Toñio | Identity in an Era of Plutocracy

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The first time I went to prison, I was three years old. Visiting my dad. Our Father / Son relationship Was just another casualty of the drug war * By the time I was 5, those visits stopped, After I convinced my mom to come along Guilted her into it Because papa had guilted me into it And she refused to ever go again We moved away soon after. But it wouldn’t be my last time going to prison. * In the new kindergarten, in the new town I first experienced shame in my name I wanted to change it I didn’t like what it was associated with I wanted something new * At the time all that mattered was fitting in I was the new kid, again Making new friends, again And being targeted by the bullies, again And I didn’t need a name like Antonio As ammunition * For the first time I felt a need to embrace my white half In order to feel safe and accepted And I wanted an english name * So I asked, what does Antonio translate to? Anthony, they said And my superficial child mind Fearing bullies and wanting social acceptance Pictured the only Anthony I knew The one kid in school named Anthony Screaming in my mind, “NO, I DON’T WANT TO BE HIM” Thinking that my name made me who I was not knowing that my behavior does * I pictured Anthony With his glasses and snotty nose And weird smell and awkward energy He was the one kid everyone disliked and stayed away from He had the life I feared the most So I hated my name even more because it caused me trouble in Spanish and English both * So I chose a new one By looking around at my class and identifying the most popular boy The life I wanted He was Brent I became Brett * I thought I’d made it up, so I was surprised the first time I met another Brett Which became a regular experience in my new white life It was a good life in many ways Food, shelter, video games and vacations Privilege that protected me from racist attacks … CONTINUED IN COMMENTS 👇🐾🔥

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Then I moved to Australia, and I was a different kind of white
My accent gave me away
Yet again, I was an “other”
Realizing that as humans
we always find a way to target someone who’s different

Violence worked for protection
And admittance to certain groups
So it became my survival tool
Till it landed me in prison
Like my father…

I certainly didn’t disappoint the predicted cycle of trauma

That was all a long time ago now
Almost another life
It used to have such a strong hold on me
Now it’s grasp has softened
And I’m slipping free into the new me

One that isn’t identified by any name
One that just is
One that is a father
One that has a son
One that is ending the cycle of trauma
One that is showing up to his Dharma

And it’s scary and blissful, and worth every step

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