Who beat the brown upon my skin?
Who cleft my teeth and carved my grin?
Who pressed my eyes into my face?
Who stole from me the forms of grace?
Who scored and cut my ugly jaw?
Who strung my throaty croaking caw?
Who struck my scalp with wilting hair?
Who smote me dark and never fair?
Then tell me not, for I am flawed
That “Ye were knit by hands of God.”
What is the white man’s burden?
Can I find it in my fields?
Does he stir it with his bourbon?
Is it the rod he wields?
And all the white man’s children,
These heirs to his estate
Lithe in laps of luxury
Unbridled by its weight.
Ever suckling at the bosom
Of privilege and power
The world is their inheritance,
Theirs is the chosen hour.
And we who toil beneath them
Dealt the brown man’s hand
Must ever labour thrice as hard if
As equals we dare stand.
– S.S. Bartlett
A controversial topic, yes. My main point here is not colonialism, but the inequality that is still ripe and approaching putrescence in the modern age. As a student fortunate enough to study in in Europe I have encountered a modicum of contemporaries who are oblivious to the privilege they have inherited. Their lives are sans the sort of prejudice we from the “non-Western World” must endure. Upon my return home I have come to realise that had a student from my home country been afforded the same opportunities many of my European friends had, they would have reaped its fruit threefold.
Note. I would have gladly avoided colour had I not been so keen to allude to Rudyard Kipling.