White is an illusion

By: Ed Prell

June 30, 2020

The words down below were delivered to me from who knows where and from whom one night last week as I slept, maybe dreamt, and hit me like a ton of bricks. So I took the dictation, added some afterthoughts and wrote it down here because I felt that you might want me to share it.

White Illusion image


One thing that belongs
In history’s dumpster
Is the WHITE ONLY sign
On the up-front drinking fountain
So the “COLORED” were left to search
Somewhere in the back
For their life-giving water.


We are all COLORED.
If you really want proof
Just slice your finger
And observe the RED blood flowing out
With your blue
Or green
Or hazel
Or brown eyes.

WHITE is the color
Of the sun-bleached bones
Of millions of buffalo
On the plains where they fell
Shot by Buffalo Bill Cody
To deprive the REDSKINS
Of their food, clothing and shelter.

And WHITE is the color
Of those hooded sheets
Draped over men brandishing torches
Too cowardly
To show their faces
Or stand alone
As they shut off from a BLACK man
His life-giving oxygen.

And WHITE is the color
Of those jerry-built barracks
Thrown up with haste
Out of war-driven fears
Of a YELLOW peril
To corral Nisei citizen-families
(Some with sons and brothers and cousins and nephews and fathers
Fighting and dying for US in that Pacific war)
And impounded
Their freedom and livelihood.

I’ve wondered out loud, why do I direct my outrage
At those that I share
Ethnicity and citizenship?
Why, with so many atrocities
So heinous
Past and present
To choose from.

In my gut, it stings very much
That these gross misdeeds were done by “my people”
And WHITEWASHED by their beneficiaries.
Too many of my people would do it again
But for the awakening of our critical mass.
I don’t want a culture war;
There’s no purpose
And no time
for animosity.
I want them to merge
With that critical mass
And harness the unrest
To repair and rebuild
Without those illusions
Where my people live.

In my heart, my fondest wish
Is that incoherent unrest
And awakened critical masses
Meet and merge
Without illusion
Where your people live.

It goes back much further in time.
In ancient Greece great philosophers met
To envision perfection, purity, paradise
Where souls,
Cleansed of earthly ambitions and treacherous urges
Sought knowledge, not passion
Of numbers and symbols and geometric figures
With postulates and theorems solved eternally
And of motions and forces, earthly and heavenly
Verified through science’s methodology
Those Greeks were geeks, the first ones in history.
What could be more idyllic?

Those methods and musings lived on and prospered
In tablets and scrolls
By the Xerographic toil of monks in Scriptoria
Later powered by Gutenberg’s presses
Inspiring a new breed with pent-up ambition
Speed reading, “Enlightened”,
Cherry-picking those old notions
And recycling principia for profit and gain
They took to the highway
Like teenagers with the keys to the car
But no concept of the Rules of the Road.

So here we are, twenty-odd generations later
And the scions of those long-ago teenagers
Press the pedal to the metal
And there’s not much road left
Which means there’s not much time left
For the awakened ones to take control
Before it’s too late.

I think those old Greeks meant well
But they failed to consider
That we cannot bifurcate away our viscera from our soul
And we live on a lumpy, juicy, magnetically charged rock and its hovering gasses
That merely resembles a Euclidean ellipsoid
That “circles” around
A sputtering fusion reactor
Tracing an approximately elliptical orbit
4,500.000,000 times and counting.
And we must share that rock with beautiful flora and fauna
From whence we sprang
And whom we need
Incalculably more than they need us.

WHITE’S precious purity
Is only an illusion
Disproved by a prism’s refracted band
Of hot and mild and frigid beauty
And when raindrops refract it
And project Nature’s wondrous sky show:
The rainbow’s multicolored arc.

So, too, none of us are really WHITE
Or chosen by God
Or have supremacy over differently skin-pigmented
Brothers and sisters.
We’re all in this together
Bronze, olive, pink, chocolate, gold skinned
With our kin in the biosphere
On this juicy rock
in its hovering gasses
With which we exchange life’s breath.

-Ed Prell June 29, 2020

Author: Ed Prell

Ed is a prolific writer and one of the original team of Co-Creators of the NRTH Voices blog.

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1 Comment

  1. Peter whitis

    Enjoyable ode, Ed. Thanks for sharing. The “New Republic” is dawning as more of us see what “White” has meant and how to get beyond its limits.


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