Parker & Balko – Language not used

Morgan Parker’s poem “The President Has Never Said The Word ‘Black'” and Radley Balko’s article“The Curious Grammar of Police Shootings” conveys the negative impacts from the language that is not used.

In Parker’s poem the president’s (since the poem was published in 2016 I think she is referring to Donald Trump) lacking language makes Parker question if he is “broken” unable to form sentences. Parker alludes to this broken feeling by including broken sentence structures found in stanzas four and five which also emphasizes how the president lacks in acknowledging the black community, her people. Parker inserts her feeling of anger by telling the president that it isn’t hard to “open teeth and brass taxes” therefore it should not be difficult to talk about the black community. Towards the end of the poem, Parker states that the president’s lack of acknowledgement and language is the reason why every time he opens his mouth “a chameleon is inside, starving.”Parker correlates the colors of the chameleon to the people of color in America and by saying that the chameleon is starving inside the president’s mouth Parker metaphorically employs that the president is not recognizing a certain group of colored people which in this case are black individuals. (The one part I have trouble understanding is “five on the bleep hand side.”)

Radley Balko’s article “The Curious Grammar of Police Shootings” shows how the language that is not used is an act of manipulation and a form of defense for the perpetrator. Balko utilizes the excerpts from various police shootings, whether the officer was at fault or not, to show how the language not used is way for truths to become lies. Balko cautions the readers about the hypocritical behaviors some authorities such as police agencies partake in through their “linguistic gymnastics.”

3 thoughts on “Parker & Balko – Language not used”

  1. I like your interpretation of the poem however I don’t think it was directed towards Donald Trump as it wasn’t published after the 2016 election. To me it was more like a jab against all the former presidents and even Obama. It ironic as she believes that Obama somewhat doesn’t engage in the us of the word “black” when it comes to representing the community. They aren’t washing away the colors but they sure aren’t acknowledging them.

  2. I agree with what you’ve said, and your analysis of Parker saying in the poem, “a chameleon is inside, starving.” is really well written and detailed! Its interesting how you interpreted it, it made me read that sentence in a different way. And lastly if you see the specific date the poem was published, its a few months before Trump would be elected, so Parker was really talking about Obama I believe.

  3. I found your understanding of the poem interesting especially the point of the chameleon being connected to the people of color in America. While I interpreted it as the presidents voice himself hiding from speaking on these issues, I never thought of it to be the black people of America.

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