Latin America’s Anti-drug Policies Feed on the Poor

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Latin America’s Anti-drug Policies Feed on the Poor

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Diego Arguedas Ortiz, Inter Press Service

Rosa Julia Leyva, to the left, with other participants in the Drugs and Social Inclusion panel at the Fifth Latin American Conference on Drug Policies, held in San José, Costa Rica. She spent 12 years in prison for smuggling a small stash of heroin in a bag that a friend gave her to carry. (Photo: Diego Arguedas Ortiz/IPS)

Poor young men, slumdwellers and single mothers are hurt the most by anti-drug policies in Latin America, according to representatives of governments, social organisations and multilateral bodies meeting at the Fifth Latin American Conference on Drug Policies.

During the Sept. 3-4 conference held in San José, Costa Rica, activists, experts and decision-makers from throughout the region demanded reforms of these policies, to ease the pressure on vulnerable groups and shift the focus of law enforcement measures to those who benefit the most from the drug trade.

Today things are backwards – the focus is on “the small fish” rather than “the big fish”, Paul Simons, the executive secretary of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), told IPS.

The proposals set forth during the meeting recommended an overhaul of the legal systems in Latin America, to reduce incarceration and establish sentences proportionate to minor crimes. The participants argued that laws and the justice systems should focus on cracking down on the big interests involved in drug trafficking.

They also recommended that amounts for legal personal possession should be established, along with measures such as the decriminalisation of some drugs or the creation of markets controlled by the state, along the lines of what Uruguay is doing in the case of marijuana.

The current policies give rise to cases like that of Rosa Julia Leyva, an indigenous Mexican woman who now works in the Mexican interior ministry’s National Commission on Security.

Leyva was imprisoned in 1993 for carrying a woven bag with a small package of heroin, which was given to her by a friend who paid her plane ticket in exchange for help with her baggage. It was the first time she had ever left the Petatlán mountains in the southwest state of Guerrero. Until her arrest, she told IPS, she thought she was carrying money or clothes.

At the time, she was the prototype of the women who are constantly thrown into Latin American prisons for drug smuggling: an illiterate 29-year-old, the mother of a five-year-old daughter, sentenced to a quarter century in prison for possession of heroin.

The Organisation of American States (OAS) reports that 70 percent of the female prison population in the region was incarcerated for drug possession.

“I’m just a poor woman who went through something very difficult,” Leyva says. “I had nothing to do with drugs and I never could have imagined that they would give me 25 years for drug trafficking. They made out like I was a big drug smuggler and I didn’t even speak Spanish.”

“I think the law should be more specific in these things,” said Leyva, who also makes crafts. She managed to get her sentence reduced to 13 years, of which she served just over 12. Now she gives theatre classes in Mexican prisons.

In the world’s most unequal region, the prisons are packed full of poor people, while white collar criminals are much less likely to be brought to justice, said experts participating in the “Drugs and Social Inclusion” panel during the conference.

This imbalance and overcrowding of the prisons could change, they said, if the courts and prison systems made the effort.

“We want to see who is brought before the courts, and look into options for people who are not violent and who have committed minor crimes, as consumers, drug mules [who smuggle small quantities] or people who committed the crime to feed themselves and their families,” Simons told IPS.

“They are the small fish, like bus drivers or mules, who smuggle small quantities without any violence in a region full of contrasts,” said the head of CICAD, which forms part of the OAS. “We want to see if there is a way for these people not to be caught up in the prison cycle.”

In a region where 10 of the most unequal countries in the world are located, “drug policies must be reformulated,” said Yoriko Yasukawa, resident coordinator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Costa Rica.

The proportionality of sentences in cases like Leyva’s was a recurrent theme among the experts, who called for a “more just” legal system in line with the real damage caused by people convicted of drug-related crimes.

“Sometimes the punishment is comparable to the penalties for homicide or other serious crimes,” Argentine social worker Graciela Touzé told IPS.

“It is not similar to the damage caused, and the punishment can’t be similar either, although that does not mean that they shouldn’t be held accountable,” added the president of the Intercambios Asociación Civil, an organisation based in Buenos Aires.

Social cost

During the regional conference, speakers were adamant in their criticism of the social costs of repressive anti-drug policies.

Costa Rica’s minister of public security, Celso Gamboa, explained that the people arrested in his country in the first eight months of 2014 included fishermen, flight attendants and drivers who were drawn into drug smuggling by poverty.

“The blows to drug trafficking structures have focused on the most vulnerable parts, which leads us to conclude that much of the fight against drugs in Costa Rica and the rest of Latin America fuels the criminalisation of poverty,” he said.

“The question is: where are the investigations enabling us to reach the white collar structures and those who hold the real power?” said Gamboa, a former prosecutor from the Caribbean province of Limón, where he was involved in hundreds of drug trafficking cases.

Above and beyond the complicated situation in the prisons, civil society organisations insisted that anti-drug policies are marked by inequality. For that reason, activists said, drug consumers and young people are punished more harshly.

But the different proposals for redressing the imbalance sometimes clash.

Gamboa believes in tackling the drug problem with an economics-based approach that goes after the big fish who hold the real money, while Zara Snapp, of the Mexican Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, says the best way to reduce the number of civilian victims of the drug trade is by creating a market in Mexico regulated by the state.

“The inequality does not mean that there isn’t a lot that we can do, because we still have many resources, it’s just that we channel them into the militarisation of the struggle and into law enforcement, rather than towards creating opportunities for the vulnerable populations,” the Mexican activist, who also forms part of the non-governmental Mexican Commission for the Promotion of Human Right, told IPS.

“The only thing that approach does is to create fertile ground for recruitment by organised crime,” she said.

It is poor young men and women who pay the cost. According to the OAS, the prevalence of consumption of “pasta base” or cocaine paste is 1.8 percent overall, but 8.0 percent among young people in poverty.

The stigma surrounding the use of pasta base accentuates their marginalisation and further limits their opportunities, according to the Report on the Drug Problem in the Americas.

Edited by Estrella Gutiérrez/Translated by Stephanie Wildes

Citing Failed War on Drugs, World Leaders Call for Widespread Decriminalization

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Citing Failed War on Drugs, World Leaders Call for Widespread Decriminalization

Global commission condemns “harsh measures grounded in repressive ideologies”

(Photo: M.A. Cabrera Luengo)

In the face of a failed War on Drugs, a global commission composed mostly of former world leaders recommended on Tuesday that governments decriminalize and regulate the use of currently illicit drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and psychedelics.

"The international drug regime is broken," reads the report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy, whose members include former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan; former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz; former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and former high commissioner for human rights at the UN Louise Arbour; and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, as well as the former presidents of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Portugal.  “[O]verwhelming evidence points to not just the failure of the regime to attain its stated goals but also the horrific unintended consequences of punitive and prohibitionist laws and policies.” 

"There’s no question now that the genie of reform has escaped the prohibitionist bottle."
—Ethan Nadelmann, Drug Policy Alliance

Punitive drug law enforcement has done nothing to decrease global drug use, the Commission says in “Taking Control: Pathways to Drug Policies that Work" (pdf). Instead, such policies have fueled crime, maximized health risks, undermined human rights, and fostered discrimination — all while wasting tens of billions of dollars.

In place of these “harsh measures grounded in repressive ideologies,” the commission recommends that world governments:

  • Shift their focus from enforcement to prevention and harm reduction;
  • Ensure equitable and affordable access to “essential medicines” like opiate-based pain medications; 
  • Stop criminalizing people for drug use and possession;
  • Rely on alternatives to incarceration for non-violent, low-level participants in illicit drug markets such as farmers and couriers;
  • Look for alternatives to militarized anti-drug efforts when going after organized crime groups;
  • "Allow and encourage diverse experiments in legally regulating markets in currently illicit drugs, beginning with but not limited to cannabis, coca leaf and certain novel psychoactive substances;"
  • Use the upcoming major review of drug policies by the UN General Assembly, scheduled for 2016, as an opportunity to open debate on true reform.

Implementing such reforms “is necessary because global drug prohibition, the dominant paradigm in the last 40 years, has not only failed in achieving its original stated objectives, which was to reduce drug consumption and improve health worldwide, but it has, in fact, generated a lot of harm, including an AIDS and hepatitis epidemic among people who use drugs and social violence and infiltration of democracies with narco-traffickers and the birth of a few narco-states in the world,” commission member Michel Kazatchkine, UN Secretary General Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said in an interview with The World Today's Eleanor Hall.

He continued:

We’re promoting a model similar to let’s say what exists with tobacco. That is, put government in control: in control of who produces the drug, of the quality of the drug, on how and where it is sold, to whom it is sold — for example, forbid it to people less than let’s say 18 years old or whatever.

Take back control of that market and therefore reduce, not only the violence, but also reduce the health and social harms that the current international regime has generated.

Experts called the report groundbreaking. In a statement, Drug Policy Alliance Executive Director Ethan Nadelmann said, “The import of the Commission’s report lies in both the distinction of its members and the boldness of their recommendations. The former presidents and other Commission members pull no punches in insisting that national and global drug control policies reject the failed prohibitionist policies of the 20th century in favor of new policies grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights. There’s no question now that the genie of reform has escaped the prohibitionist bottle.”

In its report, the Commission acknowledges that reshaping the global discussion on drugs will be a challenge:

The obstacles to drug policy reform are both daunting and diverse. Powerful and established drug control bureaucracies, both national and international, staunchly defend status quo policies. They seldom question whether their involvement and tactics in enforcing drug policy are doing more harm than good. Meanwhile, there is often a tendency to sensationalize each new “drug scare” in the media. And politicians regularly subscribe to the appealing rhetoric of “zero tolerance” and creating “drug free” societies rather than pursuing an informed approach based on evidence of what works. Popular associations of illicit drugs with ethnic and racial minorities stir fear and inspire harsh legislation. And enlightened reform advocates are routinely attacked as “soft on crime” or even “pro-drug.”

But the 2016 UN General Assembly Special Session — and the time between now and then — is seen as an opportunity to overthrow that status quo. Several Latin American leaders, including Colombia’s Juan Manuel Santos and Guatemala’s Otto Perez Molina, have already called for a paradigm shift on international drug policy. 

"2016 will be the beginning of years, perhaps decades, of debate on new drug conventions," Arbour said at the New York press conference marking the report’s release. The conversation was already beginning on Tuesday, under the Twitter hashtag #ControlDrugs.

Dubbed terrorists, Mayans fight back against Guatemalan mining projects

The road between the Guatemalan towns of San Miguel Ixtahuacán and Quetzaltenango is guarded by a dozen thin, young, Mayan men in baseball caps and hooded sweatshirts, who mill around a truck parked across the road. “If you are from the mine,” the ringleader says, “you can’t come through.”

A mile or so away, the land falls away into a dust bowl, picked at by heavy machinery – the Marlin gold mine. All along the road, orange cliffs have collapsed onto the tarmac and the air is heavy with the stink of burnt clutches from the trucks that labour up the slope through the mountains, around 50km from Guatemala’s border with Mexico. The volcanic peaks are swaddled in gunsmoke drifts of cloud and patrolled by vultures; scattered settlements of adobe houses overlook a deep green patchwork of maize and coffee fields laid out across the ghosts of old Mayan terraces.

The Mayan Mam village of Agel hangs precariously over the edge of the pit. Crisanta Pérez’s house on the edge of the settlement clings to a steep slope that runs down to a long, turquoise tailings pond.

An intense, soft-spoken woman, “Doña Crisanta” is the figurehead of a peaceful resistance in San Miguel Ixtahuacán that has formed to protest the mine’s continued presence. Dubbed terrorists and enemies of progress by the state, the Frente de Defensa Miguelense is one of several Mayan-led protest groups across Guatemala that are facing down assassinations, detention and intimidation to stop their land becoming part of a continent-wide rush for resources.

“My family and I have been intimidated and criminalised,” Pérez says. “But I won’t give up. Who is going to do it, if not me?”

Pérez and her fellow community leaders say that the Marlin mine has contaminated the water sources that they use to wash and irrigate their crops and that the subterranean explosions have caused houses to collapse – charges that the mine’s owners, the Canadian firm Goldcorp, deny. Newsweek was shown evidence of skin conditions and severe neurological diseases that local health workers believe are the result of heavy metal poisoning, but, without independent medical assessment, their claims are hard to verify.

For the majority, the economic opportunities that the mine promised never materialised. Many, like the men manning the roadblock, sold their land and bought trucks, hoping to haul for the mine – their vehicles, daubed with religious icons, sit idle by the road. The Mayans’ anger goes deeper than individual grievances, however. The Mam, one of several Mayan nations in Guatemala, make up the majority in San Marcos. They number around 650,000 in the western highlands. On the other side of the mine, another nation, the Sipakapa, are also actively resisting the development. Both groups say that they were never consulted before work began on the pit, that their land was simply taken by a central government that does not represent them. This, they say, marks the continuation of centuries of marginalisation and discrimination – what rights they have won have proved secondary to the demands of commerce.

The Mam and Sipakapa see the mine, the government and private security firms as one entity that work together against them. “They have created a social monopoly. The mine comes to divide us, it causes conflict, psychological trauma, social repression,” says Rolando Cruz, a leader of the Movimiento de Resistencia Sipakapense, a resistance group in nearby San Isídro. “And they did not consult us.”

Téodora Hernandez was shot in the head and left blind in one eye by two men who came to ask her why she would not let a road pass through her land. Francisco Javier Hernandez Peréz, a leading voice opposing the development, was doused in petrol and set alight in 2011 by hooded men who identified themselves as supporters of the mine. His wife, Victoría Yóc, witnessed the attack; her neighbours heard her screaming across the mountains. Others have stories of near misses: Miguel Angél Bámaca, a health worker who has documented cases of suspected poisoning, was shot at in his home.The Mayans’ response has been escalating levels of protest and direct action. They have blocked roads, seized mine equipment and led demonstrations against company activities. Their campaign has been met with startling levels of violence.

Often, the violence is perpetrated by members of their own communities. The limited opportunities that the mine offers have created a powerful incentive for the few beneficiaries – Cruz calls them “traitors” – to crack down on dissent. The brutality has only hardened the resistance’s resolve.

“I’m never going to shut up,” says Victor Vicente Pérez, a Mam community leader. “I know I have the right to speak the truth … The [mineworkers] have tried to intimidate me with rumours that one day soon I’ll disappear, but I know I’m fighting for my rights and I’m willing to die for that.”

Marlin is one of over 100 metal mines currently operating in Guatemala. There are close to 350 active licences for exploration or production, with nearly 600 pending as the government, supported by the international financial institutions, promotes the sector as a way to raise revenues. Only 2% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is based on mining, and the government hopes that the sector may offer a chance at rapid economic growth. Around 75% of the population lives below the poverty line. Infant and child mortality rates are high, and around 50% of children are malnourished.

Full article

Photos: Doña Crisanta & Mayan People’s Council on strike in solidarity with Mayans resisting mining in Guatemala

(Source: thepeoplesrecord, via anarcho-queer)

Tags: mining mam maya

america-wakiewakie:

A group of warriors from Brazil’s indigenous Ka’apor tribe tracked down illegal loggers in the Amazon, tied them up, stripped them and beat them with sticks.

Photographer Lunae Parracho followed the Ka’apor warriors during their jungle expedition to search for and expel illegal loggers from the Alto Turiacu Indian territory in the Amazon basin.

Tired of what they say is a lack of sufficient government assistance in keeping loggers off their land, the Ka’apor people, who along with four other tribes are the legal inhabitants and caretakers of the territory, have sent their warriors out to expel all loggers they find and set up monitoring camps.

Last year, the Brazilian government said that annual destruction of its Amazon rain forest jumped by 28 percent after four straight years of decline. Based on satellite images, it estimated that 5,843 square kilometres of rain forest were felled in the one-year period ending July 2013.

The Amazon rain forest is considered one of the world’s most important natural defences against global warming because of its capacity to absorb huge amounts of carbon dioxide. Rain forest clearing is responsible for about 75 percent of Brazil’s emissions, as vegetation is burned and felled trees rot. Such activity releases an estimated 400 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year, making Brazil at least the sixth-biggest emitter of carbon dioxide gas.

(Photo Credit: Lunae Parracho/Reuters)

(via mexicatiahui)

hipsterlibertarian:

Another week, another galling report of police brutality.
This time, the victim is an 8-year-old Rosebud Sioux girl whose babysitter called the cops when the child threw a tantrum while holding a paring knife. The babysitter told the 911 dispatcher that the girl was trying to cut herself but also admitted there was no visible blood. In other words, this was more a case of an unprepared babysitter than a suicidal kid.
Nevertheless, police arrived and tased the girl within two minutes of meeting her. Explains the family’s attorney:

The material facts are fairly undisputed, they walked in, they saw a child holding a small kitchen knife throwing a tantrum and they shot her with 50,000 volts of electricity with a weapon that put two hooks into her.

As the girl’s grandmother commented, the way police escalated the situation is totally inexcusable: 

Four police officers responded to this…To a little girl who stands maybe only 4 feet tall. All you have to do is grab her arm and correct the situation. I feel that these guys must not have been in their right minds. At that age, children are very easily talked into changing their minds. I find it ridiculous because I just don’t see how this could happen.

Only after the tasering was the child’s mother called—a move which indicates they had (or could easily have gotten) her number all along.
Per the grandmother’s account, the police’s continued defense of their actions included the excuse that they could have used a baton or handgun instead.
Two months after the incident, which occurred last year but is only just now receiving extensive media attention, the local State’s Attorney, one Wendy Kloeppner, released a report which stated “she was satisfied with an independent investigation, deploying a taser was the best viable way to diffuse the situation.” As a result, no charges were filed against the officers involved.

hipsterlibertarian:

Another week, another galling report of police brutality.

This time, the victim is an 8-year-old Rosebud Sioux girl whose babysitter called the cops when the child threw a tantrum while holding a paring knife. The babysitter told the 911 dispatcher that the girl was trying to cut herself but also admitted there was no visible blood. In other words, this was more a case of an unprepared babysitter than a suicidal kid.

Nevertheless, police arrived and tased the girl within two minutes of meeting her. Explains the family’s attorney:

The material facts are fairly undisputed, they walked in, they saw a child holding a small kitchen knife throwing a tantrum and they shot her with 50,000 volts of electricity with a weapon that put two hooks into her.

As the girl’s grandmother commented, the way police escalated the situation is totally inexcusable: 

Four police officers responded to this…To a little girl who stands maybe only 4 feet tall. All you have to do is grab her arm and correct the situation. I feel that these guys must not have been in their right minds. At that age, children are very easily talked into changing their minds. I find it ridiculous because I just don’t see how this could happen.

Only after the tasering was the child’s mother called—a move which indicates they had (or could easily have gotten) her number all along.

Per the grandmother’s account, the police’s continued defense of their actions included the excuse that they could have used a baton or handgun instead.

Two months after the incident, which occurred last year but is only just now receiving extensive media attention, the local State’s Attorney, one Wendy Kloeppner, released a report which stated “she was satisfied with an independent investigation, deploying a taser was the best viable way to diffuse the situation.” As a result, no charges were filed against the officers involved.

(via navigatethestream)

sonofbaldwin:

socialjusticekoolaid:

The Ferguson City Council convened for the first time since Mike Brown’s death, and proved that they literally give no fucks about what the community has to say. Added to their vague, paltry proposed reforms, seems real change will have to come in Ferguson via the ballot box. I don’t care where you live folks— let this be a lesson in voting/participating in your local elections and government! #staywoke #farfromover 

I am here for every bit of these acts of truth-telling. EVERY. MORSEL.

"

The video features a group of unnamed black kids, purportedly from Ferguson, reciting parts of a script that’s clearly been written by adults. A script that will make you think race is solely a black and white issue, by the way. Even if the children are from Ferguson, it’s unclear if or how they’ve been compensated. Either way, the idea that these kids are from Ferguson is paraded for consumption.

Towards the end, a white adult and a black adult make nice and encourage viewers to buy a FCKH8.com T-shirt. Five dollars from each shirt will supposedly go to unidentified “charities working in communities to fight racism.” Which charities? Who knows! What communities? Can’t tell you.

The video concludes with a dedication, “For Mike,” and a quiet scene from the Ferguson street on which Michael Brown was killed by officer Darren Wilson more than a month ago.

The company behind the video, FCKH8.com, has made a name for itself selling what it calls “LGBT Equality Gear” (which sort of covers some LGB themes, but sort of leaves the T part out). It’s now trying to do the same with its “Anti-Racism Gear.” According to its website, FCKH8.com “recently became owned and managed by Synergy Media,” a corporate branding firm whose clients include Magnum bodybuilding vitamin supplements and pretty offensive “Buckeye Boob T’s” (the latter despite the fact that FCKH8.com says it’s anti-sexist).

There’s an entire economy around black death—and this ad campaign illustrates it all too well. Ironically, this economy’s profit margins depend on upholding the very racism this video claims to want to eliminate.

So there you have it, folks. Everything, it seems, can distilled, packaged, bought and sold—including racism.

"

This is the T-Shirt Company Making Money Off of Ferguson by Aura Bogado

TLDR: do not buy the shirts being sold by fckh8! 

(via navigatethestream)

dynamicafrica:

In honor of International Literacy Day, I compiled a list of some of my favourite books written by African authors (with the exception of the book about Fela). There are many books I could’ve added to this post but these were the first that came to mind.

There’s no order to this list and each comes highly recommended as they, in some way, changed me for the better. If I had to pick a favourite it would undoubtedly be Zimbabwean writer Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions simply because it was the first book I read in which I related so deeply to several of the characters - and still do. From Nyasha’s struggle with depression and being caught between two cultures she feels alienated by, to Tambu’s hunger for a world beyond her circumstances. Ugandan author Okot p’Bitek’s Song of Lawino and Song of Ocol comes in a close second, it’s just about as cheeky and blunt as I am in some parts and, perhaps a little out of narcissism, is why I enjoyed it.

Between these 18 books you’ll find everything from the personal to the political, and everything in-between. There’s love, there’s romance, there’s struggle, there’s strife, there’s beauty and there’s ugly too. No story is as simple as their titles may suggest, just read Camara Laye’s L’enfant Noir (The African Child) that explores the author’s early childhood in Guinea under French colonisation, or South African writer Sol Plaatjie’s historical novel Mhudi written in 1919 that placed a woman at the center of a story that deals with survival, displacement and early European colonisation in South Africa.

For anyone interested in reading these books, I found some of them available online (not all are complete):

(via poc-creators)

standwithpalestine:

The only child survivor of the Abu Jazar family (Khan Younis) receives her sister’s graduation certificate in Gaza

(via navigatethestream)

jadecho:

"Disappearing" at CUPSI 2013 Prelims

in gym class
my white best friend points to the flat of my face
and says “you don’t really have a nose.”
it’s the first time i notice the difference
in the geography of our faces
i wish for a tall, delicate nose like hers
like my white boy punk idols
like the girls the boys see as beautiful

7th grade is a year of disappearing
the boys lounging in the breezeway
cackle about how i don’t have an ass
the department store jeans sag over the thin of me
it’s the first time i learn my yellow body
does not exist here

i’m in college
the first time a man old enough to be my father
hollers at me on the street

"sup lil mama!
me love you long time,
long,
long time.”

his words lick the back of my neck, slow
there’s a part of me that takes it as a compliment 
there’s a part of me that wants to falcon punch the lecher out his face

it’s the first time someone makes me understand
how my yellow body shouts
easy pussy
across the sidewalk
port of nagasaki thighs
for you to commodore perry open
cambodian countryside cunt
to bomb in silence

in the mirror
i want to skin the chinadoll off of me
these almond eyes
flushed porcelain cheeks
that betray me
look how cute you did yourself up today
you were asking for it

it’s october
the halloween store sells costumes called
“asian persuasion”
"geisha beauty to ninja cutie"
modeled by white women in black wigs
cleavage bursting through strategic seams
my skin a little something sexy to don for one night only
they wear the fantasy of it
but never know the itching
how we asian women
carry a certain insanity 
with the yellow of our skin
tiptoeing the ghostland 
between invisible and undesirable
visible and easy victim

i’ve learned to speak steel trap
when talking to white men
keeping my smiles from showing too much interest
because the air is heavy with ghosts between us
chinese women abducted into new world prostitution
british opium ravaging pearl delta apart
in 2008, the 16 asian women in oakland victimized by police
in 2000, the 2 japanese women in spokane
raped by 2 white men “infatuated with the japanese race”
i’ve learned i can’t trust anyone to see me
under the histories this country
has mapped onto our skin

in class
the paper pale english major next to me in
seems too interested
in whether or not i have plans for the weekend
i can’t tell if he’s just friendly
or viewing the beginnings of a porno
in the corners of my smile
i want to tear the “undemanding” 
the “passive” from my skin
i leave the classroom
hoping walking away
is enough to not disappear

(via poc-creators)