How We Treat Different Refugees Exposes Our Racist Tendencies

by on March 23, 2022 · 4 comments

in Civil Rights, From the Soul, San Diego

by Ernie McCray

I see
displaced groups of refugees
seeking asylum in
the Land of the Free.

One group hails from Ukraine.
The other from Haiti.
The Ukrainians are
running frantically
from the ravages of war,
bombings and such,
into our country’s open arms,
with talk of moving with greater speed
to offer them more security,
a wonderful thing to do, indeed.

On the other hand, however,
Haitians, a little while ago,
were in desperate need
for a little love
as many of them were made homeless
by fierce torrential winds
and a magnitude 7.2 earthquake,
their lives at stake
if they couldn’t escape
what was left in the wake
of such heartbreak:
roving gangs and political
and social instability
that made them fear for their lives constantly,

But America turned its back
to these endangered refugees’
chasing them down
and barricading
them from where they hopelessly
wished to be,
returning them to Haiti
to fend for themselves in some way.

So, here we are, America,
in the same old rut,
unable to get away
from treating human beings in different ways
based on the color of their skin.

Racism remains
our nation’s
greatest sin.

We must find ways
to bring it to an end.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Theresa Pi neda March 23, 2022 at 4:16 pm

Thank you for so eloquently presenting thoughts that have been jumbled in my head for weeks.


Shirley Sprinkles, Ph.D March 23, 2022 at 8:51 pm

My “lying eyes” have seen this same stark disparity play out at our southern border: Haitians, Mexicans, Guatemalans, Salvadorans—all dark-skinned human beings begging to be let in. Love is not blind down there; it’s response is crystal clear; “ black, get back!” The double standard cannot be denied.

I feel sad that my country, with all its might, must stand fecklessly aside while innocent Ukrainian people are wantonly killed; their cities pillaged. Refugees, like these, fleeing unbearable circumstances, have long forged their way to our shores, but have not been welcomed here like the fair- skinned ones from across the world. I was taught that charity “begins at home and spreads abroad.” We needn’t shield our eyes from the contrast we can plainly see if only we look!


Isaac Artenstein March 24, 2022 at 11:19 am

Agreed!! And while we’re at it we must end the endless cycle of wars we as a country are directly or indirectly involved in. What happened to the much touted “Peace Dividend” after the fall of the Soviet Union.


Thomas Gayton March 24, 2022 at 8:42 pm

Your poem reveals the legacy of slavery survives.


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