eric gray

2

“Stop making it about race”

“Not all white people are racist”

“All lives matter”

“Reverse Racism exists”

I am sick of writing this poem
but bring the boy. his new name
his same old body. ordinary, black
dead thing. bring him & we will mourn
until we forget what we are mourning
& isn’t that what being black is about?
not the joy of it, but the feeling
you get when you are looking
at your child, turn your head,
then, poof, no more child.
that feeling. that’s black.
\
think: once, a white girl
was kidnapped & that’s the Trojan war.
later, up the block, Troy got shot
& that was Tuesday. are we not worthy
of a city of ash? of 1000 ships
launched because we are missed?
always, something deserves to be burned.
it’s never the right thing now a days.
I demand a war to bring the dead boy back
no matter what his name is this time.
I at least demand a song. a song will do just fine.
\
look at what the lord has made.
above Missouri, sweet smoke.
—  Danez Smith, “not an elegy for Mike Brown”
10


Don’t tell me about no national independence and freedom when we can’t have justice for our unjustly slain.

BLACK LIVES MATTER

Okay let's get this straight right now, real quick

And I know you are all going say something about white guilt or cop hating, but the lack of logic in these arguments is driving me nuts.

When we look at deaths by police shooting, race IS a factor. You can cite this article or that which says that MORE whites are killed by police, or even cite articles that the MAJORITY of black deaths are from black on black crime.

But this isn’t about numbers. It has never been about numbers and will never be about numbers.

This is about Treyvon Martin who was walking home, unarmed, in a hoodie and was shot by a neighborhood watch BECAUSE HE LOOKED SUSPICIOUS. Not even carrying a weapon. Last I checked, I can’t kill a fly with an iced tea and skittles let alone another human being.

This is about Eric Garner that was committing a petty crime of selling cigarettes without paying tax. The NYPD felt the need to PUT HIM IN AN UNAUTHORIZED “sleeper hold”, then call the FDNY that put him, handcuffed, FACE DOWN, on the stretcher when he clearly needed albuterol.

This is about Michael Brown who was shot at TWELVE TIMES even though he was unarmed. But it’s acceptable to shoot first and ask later simply because HE WAS BLACK.

This is about Freddie Gray who was put in the back of a police van, UNRESTRAINED and HANDCUFFED, while the police felt the need to give him a “rough ride” because he was carrying a switchblade. He didn’t go home because he was BLACK, not because he was carrying an illegal knife.

This is about Alton Sterling who was legally selling CDs in front of a store, the owner of which allowed him to do so. He was TACKLED to the ground AND THEN SHOT MULTIPLE TIMES, not because he pulled his weapon later removed FROM HIS POCKET POST-MORTEM, but because HE WAS BLACK.

This is about Philando Castile who was the passenger in a car with his girlfriend and daughter and was shot FOUR TIMES while reaching FOR HIS WALLET AFTER VERBALIZING HE WAS DOING SO AND VERBALIZING THAT HE WAS LEGALLY CARRYING A CONCEALED WEAPON. He was slain at a traffic stop, not because of his actions, but because HE WAS BLACK!

I could write about so many other instances, but let me describe what would happen if I, a privileged white man, were to be in those situations:

  • If I were Treyvon Martin, I would have made it home because some racist vigilante would not have looked twice at a white man with skittles
  • If I were Eric Garner, I would have gotten albuterol and be treated with respect by EMTs and Paramedics
  • If I were Michael Brown, there wouldn’t be one bullet in my body
  • If I were Freddie Gray, I wouldn’t have been arrested
  • If I were Alton Sterling, I’d still be standing there selling my CDs and trying to make an honest living
  • If I were Philandro Castile, I would have been asked what gun it was and complimented on my responsible carry, if I was even stopped at all

No, this isn’t some numbers game, it’s about shoot first ask later. It’s about the mentality that police can do what they want BEFORE asking a question just because of someone’s skin. It’s because videos, photos, and stories are seen every day where a black man or woman or child is victim to police overreach; subject to illegal search and illegal arrest.

So if you want to say all lives matter, you aren’t wrong, but you don’t realize you are continuing to oppress a voice that has yearned for equality for centuries. You are disregarding the idea of justice because of your blindness to your own privilege.

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist.

”Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

”Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.

”Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

-Pastor Martin Niemöller

Then they came for the black Americans, shooting first and asking later

Then they came for the Gays and Latinos with their homophobic and xenophobic banter, protecting that terrorist’s AR-15 over 49 deaths

Then they ban the Muslims because “they are all terrorists”

Then they want to build a wall because Mexicans are “rapists and murders” even though they were once strangers in a strange land

Then they scream “GUN” and post criminal records when they are black, but post swim times and plea “affluenza” when they are white

And I will gladly speak out for these people, these Americans and pursuers of the American dream so they do not have to suffer the same fate as my people

For our silence speaks for those that wish to continue an oppression that allows the privileged to thrive

So I will speak out, and I will scream and yell

And I will not stop until my brothers and sisters can walk beside me without fear

And I will not stop until my friends will no longer fear a man in uniform just because they were born with more melinin than I

And I will not stop until a system that benefits from racism so deep its citizens are blind to it is a high school history text book and not my reality

And I will not stop, until there is justice

-Jonathan Ross