Sent to you by moya via Google Reader:
Does anybody hear the black women
Moaning muffled cries
Kicking and wiggling
Banging their heads against the floor
Trying to get your attention
I see them.
I hear them.
They must be wondering…
Why is there a statue
Of Henrietta Lacks
In the middle of this room
Littered with our bodies–
Some injured, some sore, many dead?
Why is it these "brilliant" people
Keep looking up at this
Black women's statue
Feeling the texture of her vagina
Admiring the details of her cervix
Praising the dedication of the sculptor
And yet they manage to keep
Stepping over our bodies
Without so much as a glance downward
They ask the artist
Can the family get compensation?
The family deserves something
But she insists that the law and medicine
do not protect such subjects
cannot repair the subjected
And so they move on.
They keep saying
the doctors and scientists
that used her cells
did great things for many people.
They deserve redemption.
They must be redeemed.
I'm a scientist.
I've worked with her cells
I must be redeemed
I studied under the doctor
who took her cells
He was a great man
He did great things
We deserve fair treatment
in the eyes of history
The artist offers a scale
supported by Black women's bodies
Balancing the rights and good deeds of the
Scientific community on one end
and the Lacks family on the other
Fair and balanced
On Black women's backs
They want to understand
How hard was it for you–
a White woman–
to get close to a black family
To get Henrietta Lacks' story
They never question
how a White woman gained so much access
to privileged information
from largely White doctors, scientists, and assistants
to tell the HeLa story
And what of Mrs. Lacks' daughter Elsie
One of the many
writhing Black female bodies
that got brought into this room
with this statue of Henriatta Lacks
erected in honor of the HeLa story
They too have stories of
systemic non-consensual experiments
that benefited people other than themselves
and their families
Research that left them battered, broken, and
banging their heads on the floor
for your attention
Can you see them?
Do you hear them?
I'm starting to think
I might be the only one.
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