BE
Today we choose 
We could step off the throats of Black folks 
And kneel bend tend 
Deep bows of our backs
Not to the masters as their fools
But deep bows  
In solidarity with Black folks 
Knowing and living the truths
That any gain we claim 
At their expense 
Is no gain 
Only pain
Pain pain pain
We all fall
We all drown 
Could we just know this without a doubt 
No lives nor gains nor climbs matter 
Unless and until Black Lives Matter.


Gayatri Sethi is an educator and aspiring poet. She is of Punjabi descent, born in Tanzania and raised in Botswana currently residing in the Atlanta area. She is the mother of two Black-Indian biracial children. You can learn more about her on her website, www.gayatrisethi.com

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