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January 23, 2021
Not Equal Enough
we praise equality
to let difference define
to let unsameness separate
to hold them down for not being us
yet equality is elusive
evades our best efforts
it escapes honour’s stage
even as honours peal
equality will never be equal
as long as we continue to say
“They are the first …”
… insert their difference here …
“… to achieve this honour”
and making us sound so condescending
at their very moment of glory
it is sickening
could even be evil
how equal can we be
if we keep dragging their difference
with them to their stage
I was reading about Amanda Gorman this morning, the woman who’s poem “The Hill We Climb” is receiving well deserved and universal accolades, and came across this description of her as a person:
“Gorman is a Black Catholic, a member of St. Brigid Church in her hometown of Los Angeles.”
That she is black and that she is Christian.
Amanda Gorman is at this moment among the world’s more famous people and all that could be said about her is that she is a “Black Catholic”? How equal can we truly be if we continue to draw attention to what might make us different?
Amanda Gorman is a person. She is a woman. She is a poet. She has greater renown than almost everyone talking about her. Her presence made more bright an already brilliant day.
That, and much, much more is what should have been said about her.
The sameness, not the difference.
That which makes us equals.
Not Equal Enough
A poem by Peter Rhebergen
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