Tuesday, October 04, 2011

A Repost of Suheir Hammad's Exotic

Here's a repost of Ms. Hammad's Exotic:

Suheir Hammad's Exotic

This poem is my favorite. This one really touched many women of color as we all face everyday sexualized racism, whether from family, work, school, the general public, and the ever-present mass media in one form or another.


by suheir hammad

don't wanna be your exotic

some delicate fragile colorful bird

imprisoned caged

in a land foreign to the stretch of her wings

don't wanna be your exotic

women everywhere are just like me

some taller darker nicer than me

but like me but just the same

women everywhere carry my nose on their faces

my name on their spirits

don't wanna

don't seduce yourself with

my otherness my hair

wasn't put on top of my head to entice

you into some mysterious black voodoo

the beat of my lashes against each other

ain't some dark desert beat

it's just a blink

get over it

don't wanna be your exotic

your lovin of my beauty ain't more than

funky fornication plain pink perversion

in fact nasty necrophilia

cause my beauty is dead to you

I am dead to you

not your

harem girl geisha doll banana picker

pom pom girl pum pum shorts coffee maker

town whore belly dancer private dancer

la malinche venus hottentot laundry girl

your immaculate vessel emasculating princess

don't wanna be

your erotic

not your exotic

Here's her video of Suheir's "Exotic" at Youtube:

Ms. Hammad's poem is still relevant today.  As you see from the photos, past and present, women of color are still fetishized and exoticized in mainstream popular culture, media, and politics.  The images comes from various Disney films, pop music videos, and paintings from the 19th century onwards.  They show the various ways women of Color are portrayed in film and in culture in general.  Those images do have a big impact on how people view us, whether they give us respect or contempt.  Love, or lust/fetish that has to be hidden from public view.  Public policies whether to help women of Color or to marginalize, as in debates on immigration, feminism, etc.
What are your thoughts about the poem and the views it expressed?


Julian Real said...

I think this is a tremendously powerful poem, expressing so much that men and whites need to hear and comprehend to the depths of our souls and societies.

La Reyna said...

Julian Real,

Thank you so much for commenting. Men and whites do need to hear what people of Color has to say in regards to how the world views and treats you. Unfortunately, those men and whites dismiss anything that is not to their experience more often than not.

Suheir Hammad's poetry needs to be spread to all peoples throughout the world so people can make constructive change in the white male supremacist society.

La Reyna


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