Paisley Blue

United States

they/them | 6.2.2020
genderfluid | christian

Message to Readers

this one is really important to me.

i'm white. there's nothing i can do to change the fact that because of my skin color, my voice is held above others. it makes me so angry. i have a hard time writing and talking about it because i feel like i'm not the one who should be -- i'm not the one being pushed down, being oppressed. in a way, i feel like if i am talking, someone else is being forced to be silent, and that's not okay.

but a while back, R.j.Elsewhere wrote a call to action (it has since been taken down) and that made me start thinking. i'm not helping anything by being silent. there's a better way; to use my voice to make those who haven't been heard louder. to get everyone to shut up and listen for a moment to the people who really matter. maybe that's my role.

this poem is working through these thoughts and feelings. this is really important to me, as i mentioned above, so i would really appreciate reviews and comments with constructive feedback. i'm considering this for a competition, and i want to make sure it is in no way offensive to anyone. please please please give me your thoughts. i would love to have a conversation with anyone who wants to chat about it.

hope you're all well, wishing you the best <3

white privilege

July 23, 2021

FREE WRITING

37

He’s been saving up infinities in hope of
reclaiming all the cultural vibrancies he
isn’t allowed to know. No shadow or depth paints
his blue-white skin; no mystic wisdom darkens
his eyes, offsetting no sparkle of pain passed down
through an ancestry neither revered or celebrated.
His world is seeped in bleach and rounded edges;
no pride in the rolling waves of a mother tongue spoken
intimately against the print of assimilation. 
He was not born into oppression, he was told
to steal the spotlight.

The subway screams at him, a melody in all the mistakes
he will never be held to. He drowns in foreign melodies reclaimed; 
when does empathy become invalidating? 
He doesn’t dare understand pain. So he fades,
pressing against the background. Never fixing the problem,
but can’t it be the next best thing? To go unheard is only fair.
His voice is swallowed, yet he doesn’t feel proud.

Sunset, he walks the highways, collecting pieces of eternity
and hiding them in his messenger bag. Inside he hopes to stumble
upon the in-between of building the city up and still not
being crushed under the weight; he searches for the story
of his own place, not blameless but, he hopes,
not solely to blame.

 
7.20.2021

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  • July 23, 2021 - 6:58pm (Now Viewing)

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19 Comments
  • dovetrees

    all of the comments preceding me have taken the words straight from my fingertips. this is incredible, and i love the point of view you've taken and the last line my goodness. very powerful and is just a testament to the brilliant writing style you've adopted.
    re: aw thank you so much! it's lovely to see you too!


    about 2 months ago
  • Wisp

    Replying: Aww my darling constant!! You are such a joy, a surge of serotonin, a gift of smiles, just you bring along such wonderful feelings! Thank you for all your kindness my darling!


    about 2 months ago
  • A. Penderwick

    This is really amazing, so well written, and done in a very profound and meaningful way. I am also white, and sometimes feel the same thing that other people having been talking about; hating my whiteness because I belong to a race that has done so much harm. I feel the same thing as you, where because I am so privileged my voice shouldn't be heard above others. But I can't help who I am, and you are totally right that being silent doesn't change anything. Amazing job.


    about 2 months ago
  • The Secret Society of Purple Iguanas of Death Online

    I love your way of addressing the subject without casting a light of hate nor innocence. It’s a fairly accurate portrait of this thing that’s always in the background and hard to talk about.


    about 2 months ago
  • SnowLeopard06

    There's something about this one...it really hits hard.


    about 2 months ago
  • wishtree

    this piece is amazing, wow. i feel like anything i say will just be echoing what everyone else has said, but it's stunning.

    re: ahh you're too kind. thank you so much!


    about 2 months ago
  • Wisp

    "i have a hard time writing and talking about it because i feel like i'm not the one who should be"
    Oh darling, thank you for writing this. Sometimes I feel that when people of white ancestry write about racism, it's like they can't connect to it as a whole. Because they won't be able to truly feel what people of color feel. But this, it's utterly divine. I adore how you tip toe yet strike the topic. You're not trying to write about people of color's oppression, you're writing to show the opposite viewpoint of things. You write about white privilege, something that I will never be able to understand and you combine it into a topic that means so much, that matters and impacts our everyday lives. The way your imagery acts as an illumination to the topics and issues tackled here is simply stunning because it doesn't feel belittling. You were worried that you might push people of color's voices to the side, but that simply is not the case here dear. You manage to illuminate the issue and bring more importance to their trials, to show why it matters. And you show a different side to things. The side of those not born into oppression but are hoping to change it. You write in a way that accepts, your tone is melancholic and it feels like whispers by the sea. There's this sting in it, while still having this gentle lulling to it. A lovely, striking piece my dear.
    Replying: Been meaning to check up on you my darling constant. Not on as much as I used to, but I always keep an eye out for you. I've missed you too, and maybe I'll be on a little more before school starts since my classes ended and all. Thank you for all your kind words on my piece too, made my day a million times brighter. Hope all's well with you and I hope your camp went well!


    about 2 months ago
  • rwong

    omg ellllllllllllllllll!!!!!! freaking amazing ell, not the just the overall concept which is addressed really really well but also writing-wise. the way you write everything, the way with words...its just so powerful and really highlights the issue but then also its not like written so that the issue of discrimination isnt in like neon yellow lights, if you know what i mean? like its sorta subtle but really really powerful as well and if its actually read and understood, it just all kinda comes together. i dont think that makes any sense (as you're probably used to, cause all my comments are like this) butttt yea. regarding the topic, i'm cantonese but i grew up in ca my whole life. the community here is pretty diverse, ofc theres definitely some things like in certain offhand comments joking about stereotypes of chinese people? i know it's not really discrimination and im really thankful i dont need to go through the worst of it (but thats more just like my experience. but im really really proud to see people like you who are willing to step up and use your voice, and you've done it really really well (oh and not offensive in any way, at least to me :) and also also i'm with sunv, its not like you can change your skin color so instead of hating yourself for something that you can't change, why not do something else for change? its not like hating your skin color's gonna do any good in this world so if you're angry by something, speak up, do something. which you do here, ell, and i'm so so so proud of you for it.
    on the other hand, the writing here is fantastic tooooo ughhhh im still blown away and i reread it like 5 times literally. your word choice and flow and its so vivid and everything about it is gorgeous. fav lines: (shoot wait ok fav lines i LOVE the first stanza so much you have no idea but im not gonna copy that in cause i thought i would only copy 1-2 lines but then rereading for the 6th time and realized i cant choose ugh welcome to shell being the most indecisive person ever) and also "he searches for the story / of his own place, not blameless but, he hopes, / not solely to blame." absolute stroke of genius, ell.
    anywayyyyyyy i think thats a sufficiently long comment, hope you're wonderful!! <3 <3 <3


    about 2 months ago
  • SunV

    re: thank you! unfortunately, i can't enter paid competitions, but thank you regardless!
    i think, again, you can't control into what you were born, and it's okay to not like your past, your ancestors actions, but the fact that you live and breathe, it means you can do something to change it.
    and i will review this!!


    about 2 months ago
  • SunV

    Paisley, I just--
    I read the piece, then the message box, and then all the other comments, and will now proceed to give my two cents.
    I'm not white. I think people term being Indian as being 'brown'? Honestly, I'm not sure. Where I live, discrimination based on your skin colour is really scarce, and I"m really grateful for that. I've faced stereotyping and discrimination is other ways, my culture, my name, and so much else, and I think this piece does also bring a call-to-action for, really not being bystanders. That it isn't enough if you are free to be who you are. We need to help whose who aren't yet.
    And no one, regardless of race, should hate being who they are. Saw a few comments below about hating your whiteness, and I guess I want to say that you didn't choose it. And you can't change it. So why not embrace it? Use your voice to help those who are oppressed, (and another comment said this) not over them, but in support of them.
    I think what I just wanted to say in the end is that this is a wonderful piece, and being South-Asian, I found a way to connect to it in a different way. And it isn't offensive. I will definitely review this, so look out for that!!
    Also, I was wondering, where do you find writing competitions? The only ones I can find are on WtW hehe


    about 2 months ago
  • crystalline•galaxies

    fantastic piece here. it’s so hard to tackle these kinds of subjects, and you managed to do it well. it’s important that we as humans help each other in any way we can.


    about 2 months ago
  • ThatOneAntagonist

    I felt this. The language and imagery is absolutely beautiful and I absolutely agree with Elodie. It's so important that we educate ourselves on the history of not just our type of culture, but also other times of culture as well. Hate will never be stronger than love, but it will always win if we don't know how to send it into the world.


    about 2 months ago
  • Elodie

    I love this! I'm white as well and I absolutely understand what you are feeling and saying. It is so wrong that a person's opinion and voice should be valued more just because of their skin tone. But I feel like because of that it's up to us to educate ourselves and speak up, not over people who are oppressed, but in support of them. Really great job. You definitely have a way with words.


    about 2 months ago
  • GertyGerty

    Wow! This is incredible. This piece really resonated with me and made me feel so much. I think that it really highlights the issues with teaching things like critical race theory and the like, and illuminates a perspective that is widely felt but not expressed, especially in the aggressive environment that is social media "wokeness". Nobody should feel ashamed of their existence. We need to find constructive ways of talking about oppression that do not isolate groups of people. We need to end the narrative of the oppressed and the oppressor and actually just work collaboratively to find practical solutions to the trauma and inequity that still exists in society. Everyone deserves to be heard. There is one race, and that is the human race.
    That's just my thoughts about it anyway... As I said, amazing work! I think that this is a very honest and important piece of writing. Seriously blown away <3


    about 2 months ago
  • mirkat

    ell blue, i don't know how to begin. first, i'm blown away, literally in the next galaxy over. this is stunning, the flow, the word choice. sometimes i hate my whiteness, too. you have explored this with so much depth... first the character feels devoid of a history, of a background. almost envious. and then there's the subway, society. this: "when does empathy become invalidating?... To go unheard is only fair./ His voice is swallowed, yet he doesn’t feel proud." blue, this is wow i am in awe because this is what it feels like. the last stanza, "he searches for the story/ of his own place, not blameless but, he hopes,/ not solely to blame." this is my favorite few lines by far. it's an apology, an epiphany, and then a promise. he's not blameless, none of us are, but he's not the only one to blame. that is such a true, revolutionary bit. i love this, ell. i don't believe it's offensive in any way, but then again i'm just another white person. i still can't get over this... i'm proud of u, blue. thank you for sharing. <3


    about 2 months ago
  • ✧♬TwinklingLights♬✧

    Hey blue! I’m white too, and I hate it sometimes. Sometimes I really wish I wasn’t. It makes me so disgusted that we’ve discriminated so much against people who simply have different cultures and different color skin tones


    about 2 months ago
  • Writing4Life

    How powerful......I'm white too, and it makes me sick that my opinion can be valued over others. I'm actually writing a very similar piece to this called "i've never been black", and I'm so glad to know that I'm not the only white person who feels this way. Thank you for writing this <3


    about 2 months ago
  • pyrrhic

    obviously this is a very important subject and i’m so glad that you wrote about it! staying quiet about the white privilege that we benifite from only makes it worse. i wish i had something better to say, but i love the writing- it’s fabulous as always. just the way you tell stories through so many different perspectives never ceases to absolutely astonish me and leave me so amazed by the beauty of your latest creation. nahdjwk you’re so talented

    also i’m sorry for being gone, i’ve kinda lost some passion for writing at the moment. i don’t really plan on coming back to wtw just now but that doesn’t mean i’ll never come back. who knows when inspiration strikes, y’know? :) stay writing, friend <3


    about 2 months ago
  • Melancholy Celestial

    My god, I just. I need to come back tomorrow so I can actually comment something. This... Thank you.


    about 2 months ago