Posted in Poetry

All Black Boys Need Bulletproof Vests & Lawyers on Speed Dial

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.



Poet, Writer, Editor

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