Black in America: I Can’t Breathe

They say the blacker the berry,
The sweeter the juice.
But the Black experience in America
Makes that statement far from the truth.

Ain’t nothing sweet about loving a world
That resents you in return.
There’s nothing sweet about
Wondering if your son will make it back home.

I can’t sleep at night!
I toss and turn
Trying to understand why the past is still our present.
Why are we only “Free-ish”
When the souls of our ancestors
Are deeply woven into the fabric of this nation?

Their sweat has watered the sands you stand on;
Their tears helped wash away the pain
As they were beaten and families torn apart…
Our experience has not been the same!

I’ll never understand how you love our rhythm
but hate to hear our blues.
Well we’re tired of seeing our black men and women
Being slaughtered on the news!
Tired of innocent black lives
Being taken way too soon.
Tired of explaining to our children
Why you have to kill us to see that we all bleed maroon.

I can’t live!
I have to watch my back… My darkness is what you fear.
It’s because of my exterior that you’ve ruled me inferior
Remember, we didn’t ask to be here!

I can’t breathe
With America’s hate for me crushing down on my neck.
You’ll literally squeeze the breath out of my body
Because my existence to you is a threat.

Respect the badge for what?
Does that badge really have my back?
If you protect my people like you protect that flag
We wouldn’t even have to question that!

All men were created equal
We hold this to be clearly NOT true!
Blacks are disproportionately stopped, searched and brutalized.
We’ve always been second-class citizens to you.

The hate has been institutionalized, so we are still criminalized
Our only guilt: we are highly melanated!
Blackest coffee, toasted almonds dripping honey…
We are a taste that hasn’t been fully acquired yet.

An illusion of progress paints a portrait of freedom
But we’re only free inside of our own bubble.
When racial injustices pop and expose the disparities within
People get scared and try to run for cover.

I can’t breathe as my life fades to black
At the hands of those who promised to protect me.
Cries out to my mother goes ignored
Because my life to you was never worth the pleas.

So you have a right to remain silent…
Anything you say won’t erase the pain.
Let the protests begin because 400 years later
We still ain’t overcame!

Copyright © 2020 LaToya White. All Rights Reserved.

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