Multiculturalism? Well and good. But don't stop there!
us down in the ’hood? How
is that an end? Just
like you did back in the day,
you say you care.
You provide opportunity for us
to fete our films, our food, to parade
our style, flair, our dance and ethnic hair.
Like back in the Harlem Renaissance
or, not too long ago,
when we wore dashiki
and ’fro. Yeah, it’s all good
for any generation.
Even so, it’s no substitute for
determination. Thought we learned
it ain’t nothin’ but a means
to an end, an amends, interlude. Other-
wise we are left behind
without institutional power
or our own authority, with
only our color-
ful neo-Negritude, Latinotude,
and an ongoin’ attitude!!
Reprinted with permission from Encounters: Poems about Race, Ethnicity, and Identity, edited by Paula Cole Jones (Skinner House, 2011). © 2002 Everett Hoagland.
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Everett Hoagland is emeritus professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and was the first poet laureate of New Bedford, Massachusetts (1994–1998). He is a member of First Unitarian Church in New Bedford.
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The first time, I emerged merely breathless, wet, and cold.
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