Alternative Culture Magazine


Alternative Literature



ID Check

   by Ariel Luckey

I am a blue-eyed devil, peckawood, and country cracker
Red neck, white trash, and urban wannabe rapper
I am the man
                                  who’s got the God complex
Pimping privilege from class, skin color, and sex
I am the president, the pope, and the cop on your block
I’m the banker buying stock in selling bullets and glocks

This is an ID check
Like a rope around your neck
Better know who you are
When death calls collect

This is an ID check
Like the border patrol
But this is not for your country
This is for your soul

I am the great great great grandchild of the Mayflower
Gave thanks to God for smallpox so I could take power
I’m the great great grandchild of broken treaties
Inheritor of racial slurs spoken freely
I’m the great grandchild of BIA and Homestead Act
I shot Wounded Knee, stabbed Crazy Horse in the back
I’m the grandchild of Jim Crow and burning crosses
I yelled for a lynching, then brought my children to watch it
I’m the child of GI Bill, white affirmative action
Got promotions and jobs reserved for Anglo-Saxons
I am the father of Katrina and government neglect
This is a race roll call
This is an ID check

I am President Andrew Johnson, I took your 40 acres away
I am William Simmons, I led the KKK
I am Senator Joe McCarthy, I blacklisted the nation
I am Governor Orval Faubus, I blocked integration
I am Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam
I murdered Emmett Till and then denied that I killed him
I’m Lawrence Brewer, John King, and Shawn Allen Berry
Dragged James Byrd to his death in a black cemetery
I am Michael Brown, I directed FEMA
I am Walter Reed, I prosecuted 6 from Jena
I am Bill O’Reilly, I spew hate everyday
I am George W. Bush, what else do I need to say

This is an ID check
Like airport security
The real terrorism
State of emergency

This is an ID check
Like the border patrol
But this is not for your country
This is for your soul

I’m a 12th generation illegal immigrant
My family sold our culture as an economic stimulant
I have stolen the language of West African griots
Sampled the stand up bass of standard jazz trios
I have eaten the heart beatin of the boogie down Bronx
Carved a new ivory tower out of elephant tusk ankhs
I appropriate your culture cause I sold my roots
Got my hair did in corn rows, sport Timberland boots
I wear a bindi on my forehead, Che’s face on my chest
I wave sage and an eagle feather and call this space blessed
I got a Chinese character tattooed on my arm
Rock an Om necklace as a good luck charm
I am Wonder Bread, I am the Melting Pot
I buy my coolness at the mall cause that’s what I’ve been taught
I’m a Pilgrim, a Cowboy, All-American athlete
I am Elvis, Kenny G, Vanilla Ice, and Backstreet

This is an ID check
This is a shattered mirror
This is the voice of whitey
This is the psyche of fear

This is an ID check
Like the border patrol
But this is not for your country
This is for your soul
I walk on red carpet sewn in maquiladoras
I pimp the stock market with the ruling class employers
I make a living from your dying, I am free trade
I’m the law that says IMF loan interest gets paid
I am middle class white flight and suburbanization
I’m a yuppie drinking latte, Starbucks gentrification
I live in Sundown towns and feast on strange fruit
I get paid for every ghetto youth the army recruits
I am the air you breathe, the water you drink
I’m the hegemony underneath the way you think
I am white supremacy and patriotism
I am the private profits made from public prisons
I’m the cop in your head, I am COINTELPRO
I’m the non-profit industrial complex’s cash flow
I am white collar crime and corporate subsidies
I spit dirty white lies, I’m Fox news publishing
I’m Cheney’s Energy Task Force getting together
I’m the smoking gun, I am Enron’s paper shredder
I’m a Blackwater mercenary paid by your taxes
I’m a federal bail out to Wall Street while the economy collapses
I am the stars and stripes, huh, united we stand
I’m the great white hope, I am superman

This is an ID check
Like 3 o’clock road block
This is psychotherapy
By electric shock

This is an ID check
Like the border patrol
But this is not for my country
This is for my soul

I am also Robert Carter, I freed 500 of my slaves
I’m Supreme Court Justice John Jay, I ruled against racist ways
I am Preacher John Woolman, I’m a Quaker Abolitionist
I’m Henry David Thoreau, I wrote Civil Disobedience
I am John Brown, I raided Harper’s Ferry
I’m Ralph Waldo Emerson, a poet revolutionary
I am Mark Twain, I protested imperialism in the Philippines
I am Albert Einstein, I raised my voice against lynching
I am Myles Horton, I founded Highlander Center’s popular education
I’m Abraham Joshua Heschel, Marching with Dr. King my feet were praying
I am Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner
I campaigned for justice in the Freedom Summer
I am Bill Ayers, I forecast the Weather Underground
I’m Jack Junebug Boykin, I led the Young Patriots in Chicago’s Uptown
I am Howard Zinn, I wrote the People’s History
I am Noam Chomsky, I drop knowledge on society
I am Paul Kivel, I wrote Uprooting Racism
I am Tim Wise, I speak truth across the nation
I’m the push for racial justice
I am freedom on the rise
I am the possibility
in my son’s blue eyes

This is an ID check
like the border patrol
but this is not for our country
this is for our soul

Ariel Luckey
© 2009


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