Wednesday, July 13, 2016

What do beans and rice and police brutality have in common?

I never thought a pot of beans and rice as a good metaphor for anything related to police brutality and racism. But Elizabeth Acevedo's poem above is a perfect metaphor for both. 

Elizabeth told Huff Post “Something about that image really struck home. How the stove smudged, how the beans look when they’re split open, how heavy my heart was over this kid in Florida. But the history of Moros y Cristianos (Moors and Christians) also played into the moment. This is a Caribbean dish of simple ingredients, rice and beans elevating the other. It’s also A dish named after the Moor conquest of Spain. The racial dynamics in all of that: the Caribbean, Spain and North Africa, Jordan Davis, coalesced through that metaphor. It was how I was able to enter the poem by exploring that moment and my stake in it as an Afro-Latina and partner of a black man.”

Elizabeth wrote this particular poem last fall. However, considering the current climate of things, this poem perfectly encapsulates the loss of loved ones to brutality, a loss that is so painful to swallow. Elizabeth agrees, however, like many of us, she will be seeking solace from the recent numbing violence saying
 “I think I want to concentrate on celebrating black lives, and joy, and love. I don’t want to write about death for a while.