Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sing It Loud

I, Too

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"
Then.

Besides,
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--

I, too, am America.

 - Langston Hughes

This week one of my favorite writers, Leonard Pitts, reflected on that poem as he talked about three stories: the plan floated by a Romney Super PAC to revive the Jeremiah Wright story, the resurgence of birthirism in Arizona, and the news from the Census Bureau that - for the first time in the US - non-white babies outnumber white ones.
After all, President Martinez lies in an incubator even as we speak. President Chen has begun to toddle. President Muhammad is being toilet trained. And this idea that some of us are real Americans and some of us are Others is thereby doomed. It will probably not even work in 2012. It will definitely not work in years to come.

The conservatives who are still demanding a birth certificate they’ve already been provided, the ones taking applications for extremely literate African-Americans, the ones operating on bad food, no sleep and a surplus of panic, would be well advised to understand this and adapt accordingly. Their former business model — appeal to the fears, anxieties and resentments of aging white voters — is literally dying.

Meantime, the future is being born, audible in every new baby’s cry. Langston Hughes would have understood that sound for what it is — America, being sung.

1 comment:

  1. And maybe now, we'll have serious language classes in our schools. My Spanish sucks.

    ReplyDelete