MIE TIG Week: PROSE by Omar J. Salaam

Hello! My name is Omar J. Salaam. I’m a Ph.D. candidate in Educational Leadership at University of South Florida, and I plan to defend my dissertation this current semester of Spring 2018. As part of the MIE TIG’s week on AEA 365, I have written a poem about the themes unearthed within the AEA Race and Class Dialogues.


I’ve always been known as the one with good diction

Never as the one who would fathom writing fiction

Now here I sit

Trying to come up with some s_it

But the more I work on each verse

The more I feel I’m only thinking in reverse

Now I’ve come up with something I believe will please

Regardless of my recognition that its reality in 180 degrees

When my White counterpart and I were introduced to an audience for the first time

It was my words they focused in on as opposed to treating him as sublime

Later, when my White counterpart appeared on stage with a woman equal to the task

It was her words they automatically accepted, and him who they insisted to ask

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light

It’s now them getting pulled over, for no reason other than driving while White

The greatest democracy that ever existed is so just and so fair

There’s no need for marching, kneeling and demonstrating at games or anywhere

And while we’re on the topic of how equal this world is

Let’s not forget how fair capitalism is

Well over half the world’s wealth is divided evenly over half the world’s population

And those who have the most, give the most not only in total summation

The world is so full of peace and love

That genocide, and war are never even thought of

Racism, homophobia, and xenophobia, are words that do not exist

In an alternate world where they do, I’m sure they must be pissed

My genre is not fiction but for this moment I’ve taken a tryst

I only hope I’ve made some points that most have not missed

As I think of those who write fiction recognizing they are pros

I’m not ashamed that I am not one of those

This took every inch of effort from my brain to my toes

As I hope I got my message across writing in prose


Hot Tip:

This poem uses proposed fiction as a venue to reveal existing realities unseen to those blinded by privilege. The intention here is to challenge readers to acknowledge the fictions they’ve created in their own work to justify evaluative practices. Evaluators should consider the various privileges that exist and how their privilege effects the evaluation and evaluation participants.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Multiethnic Issues in Evaluation (MIE) Week with our colleagues in the MIE Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from MIE TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

1 thought on “MIE TIG Week: PROSE by Omar J. Salaam”

  1. Hi Omar – thanks for sharing this powerful poem and for using this format to challenge notions of privilege and power in evaluation. Back in the day, I focused my dissertation work on exploring poetry and performance as ways to facilitate learning and evaluation use (the poetry and performances were based in evaluation data), and in doing so I immersed myself in representational forms, in particular spoken word and performance poetry. I’d love to chat more about your work and mine if you’re interested!

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