Sometimes, admitting our past mistakes is the first step to becoming a good ally.
Poet Sudeep Pagedar demonstrates this to stunning effect in a slam poetry performance posted by UnErase Poetry on April 1. In the video, above, Pagedar describes how growing up, male privilege shaped the way he viewed women ― and himself.
“I bought into the binary of blue versus pink,” Pagedar recites. “In school, I recall, much to my shame, being called a misogynist once and responding with ‘whore.’”
Pagedar goes on to explain how his sexist views continued into college, when he’d “chuckle at banter from voyeurism to rape.”
“It’s easy to say it’s only a joke, but it’s a great deal easier, when the joker is a bloke.”
According to UnErase, the poem is actually a response to a poem by Aranya Johar called “A Brown Girl’s Guide To Gender,” which explores rape culture, objectification and silencing of women in India.
Pagedar’s poem is a poignant reflection on how being a man has absolved him from having to acknowledge the treatment of the women around him.
He ends, powerfully, with:
“Unless I speak truth to power, my own, unless the extent of the power is known, I can never honor any commitment to fight the imbalance that stems from my sex-given right.”
Watch the entire performance above.
H/T Buzzfeed India