By Malick Ceesay
Black man is my homie.
Black man never lonely.
Black man can be phony. but
Black man tries to holds me.
Black man walks with cold feet.
Black man in the swol’ heat.
Black man try’na find peace.
Black man wants to love me.
Black man isn’t sinister.
Black man can administer.
Black man putting God first.
Black man even recites a verse.
Black man in this universe,
Black man never wanted worse.
Black man unconditional.
Black man, are you hearing him?
Black man set off all alarms.
Black man carries fire arms.
Black man cannot find a reason.
Black man tries to keep his calm.
Black man needs to protect self.
Black man maximizing wealth.
Black man benefits from health.
Black man works for nothing less.
Black man senses attitude.
Black man feels you’re very rude.
Black man hears you outta touch.
Black man knows you won’t give love.
Black man sees your irritation.
Black man sees no correlation.
Black man says, ‘you silly demons.’
Black man wins no hesitation.
Black man learning dedication.
Black man wants an education.
Black man grabs entire freedom.
Black man needs emancipation.
Black man didn’t know the cost.
Black man lives life never loss.
Black man knows he’s still a boss.
Black man thought he’d run it off.
Black man tries to keep his pace.
Black man sees his future’s stake.
Black man didn’t see that
he would run into his fate.
Black man wants to call his mama.
Black man says, “I’ll call tomorrow.”
Black man turns toward chasing truck.
Black man life comes to a-
+ + +
Since the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, and up until now, I have chosen to purposely keep from sharing my views and thoughts out in the open. Part of this stems from wanting to avoid dealing with more trauma, while on the other hand, it is to be observant as to who does and does not respond to horrific tragedies like this.
What I have come to observe is that white silence is quite a loud and irritating term. To understand that white silence is a tool for the oppressor to voice the status quo; to understand that being silent now when a week ago you were willing to protest for a haircut, returning to your favorite restaurant, or watch sports in stadiums again; to understand that a Black body falls to the concrete from gunshot wounds, or is murdered in their home months before turning 27, or spends their last few moments on the pavement of 38th & Chicago with an agonizing I can’t breathe, and respond with… white silence? You know what white silence does? It becomes a type of fuel. One next to many that fire-up the engine known as white supremacy.
Keeping myself from sharing has taught me a lot about the “lack of.” A lot of white and non-Black people who deem themselves as allies really need to take a moment to acknowledge their own privilege and bias in the mist of that silence. As my people move through this time and seek to dismantle this system, reform policies, and heal our communities, white/non-black people need to look within themselves and ask: how do I support, how do I educate myself, and what space am I taking up that keeps another Black person’s life from mattering? Because, in turn, to be silent is to sit and watch another Black person perish much like the three officers that watched their partner do so in my hometown.
So, I say this: if you are an ally today, I should not have to tell you why Black Lives Matter. If you are an ally, I should not have to tell you why we scream, why we protest, why we demand justice, and why we take over our streets. If you are an ally, you should understand the mechanics that make it clear that the policing and criminal justice system in this country unequivocally target Black Lives. If you are an ally, I should not have to explain to you why we keep saying their names: #AhmaudArbery, #BreonnaTaylor, #FredrickCLewis, #GeorgeFloyd. If you consider yourself an ally for Black Lives and all of these things are difficult to do only because you simply “disagree,” shows that you are clearly not a supporter of Black Lives. We need justice for all Black lives NOW, and we will yell it into the ear of white silence, wherever it is hiding.