The Baby-faced Rose of White Privilege




The Baby-faced Rose of White Privilege


Jon Presco


I chose to capture her image

because of how she looked

innocuous, vulnerable, innocent.

She was a church mouse

with a baby-face

She did not stand out.

I did not understand

that this is the face that launched a thousand ships

There are tanks, battleships, jets,

squad cars, courts of law, and SWAT teams

ready to defend her on a moments notice.

Even predictors leave her alone.

She is an untouchable.

She is the epitome of White Privilege

and tells me so.


I didn’t quite get what that meant

until I heard her say it

She brought tears to my eyes

after I watched the video of her I took.

I saw her as the cutest baby you ever saw.

I saw her as a pre-teen shopping at the mall

with her best friends and parents credit card.

I saw her at that all-white vacation spot.

I saw her straight A report card she got

I saw her letter she was accepted to the University of O

I saw her putting that ring in her nose.

I saw her carefully selecting her hat with the rose.

I saw her setting out in the world

prepared to be someone

You know how that goes!


I saw her studying what that somebody was going to be.

I saw her making adult choices all by herself.

I saw her put her childish things behind her.

I saw her heading to this rally

so she could be seen

and perhaps


What struck me, was

she was not invisible to me!


I saw her making a stand that would affect her the rest of her life.

I saw her feeling she had found her people

and was with the right crowd.

I saw that she was happy with the choices she had made – thus far.

I saw that she was proud that she cared.

I saw that she had done everything that Philando had done.

The quest to be someone

is not easy.

Why is it only white folks

are allowed to make mistakes?


Being a human being

is hard.

Being true to yourself

begins with understanding what that means.

Philando is her peer.

They are almost identical. But for one thing

the color of their skin

and, armies were sent over there,

battleships pounded the shore,

jets flew over head,

unloading their bombs

and the SWAT team poured out of their urban tanks.

All these things happened so she would feel safe

would feel protected

would know someones got her back.

who dare blame those armed men

wearing camo?


This is the beautiful baby-face that launched a thousand ships

and, she only has eyes for Philando

It is he who she identifies with.

She has empathy for him.

He is her peer.

perhaps they were destined to meet,

one day. Some day

when Justice arrives

for all

and we are all served

the promise of the gods


She had just a small rose on her plain cap.

She wore no makeup.

When did she stop looking in a mirror

while she put on her lipstick.

And that ring in her nose

Her badge of defiance.

Was it enough to get her killed?

Don’t go for your wallet, Hon

Don’t go for your gun

Don’t wear colorful clothing

Don’t have your day in the sun.


The dull baby-face rose

looks like she never gets any attention.

Baby-faced Philando got more attention then he wanted

way more attention

then he deserved!

His mother sent him out of the house warning him

giving him lessons on how be invisible,

and what he should do if he is


Those loving lessons

were of no avail.

here come a nervous man to his window

with a loaded gun


Young people. Students of life.

I feel for them. I had to walk away.

All the lessons are hard.

But, she was allowed to blend in

into the crowd

where no one knows who she is

where she is – in the world

because no one asks



I spotted her right off.

The pathos of it all.

This great tragedy

this modern day Western

captured with hand-held cell-phone

taken out of its holster.

Many shots rang out in Texas

over a broken red light

And it wasn’t dark, yet.

The sun was just about to set

“Why are you here?” I asked.

“People are getting killed, and nothing is happening.”


White folks expect Justice to be done

for only them.

Denying Justice to others

is their lily-white privilege

they practice


without Justice

there can be no Peace.

And when their brand of Peace breaks out

and the reports of the long-rifles

echo in their canyon of lies

they play their favored game

they play

the Baby-faced Victim

with a broken wing

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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1 Response to The Baby-faced Rose of White Privilege

  1. Reblogged this on Rosamond Press and commented:

    I interviewed this dull white woman at a Black Lives Matter rally. I wrote a poem about her, the new White Icon – with rose on hat.

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