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Lord, please help me because you know that I’m so white,
I have this great big house and degrees that say I’m bright,
An elite social standing and a high-paying job,
All my friends at church….. they call me “Brother Bob!”

I can’t seem to understand or find a reason to care,
About all the people, their pain and despair,
Many of them are Black and Hispanic….. a few of them are not,
But I guess I just don’t take the time to stop and give it a second thought.

I look at the world and wonder what it’s coming to,
People yelling, screaming and cursing at me and you,
It doesn’t seem to make any sense and I can’t figure out why,
So many people hate and despise us….. sometimes even wanting us to die.

We tell them not to get so upset, to just settle down and smile,
You know that “Rome wasn’t built in a day”….. it takes a little while,
We’ll do what we can….. just don’t get so mad,
Just because of our racial slurs and off-color jokes….. we’re not really all that bad.

And then they’re always attributing their problems to race,
Always trying to excuse their behavior solely because of the color of their face,
Their poverty, their unemployment, and their pain….. and the reason is always the same,
It should be quite obvious that they themselves are to blame.

Then one day as the anguish began to rise,
Surely, to anyone who was sane, it should not have been a surprise,
Rage-induced frustration exploded into flame,
Right then and there…..forcing The White Man to face his part of the blame!

So….. after all these years of slavery and oppression,
The white man’s cruelty….. his mean-spirited aggression,
Is there enough evidence to put us on trial,
Because of our insensitivity and flagrant denial?

Why are we always judging the other man?
Wouldn’t it be better to first consider the imperfections of those of our own clan?
To consider our own iniquity and sin?
Wouldn’t that be a much more healing place to begin?

Shouldn’t we let those of another color judge their own kind?
Freeing us to do the same….. to see what we might find?
This would lead us away from conflict and strife,
And back toward each other….. a much more decent way of life.

It was then that I began to listen….. it was then that I first heard,
Through my conscience….. God gave me The Word,
What if they were me and I had suffered for so long---- while not free?
How would I feel if they had no empathy….. no feelings of concern for me?

What if I had been the one beaten, bruised and despised?
One of those living in a society where prejudice and discrimination has become institutionalized?
What if I could not get a good job because I was different….. because I was Black?
And my children had to suffer the painful indignity of such an unjust economic lack?

The chilling truth then became clear,
My life had been filled with blind hate and fear,
I had been the one to crucify My Savior,
Because of my own malicious and spiteful behavior.

So let us begin to love one another,
And discover the truth that we are, in fact, each other’s brother,
Let us realize that God is love and that He lives for you and me,
But not until we learn to have this kind of love for each other will we all be free.

The promise of a better world to come is a wonderful thing to hear,
This earth could be filled with compassion, rather than hate and fear,
But if we fail to respond….. if we choose not to care,
The future of an entire generation may become a fiery nightmare.

Like lava just below the surface waiting to explode,
Tensions have been building and are ready to unload,
If we do nothing….. have no thing to say,
This world will surely continue on in such a malicious way.

Time is of great essence, a decision must be made,
For the destiny of an entire nation may be determined this very decade,
Let us choose to love and respond to God’s grace,
For this is the fundamental solution to the problems of the human race.


------
G. Doug Soderstrom, Ph.D.


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Comments

The following comments are for "The Confessions of a White Man"
by dougsoderstrom

Confessions of a white man
WOW, this was some heavy duty stuff. At first I thought it was meant to be funny, which I was not finding it to be, but I kept reading to see where you were going with this. Not disappointed. Strong thoughts, glad you penned them to paper.

Nae

( Posted by: nae411 [Member] On: February 5, 2005 )

Best yet
Dear Doug

This has to be your best yet,since it comes straight from your heart.

While reading through it ,i kept sensing echoes of Kipling's 'Recessional' -one of the greatest ever and specifically the lines:

"Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget -- lest we forget!
The tumult and the shouting dies --
The Captains and the Kings depart .....

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget -- lest we forget!

...If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe --
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law --
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget -- lest we forget!..."

Best Wishes

( Posted by: RJKT [Member] On: February 6, 2005 )

THANK YOU AGAIN!
nae411..... thanks for your very sweet compliments..... such means a great deal to me!

And RJKT.... your having compared my piece to Kipling is like your "having feed manna to my soul!!!" And by the way, I did write your friend in San Antonio, but have, as yet, not heard back from him...... perhaps he'll respond later. But thanks for allowing me to contact him.

Your friend,

Doug

( Posted by: dougsoderstrom [Member] On: February 6, 2005 )

You're welcome Doug
Dear Doug

That is exactly how i felt while reading your poem.I can't help wondering that had more people read 'Recessional' the nation may not have so readily got embroiled in the Iraq impasse..with many more voices raised in warning...the 'rooineks 'notwithstanding.

Incidentally Kipling was born in Bombay where his father was in the employ of an Indian magnate. Years later when he passed away , his first cousin , Stanley Baldwin ,the then Prime Minister of GB, mentionned it during his meeting with the king. It seems he could not resist rounding it off with the remark : that it was likely that the king may never have heard of Kipling -much less read any of his work.

One suspects that this remark may well be equally valid today when applied to those at the very top of the pile.

I'm glad you mailed Dr. Verghese.Here's hoping something comes of it.

Best Wishes

( Posted by: RJKT [Member] On: February 6, 2005 )

Confessions...
Dear Doug, You Sir, have a true loving heart, it's obvious in your exceptional display and visual in your words. These things you convey
I pray reach many souls. I believe and yes Sir,
there is much I can learn from your artful words.
Thank you, again gratefully...Robin

( Posted by: Robinbird [Member] On: February 7, 2005 )

Loving It!
This was heavy duty stuff like Nae had stated. And it is true. I really found this to be an interesting read. Personally, I do not believe that there's anything that you could change to make it even better (but that's me saying it when I have to be aware of where my teacher is).

This was very good. I liked it.

-James

( Posted by: Searching4Ever [Member] On: February 7, 2005 )

RJKT
Thank you, Doug

( Posted by: dougsoderstrom [Member] On: February 7, 2005 )

Robinbird
You are so kind.... thank you so very much.... I hope that I can live up to your expectations.

Doug

( Posted by: dougsoderstrom [Member] On: February 7, 2005 )

Seraching4Ever
Thank you very much!

Your friend,

Doug

( Posted by: dougsoderstrom [Member] On: February 7, 2005 )

Doug a minute please
Dear Doug

Just to tell you i went through all your pieces here and can't tell you how impressed i was.

I've just posted a small collection here called "The Elephant and the Gnat" . Would love it if you could go through these.

Best Wishes

( Posted by: RJKT [Member] On: February 12, 2005 )

RJKT
Well, thank you so very much for your fine compliment. I'm flattered!

And, yes I am honored that you are asking that I take a look at your collection, The Elephant and the Gnat. I will try to do that sometime later today. Talk with you later.

Your friend,

Doug

( Posted by: dougsoderstrom [Member] On: February 13, 2005 )





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