Monday, September 25, 2017

Why We Kneel

Why We Kneel

When strong men kneel on their stage
announcing to the world their indignation
about the deaths of unarmed boys and men of color

People with white faces
wave their flags
and close their ears and their hearts

People with angry white faces tell them
their playing fields are neither 
the time nor the place
to bear witness to injustice

People with smug white faces tell them
there are better ways to protest
Even though every other way they protest--
sit-ins, street marches, the ballot box--
they are told there are better ways to protest

People with confident white faces
tell them there are better ways
to manage their anger
which would be funny
if their own failure to manage their own
wasn't so obvious

People with irritated white faces tell them
they used to enjoy watching football
before all the protests

The millions athletes of color and their talent earn
is not hush money

The current law of the land
[White Male] Citizens United
claims dollars equal free speech

Nowhere in the law does it say
wealthy athletes of color 
must not kneel
must not speak about injustice
must not speak
must let their playing speak for itself

People with white faces refuse to see
how you use your privilege
to continually change the rules
frame and reframe every dialogue
to suit yourselves

People with white faces want to make it about the flag--
a symbol--
and whether protesters pass 
your citizenship pop quizzes
and can pay your toll to the poll

You argue
that people of color don't teach 
their kids to respect authority

Their kids are mouthy brats
their words are weapons
and when they protest their treatment
death is too often their penalty

For the quadrillionth time--
If it sounds like I'm clean out of patience I am--
We protest
the killing of unarmed men and boys of color
and the guaranteed acquittal
of their uniformed murderers

Their deaths and their families' suffering are real
not a symbol in red white and blue

I kneel
with these strong men
not only to pray
for this country
OUR country
But to show the world 
what I cannot stand for