Have They Run Out of Tasteless White Yet?

Have they run out of tasteless white yet?
Looks like they haven’t, so we’ve reason to fret.
Long ago, they started a trend: statues in alabaster.
(Long ago, we thought this was just about marble.)
But then they stole to stuff their museums with our artifacts.
Brass Buddhas, bulols, black Venuses: filched, no contract.
With not so much as a by-your-leave, they set up camp
on our shores. Took our women, flogged our men, looked askance
but secretly salivated at dishes made by the kitchen slaves.
Pigafetta (another kind of white) wrote in his journals
with a certain type of disgust that the natives were not normal:
they wore next to nothing on their skin and ate things
fished from the swamp with bare hands. It’s why the white man brings
this gift called civilization. Cloth and cutlery, its own style of chow.
But on weekends they’ll make exceptions and head to Judy’s for the Xiao Long Bao.
Perhaps week after week of white Wonder Bread does things to the psyche—
already burdened with historical conflict, how to admit one’s curious about lychee?
So fascinating… but what’s beneath the crimson of those dragon-like scales?
They’ll wait for the food review, even knowing “epicures” eat things like snails.
From LA to New York, they read that Filipino food is the next big thing,
plus some others— too many to name. Like how at Panda Express, Beijing
Beef Bowl rates as actually good. But I’m so tired
of these cycles of bashing and reappropriation, tired
of the lame defenses of those who, let’s face it,
have no respect for either a spring roll or a tit.
We come from places with catalogs of jewel-colored rice
and more than a hundred names for moss, rain, spice.
We come from places where universities were founded
before their Ivy Leagues. Their lies about us, unfounded,
have glibly masqueraded as history, geography, poetry—
We can’t let them continue with such tasteless bigotries.


In response to Have They Run Out of Provinces Yet?.

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