understanding my english privilege

i owe a lot to the english language
it helps me counterbalance all the other baggage
that presses down on my shoulders
it makes me bolder
than my identity labels would otherwise allow
it makes me proud
it gives me a fighting chance to glance over the crowd
without it i would be naked. but wait, it
begs the question: how did i acquire this tongue
being born in a place so far flung
to the east to be literally called the far east?

answer: british imperialism. and its armies
and royal decrees, swords, cannons and fleets
resources and morals depleted for greed
and a need for power, leading to slaughter
sons and daughters lying bleeding on the streets
that could’ve been built but they’ve robbed us
of money, hope and agency

and it’s a shameless complacency
for me to stand here so blatantly
patently praising the history that gifted me my linguistic fluency
while simultaneously fueling oppression and slavery

the impression left by craven men
raping their way through creation
lingers for generations thereafter
the marks from their fingers penetrating
the fragile state of nation-building

but wait – the same fingers gave me english
paving me a hundred paths
snaking through the mumbling masses
i’m grateful
you can berate me, but
that’s my dualist realism
of the english of imperialism


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