If I was born around 150 years ago
I may not have made it to age 2
I would have dunked in the water
Unable to swim
Alligators nipping at my toes
And then devising I was good enough to consume
Babies have pain receptors
But they do not have words
black babies had nothing.
at least a white baby automatically had standing.
but if you were black you were one of three things:
1. brought up to be a field nigger
2. brought up to be a house nigger
or 3. dropped to be food for the hungry alligators
so they could get used to the taste of darker meat
and knew what to look for when hungry.
We dont talk about that in this country.
We dont talk about a lot of things in this country.
We need to talk about it
instead of brushing it under the rug
giving it a time stamp
that 150 years is a long time.
Unarmed black boys get shot by police
and bleed to death on the streets.
They get shot for walking while black
wearing hoodies, drinking Arizonas
playing music a little too loudly
skipping through backyards
playing in their front yards
and looking “suspicious” when they just want to go home
How does a nine year old playing tag look shady?
How does a bag of skittles look shady?
How does drinking an Arizona look shady?
These boys, they will never see home again.
And their killers get off.
Almost all white killers get off.
You’d have to murder at least five
before the status of “hate crime”
but they get off because they plead insanity
and “Stand your ground” is a valid defense in some states.
But when black boys barely fire a gun
or kill, even in defense, they get
twenty five to life. In 1944 George Junius Stinney Jr
was accused of killing two white girls
and became the youngest person in the electric chair
in the United States. He was fourteen. They used a Bible
as a booster seat. Over sixty-seven years later
new evidence may clear him from the crime,
but can it clear his soul?
Black boys are not dangerous
or at least not any more dangerous than anybody else.
Their stereotype is.
Not all black boys are thugs
or do drugs, smoke weed, or speak in ebonics.
Not all black boys steal
so there’s no need to clutch your purses in fear
or cross the street when you see them coming
Not all black boys are trouble makers;
the media controls what we see, searching
for the worst pictures to portray brown folk
find our most serious faces
and crop the rest out.
My brother may be a naive twenty-four year old
that asks too many questions,
(you know the police doesn’t like questions)
but at least he has made it past eighteen.
My mother did not have to go through a trial
that defamed his character or get the verdict
that his killer was not guilty on his nineteenth birthday.
I pray for all black boys.
may not another one be murdered.
may not another killer get off.
(July 25, 1941 – August 28, 1955)
I would say rest in peace
but you are in pieces.
Your mother requested an open casket at your funeral
and we saw where fish nibbled at your flesh
and where your smile turned into a shriek
and how scared you must have felt that day.
You were nothing but a boy
and away from home
but I know now that it happens everywhere
that many like you are wrongly murdered
it’s just that the circumstances are a little different
and we have flown through several calendars
The only thing that has supposedly changed
it has not
One amendment cannot undo teachings
especially if the “truth” is not fully true.
What does the south say about you?
How are you painted to these people?
I read that there were pictures of white women in your wallet
but that was a ruse.
I read that you did more than just whistle at her.
I read that you were a good boy.
I read that you were wronged
and I’m sorry even though it’s not my fault.
Oh Emmett Till
You were neither the start nor the finish
of the race to control and berate black men
I just wish you didn’t have to be a martyr
and I wish I could learn
what was behind that 100 watt smile
Welcome to my new online portfolio. I will be collecting my writings (both poetry and prose) and blog posts here. I am excited to share my journey with you all.
– Ashley Elizabeth