I walked into the room and immediately wished I hadn't.
See, I have this really bad habit
Of believing I might accomplish something fighting the good fight,
Believing it really matters when someone stands up for what is right,
So I ran for a position -
Ethics and Equity Board in my department of Political Science-
And so I found myself walking into this room
That reads like a bad joke, seriously:
Me, a black guy pouring coffee
Whose Tommy Hilfiger sleeves are rolled up so meticulously
That it's no surprise when he laughs and says
He's never been any closer to Africa than me,
A guy the size of a grizzly bear
With a batiked yarmulke carefully pinned to his curly, black hair,
And a half-dozen middle-aged white guys in suits
Bought at Moore's at least a decade ago.
The old white suits smile toothy grins as I walk in
And I know, no question, why I'm here:
The token ovary-possessing board member,
It is exactly as I'd feared
Because I know why they chose me too.
I look like a nice girl,
Not the kind to make you uncomfortable,
Bring up difficult issues like the fact
That our advisors
Are twice as likely to recommend male students to graduate school,
Or that we ask all potential new female faculty
If they plan to have children,
So we can avoid hiring anyone
Who might go on leave for maternity,
Or that of nearly forty tenured professors,
Only three are women.
No, they chose me because I'm blond
So they figure I'm fond
Of batting baby blues,
Making pouty faces when confused,
And I feel so fucking used
That as I shake hands that feel like raw sausages
I resolve to hold them over the barbecue,
Make the underrepresentation of women my mantra.
I smile shark teeth right back, and move in for the kill.
I pour a cup of hot coffee,
Awaiting the lap of the first one
Who dares to call me baby.