Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Room of My Own: A Haiku Set about Racism

for Abraham Joshua Heschel who proclaims that Racism is man's gravest threat to man.

those slanted eyes
in the room silence
like thunder

racism talk
what does white
smell like?

Note:  The phrase, "slanted eyes," is a racist slur that refers to a person of Asian descent, especially of Chinese descent.


  1. "(E)specially of Chinese descent," is noteworthy because racism as I understand it is more blind in its ignorance. Usually there's the refrain, "They all look alike." Thus, all Asians are Chinese. Or, as in Forrest Whitaker's movie "Ghost Dog," one character concludes, "Indians, blacks - niggers is niggers!" A statement made ironic by the character's Italian descent. As to the second poem, it reminds me of my old Pastor's observation you can smell racism by walking into a room where it's present.

  2. Tzod Earf:

    Thanks for sharing your thought.

    As for the first haiku, it could be read as either of the following:

    "those slanted eyes" in the room (both the perpetrator and the victims of racism in the same room) --- silence like thunder


    "those slanted eyes" (the victims of racism may not be in the same room with their perpetrator) -- in the room silence like thunder

    These two versions create different effects, sociopolitical and psychological, on the victims and the "silent people" in the room.