It doesn’t matter
who moves in when
with this neighborhood.

What matters is this
expectation that
everybody looks the same.

(Race and Color)
do not matter.

After all, a neighborhood
has a reputation to keep,
a community to be valued.

No one wants to create
confusion for the kids!

It feels like the Old South
has re-emerged
in major and minor cities.

No plantations,
but the stereotypes
remain the same.

Households of people who all
look alike, fostering a sense
of solidarity, safety.

They can keep
each other’s secret
because it’s the same secret.

The safest communities
are those where
everybody looks the same.

This is Apartheid American Style,
which includes visits
from the hired help

or kids befriending
a classmate of color
(aka black kid).

This new definition
of mixed race community
allows for hired help

and special occasions
when coworkers of color
are invited to drop by

or when the white kids
befriend and invite
a classmate of color for lunch,

a play date that would be
a perfect episode for
“Show and Tell Us How Liberal You Are!”

The TV program is interrupted
when a mix-up occurs,
that sweet awkward moment

when it’s discovered
the black kid’s parents
aren’t domestics

but the descendants
of three generations
of black college graduates

and upper class families.
Because like the old folks say:
Race matters. Still.


Janet Cormier is a painter, writes prose and poetry, and performs comedy. JC prefers different and original over pretty. She loves collecting stuff, but cleaning not so much. Janet also talks to strangers. A lot. Her column appears weekly on Oddball Magazine.