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What is Privilege?

by Zoom

Privilege is the things we take for granted,

like starting life on a road that isn’t slanted.

It's walking that road without having to hide;

without feeling you’re the reason why

women clutch their purse

and cross to the other side.

It’s looking into a stranger's eyes

and knowing their thoughts started at zero.

That you have nothing to prove,

nothing to say or do

for them to look at you

as if they have no idea who you are.

It’s leaving the house without a steadying breath,

without wondering if this is the day

where it will manifest:

that thing they say no longer exists.

Privilege is thinking your discomfort

excuses you from the conversation.

It’s being able to watch others

live a life you wouldn’t choose for yourself.

Thinking you helped

with thoughts and prayers,

blacked out pictures

and apologetic poems.

It’s entering your apartment complex

without anyone calling the police,

or shouting at you to leave,

or prove you have keys.

Sometimes privilege is big,

like not having a son to grieve.

Sometimes it’s small,

like not having to beg for your right to breathe

What is privilege?

It’s not having to ask that question.

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525 Reviews

Points: 27067
Reviews: 525

Sun Sep 20, 2020 7:24 pm
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Tuckster wrote a review...

Hi there Zoom! I hope you don't mind me digging up a bit of an older work tonight; I decided I was in the mood for a political poem today, so here I am. I hope this review will still be of use to you!

This was a powerful and politically relevant topic, and the perspective from which it's written seems to be one of someone who understands what it is like to be discriminated against and live with a lack of privilege. Your last two stanzas, in particular, were very powerful and provided a fresh perspective on familiar issues. They were well-written, hard-hitting, and important to read. Thank you for writing this.

The main suggestion I have for you after finishing this is to consider incorporating some more structure. I was somewhat distracted from the message of the poem by the variance in the length of stanzas and the length of the lines. Overall, your capitalization, punctuation, and format don't make a huge impact in this story, which I think is the right choice. You've clearly put a lot of time and energy into making the words as hard-hitting as can be, so it's a reasonable choice to let the rest stand to the side, if you will, and act more as a vessel. That's part of why I was so struck by the variance in stanza length. Something more traditional would fit better with the other stylistic choices you've made and allow your writing itself to truly stand out.

Similarly, this poem didn't feel particularly thematically organized, which may be something you want to consider to utilize the rhetorical device of climax. That is not to say that some forms of discrimination build to other forms, since that would be comparing trauma of different and sometimes overlapping people groups, but rather that when you start with microaggressions against a particular people group and then build to direct acts of violence against communities, you paint a more powerful picture. Rather than disjointed thoughts placed throughout the poem, you could structure it in such a way that you begin with a stanza about unwelcome and rude comments about the appearance of black people, then build to police stopping black homeowners and challenging their right to be on their own property, and then allude to George Floyd's death. This isn't something that you absolutely need to do, but it's worth considering to give your words some more power.

Overall, this was a powerful poem that was impactful to me personally, and it has tremendous relevance in our current political climate. You did an excellent job on this, and I hope that my suggestions are helpful to you as you edit and as you write future works! Please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns.


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174 Reviews

Points: 3050
Reviews: 174

Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:06 pm
JesseWrites wrote a review...

Hello there,

I saw this and I wanted to take a look, but please know that I'm not great with poetry and similar.

The some lines rhyme and others don't, but that's probably a structural choice and/or for organization of everything. The last lines were really the ones that are my favorite just because they really tackle the topic and title, which gets to the point.

It also covers power that some people have and that others don't have. Like how it sometimes mentions death, but also smaller ideas of privilege. It's still important to have little things because they still happen, which makes me glad that you added that in.

I'm sorry that I'm so late to reviewing, but your work is helping me get my next star.
Have a good day,

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Points: 4
Reviews: 3

Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:01 am
Jess.S wrote a review...

Wow, this is very well written and very moving. I'm new to this whole thing so I'm not really sure how I'm supposed to review other people's writing but I just wanted to commend you on this poem. I love the way you chose to structure the entirety of the poem. Each line is so powerful and really explains the privilege people have in this world. I too have been writing about the current state of the world right now. I feel that the best pieces of writing are ones where you felt so passionate about the subject that you had to write about it. And I think this proves that. Your voice and passion for speaking the truth are really reflected in your words. I think everybody should get a chance to read this poem. Well done and keep writing!


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26 Reviews

Points: 228
Reviews: 26

Thu Jun 04, 2020 9:27 pm
LewisPencastle2 wrote a review...

Hey, just wanted to say this is really good. I don't really know much about poetry so I won't say much, but to me the structure and rhythm of the poem make it flow perfectly, and overall it really gives a powerful description of privilege, and with the current situation in the states I feel like it's something more people should read. Good job and thanks for writing it.

Surround yourself with people who are serious about being writers, and who will tell you, ‘Hey—you can do better than this.’ Who will be critical of your work, but also supportive. And who will not be competitive in a negative way.
— Isabel Quintero