Unspoken Mantras of White Liberals Who Avoid Blame and Hemorrhage Guilt

I’m not like that. I would

never be like that even though I

talk to people like that

every day and I don’t say anything

because it makes me

feel awkward.

Can you educate me? Can you be my

teacher/my guide/my

fucking moral compass? Can I

milk your pain and be a voyeur

in trauma not

my own with wide unblinking


Those other white

people are the problem. The

ones who spit and swing and

burn while I avert my


I’m only laughing

because you make me uncomfortable. I am uncomfortable

with this. I am uncomfortable when your voice

is louder and harsher than I

expect it to be. I am uncomfortable when

I am not showered with praise like

confetti for the

bare minimum.

I read a clickbait article about privilege so you’re lucky to have me.

And aren’t you grateful? Aren’t things good

enough? Things could be worse, you know. I could be

worse. Everything is just

getting better, you’ll see

[I think you’re being sensitive. Don’t let it

                                                                      bother you. ]



                                       Why aren’t you impressed when I

cringe at all the right parts?

I can’t see colour not as it drapes

itself around your shoulders

and bristles in my


I can be the mouthpiece you never asked for.


My other friend said it was okay. My other

friend nods/my other friend doesn’t carry bitterness

like a sandbag straining

at the middle.


Can you give me a checklist

so I know

I’m a good white person. I know

I am I know I am I know I

am I know I am I

know I am.

Charlotte Zhang is an aspiring filmmaker and artist from Vancouver Island and the product of Chinese immigrants. Her body of work mainly deals with race, sexuality, and identity. She is a recent high school graduate who will be attending California Institute of the Arts in the fall. Originally published in Poetry Is Dead

3 thoughts on “Unspoken Mantras of White Liberals Who Avoid Blame and Hemorrhage Guilt

    • Day Sibley says:

      Honestly, what happened in Charlotte yesterday I wouldn’t have any words either. Especially for those who tried to defend them, or explain their violent actions.


      • sidraowens says:

        I’m still trying to understand this attack on white people that they always use as a reason for their hatred. They don’t need advocacy groups to defend them. They’re the majority, and they always have been. Calling shot and dictating live like so many puppet masters; but when anyone of color has the audacity to try to make them accountable and point out the wrongs that need to be righted; then they are under attack. It pisses me off.


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