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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

DEAR DAUGHTER OF SOUTH AFRICA a poem by Brittany Delaney

Brittany Delaney is an amazing poet, writer and spoken word artist from the Twin Cities. i have had the privilege to see her perform in many places and i am glad she is getting the spot light at the best Spoken Word Event in the cities. The EQ Series. She will be at The LOFT, Sat. Sept. 19th @ 8pm. $5. Be There!

**this poem is in respond to the gender controversy regarding the South African WOMAN runner (South African Runner Gender Controversy) Brittany, eloquently put her feelings (and mine) about the issue in this poem.**




DEAR DAUGHTER OF SOUTH AFRICA

I'm sorry your jaw bones are so well pronounced,
thats your hair is platted without beads hanging off them,
and your legs hold more muscles than that of a run way model.

I can't describe what it feels like when you don't have a womb,
but I'm sure you are not empty.
Women do more than just give birth to children.
And as far as I'm concerned
you ran your race pregnant with the hope of your people
The flattery of being called a hero by your own country creates enough blush for your cheeks than people magazine can ever put on your face
to make you look enough like the woman America will say rightfully won her award
and not the
“IT”
“SHIM”
OR “BOTH”
who had an advantage for being born different

I'm not sure what America thinks legitimizes a woman if a vagina is not enough.
and even if the hospital you were born in Africa could have known that you,
In a politically correct world,
are considered a hermaphrodite,
the fact that your father calls you his little girl makes you enough of a woman for me.

You smile through the comments that come attached to your gold medal like a lady of extreme grace
pose with your legs crossed
and conservatively cover your body
for the sake of not being overly suggestive
and I can only bet that you are well mannered
and determined to take on America with the heart of a queen
stretch your legs out and run
tracking pieces of south Africa everywhere you step
including the winning circle

I don't know how to say sorry for the fact that men and women are not equal here
and the fact that you create more testosterone due to lack of a uterus means your are different or better than a woman
hence the repeated word “advantage”
maybe all women who have had hysterectomies should start running track so you can be considered equally placed with those who create less estrogen
I can only imagine being on a cold exam table trying to prove humanity past the more than obvious vagina
because the reality is
you can be entered
and as long as that is the case
you are also being spoken of when they say 1 out of 3 will be sexually assaulted by the age of 13
no advantages included
you are a woman
in the same glories and dangers that I am
and carry the same look of compassion in your tear ducts as the corneas I stare into daily
rather you bleed once a month or not at all
we are apart of the same cycle
life or menstrual
The only advantage you have received
is the opportunity to be born in the mother land
and not have to travel abroad through pan African study groups just to be united with your original home
meaning you have more sense of belonging than a lot of us who have to constantly read Roots in junior high
and high school
just to be in your back yard
with enough understanding to eat at your table

you might be confused by the fact that we have a black president
in the sense that maybe racism isn't still present here
but the fact is
had your skin not been the shade of African sand
and your hair not natural like the air you breathe
had your pigment experienced failure during the time that you were waiting for us to tell you if you would be allowed to come into our country on a plane without shackles
instead of a boat
before you grabbed your television VISA
you would not have been asked to prove your sexuality before your standing ovation was complete
now unsure hands stop mid clap
until the results of what sits inside of your stomach beyond Gatorade
are ready and printed in every news paper willing to support international discrimination against someones child
until ever paper that needs to be covering health care plans and the current status of our soldiers
prints what sits in between your legs

Dear young south African woman
Daughter of your father
congratulations on your award
you ran the race with the heart of a true athlete
I'm sorry this is coming so late
but it's hard for a compliment to survive a storm of blatant insults
you did a beautiful photo shoot in people magazine
but I must say that the greatest angle was from you breaking through the ribbon at the end of the track in first place
I want you to know that we don't usually measure the level of testosterone or estrogen in our athletes before they run
and that we should be ashamed for how you have been exploited as your intro to our country
but we have broken
and quote on quote “rebuilt”
countries for the past 150+ years
so as to make them fractured just like us
we are clearly shameless

please don't be broken by us
do not except the complimentary zipper that we place on individuals in order to pull it down and stuff them with our zero calorie ideas of beauty
you do just fine how you are

blush from flattery
not from what we put on you
you don't have to stoop down to except able
when you are extraordinary


sincerely your,

Delaney

1 comment:

aliciaisbrown said...

This is BEAUTIFUL. Inspiring and uplifting. I will be sharing and THANKS for doing so!