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Life Arts    H4'ed 12/3/19

Am I a White Male? Let Me Check"

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Am I a white male? Gimme a min' and I'll check,
I wasn't last night, but a guy can take heck
For not keeping track of which ball club he's on,
Or what brand the critics have stuck him upon,
And say he's part of an assemblage gone stale,
Neither Klan nor Masons: just standard white male.
Really I'm not sure I belong to a group,
Of gender or color or demograph' scoop,
And only when doing bureaucracy wholesale,
Check the little box reading not "man" but "male,"
And "white," well, that's for the beholder's cool eye,
I'd call it "baked crust on mom's rhubarb pie."
I can't even say I'm an "angry" white dude,
Who voted from rage for Prez Donald Crude,
Or rails against immigrants' dark hands outstretched,
Desperation showing on every face etched.
Not even a future where white man's extinct
Drops a rock in my pond or leaves the day kinked.
For my whiteness will someone buy me a drink?
Or for my maleness maybe, now that I think?
If experience guides, I'd say it's not likely,
Despite all the talk, we males behave tightly,
And only when legless will spring for a round:
For feeling among us might then abound.
So am I a white male? I guess I can bear it,
Since if the shoe fits, you'd darn better you wear it,
But all that falls under the heading "Details":
Right-handed, six-feet-tall, from arthritis ails,
Which are no more me than the clothes that I wear,
Or my Ford that carries me from here to there.


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"A Legacy of Chains and Other Stories" is Philip Kraske's lastest book. It can be found at his website:

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