I offer this to you
By all appearances, I am a 55 year old white male
Showing my age but still spry
Willing to look through mind windows
Without rose colored glasses
And to evaluate my speak in the mirror
Shadow reflection on a distorted life.
I am a man of complex logic
But a child in matters of the heart
Beaten out of me before 12 years passing
Listening but blind to what I do not want to see
Afforded privileges of a class attributed to me.
Fixated on doing perceived right
Wondering what the new rules are
And why the rules change to suit my whiteness
Aware of all there is for me
Privileges ascribed to my white side.
I am a white man; received all
The trappings accorded to my social rank
But the unseen part of me is Comanche
Silent, buried for ages, quietly seething
At the plight of my brothers
Knowing full well I have not done my part.
I will no longer go quietly into that
Cold dark night
I will not let you tell me what I should believe
What I should say
And that what I am doesn’t matter.
I will not let you give me hollow
Affirmation of an idealized Indian
Nor play your white Tonto
I will not let you take from me what
You believe to be yours.
You will have to earn the trust of the red man
For what we have given and you have taken
What was never yours to begin with
I see you, my white self, for what
You really are and I say no more.
I do not want what the white man has
I do not want what the white man is
I do not want the white man to walk
In my head with his dirty shoes
I want to leave my body and soul
For I have tried to make peace with
You my white side.
The white man inside me has
Pushed me down, down, down
Inside of me
So far down that red became white
And to be white became easy.
I do not want your endless promises
I do not want what you think is right
I want what is me back.
You may see me as white
You may see me as white in your mind
But I am Comanche
Lord of the plains
Keeper of the People.
Tim Bess, 2005
I wrote this during an intense seven day workshop. It reflects my continued struggle of growing up white but knowing that I have a side of me that is Comanche.