To Juror B37 in the Zimmerman Trial (on the anniversary)

To say you don’t see color
is not a compliment
it’s an insult

To say you don’t see race
doesn’t make you non-racist
it makes you the most dangerous kind –
an ignorant, well-meaning one
who lies

To say that you don’t see my color
implies you see it
shameful
something polite people ignore, like
I don’t see the huge scar on your face, or
I didn’t notice your deformed hand, or
I didn’t realize you were walking on prosthetics
I see you as fully human and capable
despite your obvious defects

You offer comfort
as if to relieve me of embarrassment
making me equal to superior you, but
you’re the one who’s uncomfortable
I don’t lack wholeness
you’re the one who’s empty

My color is not a scar
deformation
nor handicap
I don’t say so to convince myself
to overcome any odds but
because I really mean it
because you are the one who make it
a deforming handicap
by the way you treat me
still

Would you tell another woman
you didn’t notice her cute haircut or
fabulous pair of new shoes?
So why do you say you don’t see
my color?
Something I pride and celebrate?

The worst part is
you patronize me
trying to make me feel better for something
you imagine
which shows
you haven’t been listening

You haven’t been listening for 45 years

I haven’t been asking you not to see my color
I’ve been asking you to see ME
in all my black and brown glory
I’ve been asking you to see all my humanity
which is my color
and more

Stop trying to make me feel less
by telling me a lie
that you don’t see color ‘cuz

if that were true
you wouldn’t have to say
you don’t see color.

© S. Rinderle, 7/22/13

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