Privilege – Joanne Dingus


Don’t worry about me.

My kids will be treated fairly by their teachers at their well-funded schools.

The talk I will give them will have more to do with remembering to brush their teeth,

do their homework and clean their rooms than about how to act with the police.

Don’t worry about me.

When I wear my hooded sweatshirt down the street people will know I’m cold or going to the gym.

I can take a shortcut through someone’s yard and not be questioned.

Convenience store clerks will not be afraid when I enter their stores even if it’s late at night.

Don’t worry about me.

When I’m riding in the elevator of a nice hotel,

I won’t be mistaken for the maid, the janitor, or a kitchen worker.

I won’t be asked to carry someone’s luggage to their room.

Don’t worry about me.

I can let my kids play on a playground and the worst that may happen is a scraped knee or broken arm from falling off the swings.

And my doctor will accept my insurance that my work provides and attend to my child’s needs.

Don’t worry about me.

I will be hired if I have the qualifications and interview well.

I will be given a mortgage for a home or a loan to buy a car with only routine paperwork.

Don’t worry about me.

I can go 60 or more in a 55mph zone and not be stopped.

But if I am stopped, I will not have my body slammed against my car, face pressed against my windshield or my hands cuffed behind my back.

I will not be arrested. I may get a ticket but more likely a warning.

And if at any time, I call the police to my house, they will help me, respect me and keep me safe.

Don’t worry about me.

But do worry.

Worry because my experiences are not yet universal.

Worry because my privileges are still based on the color of my skin.

Worry and act and make change happen.

Make equality a reality

Then you won’t need to worry about me or anyone else.


©  Joanne Dingus

Excerpt from the book Divided Lines – A Poet’s Stance

Divided Lines

In a world of ever increasing advances seemingly created to make our lives easier to manage, envisioned to bring us together, to draw us closer, we are still in many instances isolated and at odds and validly apart. Something is missing, there is a snag, a rip, a hole in the spiritual fabric that we all see; yet we continue to fail to address.

 It has been said by self-proclaimed philosophers, theologians, scholars’ and politicians that the abuse of words can be a danger, there are those that believe words are a leading factor in what ills our society. Of this we do not deny in full, there have been abuses, history is but a melody to that fact, yet it is also true that words have the innate capacity to bridge, to heal that which divides.

 Opinions, views, religions, nations, people, even love divides. The focus of this book and the poets here in, is to give breath to a wide range of issues both small and controversial that lie beneath the surface. Things that we are often hesitant to discuss. In saying that, I will offer that the role of a poet is not to persuade or to add more rhetoric to the static we hear. A poet’s responsibility is to shine the light of awareness, to create a platform for dialogue, for healing, to gather up the images in an attempt to understand what we see.

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Categories: Anthology

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