Poetry: Brain Drain

As a Southerner, I’ve balanced systemic racism and my knowledge of what’s right my entire life. And some of the most heinous words I’ve ever heard are: “This is how it’s always been.” Those six words are what an older generation tells you when you question why things are set up unfairly. Those are the words put up to hinder progress.

In Mississippi, the state I was raised in, there’s a concept called “brain drain”. Intelligent people leave the state in droves. Like rats leaving a sinking ship. And commissions have been set up to analyze why. Intelligent people give intelligent responses to the problem that no one wants to hear. And we’re so outnumbered by ignorant masses who would rather we just left. And so we do.  And that’s the crux of the matter. Intelligent people are a minority in the South, and they will be driven out, unless they are protected. To address the brain drain, Mississippians have to reconsider their treatment of minorities as a whole.

As I contemplated the problem again while I battled insomnia last night, I kept thinking how people said my education ruined me. And this is what I wrote.

Brain Drain

 

“Education ruined her.”

That’s what they said about me.

“We don’t need nobody with book learnin’.”

So, I decided to leave.

 

I let the pages teach me

what no Mississippian would.

That old white men can only rule the world if we keep electing them.

That there are no less-than-humans.

That Jesus doesn’t kick mixed people out of church for not being born white enough.

That separate is never equal.

 

“Education ruined her.”

That’s what they said about me.

“Those liberal colleges indoctrinated her.”

But universities attract what they seek.

 

“She thinks she knows more than us.”

And what if I definitely do?

I noticed the bad statistics and flawed logic permeating the arguments.

Did you?

 

I spoke for justice, for equality, for change.

But my voice didn’t carry over the roar of opinion.

My facts fell before men who called me strange.

Ignorance is as good as knowledge in their dominion.

 

I let education ruin me.

You should do the same.

4 thoughts on “Poetry: Brain Drain

  1. Such a very thoughtful and well done piece. “That Jesus doesn’t kick mixed people out of church for not being born white enough.” is a hard sell down here. Because 90% of the religious people in the south can’t wrap their minds around the concept that Jesus wasn’t exactly white.

    Liked by 1 person

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