On Acknowledging And Responding To An African-American Student’s Comment…

On Acknowledging And Responding To An African-American Student’s Comment Hey, VZ, Don’t You Know That Way Back In The Day, You Probably Would’ve Been One Of Those Cracker Slave-Owning White Guys, You Know, Everybody Would Be Doing It, That’s The Way It Was, So, So Would’ve You?

by Frank Van Zant

I. Yes, Jason, it’s true.


I could’ve been that way, it’s true.

Yes, I’m Dutch and some Dutch

did brisk business in bodies and souls.

I could’ve done that too.


But don’t think that I could

NOT have been one of those

Abolitionist white guys, that I

couldn’t have fought against



And don’t think that just because

I’m white

I’m here to do you


Now. Today. These days.


Because just because I’m


doesn’t mean I should

glad-hand a bigot,

should I, Justin?


II. A Thought-Provoker In Return


VZ: Jason–Matt over here will confirm

this– Did you know there were a few,

not many but a few, black men in America

who owned slaves?


JASON, incredulous:


Now why on earth would a black man

EVER want to own slaves?


VZ: Money, Jason, money.

The slaves made people richer.


And Jason, there’s another

question you could ask too:

Why would any person judge

any other based on color

and not the content

of that person’s


Van Zant has taught near-dropouts for 14 years and has written many other poems related to students in his alternative school–white, black and Hispanic (dysfunctionality knows no racial boundaries).

Copyright © 2000 Frank Van Zant. All rights reserved. {jos_sb_discuss:9}

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