Kate Rushin, Black Women as "The Bridge"

Kate Rushin, Black Women as "The Bridge"

Saw this poem yesterday and thought it was really relevant following last Tuesday's election in Alabama.  Victory for Doug Jones was largely won by black women (98% voted for Doug Jones, as compared with 34% of white women).  "The Bridge Poem" is the introductory text in "This Bridge Called My Back: Writings By Radical Women of Color."  Here's a quote by HuffPost writer Julia Craven to introduce it.  

β€œIn Hollywood, as in politics, the Magical Negro is a virtuous black character who serves to better the lives of white people via seemingly supernatural means and asks nothing for herself. She is frequently praised for what she has done for white folks, praised for her saintly equanimity and selflessness, and too little acknowledged for all the things - the wiles, the grit, the grinding, thankless work - that went into securing the happy outcome.”
— -Julia Craven, HuffPost, December 2017

The Bridge Poem

Kate Rushin (1981)

I've had enough
I'm sick of seeing and touching
Both sides of things
Sick of being the damn bridge for everybody

Can talk to anybody
Without me Right?

I explain my mother to my father my father to my little sister
My little sister to my brother my brother to the white feminists
The white feminists to the Black church folks the Black church folks
To the Ex-hippies the ex-hippies to the Black separatists the
Black separatists to the artists the artists to my friends' parents...

I've got the explain myself
To everybody

I do more translating
Than the Gawdamn U.N.

Forget it
I'm sick of it

I'm sick of filling in your gaps

Sick of being your insurance against
The isolation of your self-imposed limitations
Sick of being the crazy at your holiday dinners
Sick of being the odd one at your Sunday Brunches
Sick of being the sole Black friend to 34 individual white people

Find another connection to the rest of the world
Find something else to make you legitimate
Find some other way to be political and hip

I will not be the bridge to your womanhood
Your manhood
Your human-ness

I'm sick of reminding you not to
Close off too tight for too long

I'm sick of mediating with your worst self
On behalf you your better selves

I am sick
Of having to remind you
To breathe
Before you suffocate
Your own fool self

Forget it
Stretch or drown
Evolve or die

The bridge I must be
Is the bridge to my own power
I must translate
My own fears
My own weaknesses

I must be the bridge to nowhere
But my true self
And then
I will be useful

    -from This Bridge Called My Back 
     edited by: Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua 

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