Thursday, February 10, 2011

History Don't Tell

Itoro Udofia is an artist and writer living in Amherst, MA. Currently, she is attending graduate school to study social justice and education. Her work focuses primarily on the African Diaspora, black womanhood, identity, solidarity, and love. She hopes to continue using art as a tool for social justice. 

History don’t tell my students what they need to know
Students here are dark and poor
History shows them lily white
Shows them men with guns and might
Tells elaborate tales of landed gentry
White male landowners owning all the property
They hear the drones of their declarations, contestations and Modernity
No surprise students start to say, 
“Maybe someday that could be me!”

History don’t let the students know
The resistance of 500 years ago
The people locked out of the American Dream
The people who labored and toiled this earth
While Massa got fat and lived the dream on their backs
History doesn’t tell the students what they need to know
Need to know to fight all that

The red on the reservation
The black on the plantation
The white indentured servant on the field
The yellow on the railroad
The brown migrant worker
The woman and child’s nimble fingers in the factory
The immigrant who met with a rude awakening
The differently abled body who couldn’t fit into the capitalist logic of efficiency
Or the one who loves differently
The supremacy
The divvying people up
For empire dreams
Profit maximizing and expanding on human bodies

History don’t let the students know
The Reality
Of people fighting
Fighting all that
Building solidarity
Voices speaking
Spitting out the Great White Father’s milk
Demanding something else
Rumbling
Opposing
Resisting
History needs to let students see
Let students see all that
And see these people as themselves
‘Cause when they go out there
And leave the classroom for good
History should have done it's job
And told them the truth
And History needs to give them the tools to use
‘Cause when they leave
Leave the classroom for good
It’s the same thing