|First, they said we were savages.
But we knew how well we had treated them
and knew we were not savages.
They they said we were immoral.
But we knew minimal clothing
Did not equal immoral.
Next, they said our race was inferior.
But we knew our mothers
and we knew that our race
was not inferior.
After that, they said we were
a backward people.
But we knew our fathers
and knew we were not backward.
So, then they said we were
But we knew the rhythm of our days
and knew that we were not obstructing Progress.
Eventually, they said the truth is that you eat
too much and your villages take up too much
of the land. But we knew we and our children
were starving and our villages were burned
to the ground. So we knew we were not eating
too much or taking up too much of the land.
Finally, they had to agree with us.
They said: You are right. It is not your savagery
or your immorality or your racial inferiority or
your people’s backwardness or your obstructing of
Progress or your appetite or your infestation of the land
that is at fault. No. What is at fault
is your existence itself.
Here is money, they said. Raise an army
among your people, and exterminate
– Alice Walker