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April 18, 2024
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Filthy Negroes by Jacques Roumain

It is said that there was a great deal of anger and even rage in the writings of Jacques Roumain, especially in his poem, “Filthy Negroes”

Well, it’s like this:
we others
filthy negroes
we won’t take anymore
that’s right
we’re through
being in Africa
in America
your negroes
your niggers
your filthy negroes
we won’t take anymore
that surprises you
to say: yessuh
while polishing your boots
oui mon pe
to the white missionaries
or master
while harvesting your
sugar cane
in Africa
in America
poor negroes
filthy negroes
that we were
that we won’t be anymore
We’re finished you’ll see
our Yes Sir
our oui blanc
our si Senor

attention, sharpshooter
oui, mon Commandant
when they order us
to machine gun our Arab brothers
in Syria
in Tunisia
in Morocco
and our white comrades on strike
starving to death
despised like us
filthy negoes

when the rhumba and blues bands
in your clubs
start playing another rhythm
to accompany the blasi whoring
of your pimps and your diamond-studded sluts
for whom a negroe
is but an instrument
for singing, n’est-ce pas,
for dancing, of course,
for fornicating, naturlich
no more than a commodity
to be bought and sold
on the pleasure market
no more than a negroe
a nigger
a filthy negroe

Too late
deep into the heart of infernal jungles
will throb the terrible telegraphic beating
of the tom-toms tirelessly beating beating
that the negroes
won’t take anymore
won’t take anymore
being your niggers
your filthy negroes
too late
for we will have risen
from the thieves’ dens from the gold mines in the Congo
and South Africa
too late it will be too late
on the cotton plantations of Louisiana
in the sugar cane fields of the Antilles
to halt the harvest of vengeance
of the negroes
the niggers
the filthy negoes
it will be too late I tell you
for even the tom-toms will have learned the language
of the Internationale
for we will have chosen our day
day of the filthy negroes
filthy Indians
filthy Hindus
filthy Indo-Chinese
filthy Arabs
filthy Malays
filthy Jews
filthy proletarians.

And here we are arisen
All the wretched of the earth
all the upholders of justice
marching to attack your barracks
your banks
like a forest of funeral torches
to be done
with this world
of negroes
filthy negoes.

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