The Diversity Question

 

Aidan Niles

In your search

Your quest

For flesh

There are some things that do not mesh

 

Your vaunted objective

Your lofty goal

Hoping the answer might make you whole

 

The truth is somewhere in between

Flesh matters

We haven’t forgotten

Past so darkened

Lore so shameful

 

Yet we are blinded by fear

Fear of an eternal canvas

Fear of racism

Fear of one color

 

But what of the mind?

Cleanest of slates

Jewel of consciousness

Seat of our souls

Palace of existence

 

What of our beliefs?

Beliefs that are not etched into our genes

Tattooed onto our skins

Runes, hieroglyphs, pictograms of a long history

 

What of our affiliation?

Factions vying for agendas

Seeking, searching, planning for a better tomorrow

 

We are more than our skin

We are our minds

We are intellectually diverse

Poets, artists, mathematicians, engineers, scientists, communicators

Those who are stratified by a history we live yet have never lived

Descended of the truths our fathers and mothers knew and taught

 

To simply see us as bags of bones

To see us as genetic material meant to fill your abstract quotas

The pillars you claim that don’t exist

So

That

You

May

Paint your canvas with a variety of color

So you may remark that you are not monochromatic

Are not a racist

 

When your institution feasts on color

When it constantly hunts the code buried deep within our flesh

Seeking it out with the hungry voraciousness of the predator

Are we to feel safe in your presence?

Safe in the knowledge that we are little more than a cog in your machine

A chess piece in your great game

Do the deeds of the mind pale in comparison to the script of flesh we had no choice in writing?

 

In seeking to bring us together

Your misguided ways tear us apart

Guided not by hatred, but compassion

Steered by acceptance towards discrimination.

We are trapped in the safe spaces you claim to be free

Trained to fear the neighbors you claim we should love

Damned to the fate of a pariah if we steer from your flock

The flock observed by the cruelest of shepherds.

 

Is the liberty of creating our own spaces too much?

Does kindred spirit exist in flesh alone?

Does our estrogen or testosterone determine our associates?

 

We are lost

Confused

Disparate

Scattered

 

We forgot our essence

We let flesh bar us from the true light of each others souls

Let the darkness of skin become a vast ocean of space that we cannot breach

 

So we let our words become poisons to ourselves and others

Distilled in the casks of vile prejudice

Fermented in the barrels of imposed guilt

Toxic to those we call sisters and brothers

We have run from the very world we have sought to embrace

 

We must come back

Bring each other to our minds

To humanity

To be free of our trappings

Gender

Race

Economics

Where we are not bags of flesh and sums of money

To where we are what we were always meant to be

 

Humanity is my church

Discourse my steeple

If we rediscover these things

We might see we’re all people.

 

If we can transcend flesh

Fly past our fear

The path to transcendence lies there

In a place near here

 

The road won’t be easy

Path of mind and of heart

But to begin is somewhere

A place

To start