Photo by Elijah Pittman
Protesters, 7 with a Golden Shovel
After Gwendolyn Brooks
They told us we
were wrong to burn down real
stores and communities. We should be cool,
they said. They must understand who we
are. It is time for us to go all the way left
We will destroy systems and schools
Of thought. They underestimate who we
are. We will no longer lurk.
We will be out early, we will be out late.
We are strong. We are loud. We
are here. We strike.
We will no longer take the crooked with the straight.
Say their names. Fuck tha Police. We
Sound off. Lift every voice, we sing.
We have bricks, fireworks, and their sin
We take back our blues, we
take back our jazz
Understand: this is our June.
A week in American life
Christian Cooper was verbally assaulted, threatened through a 911 call that could have been fatal. A white woman falsely accused Cooper of harassing her while he was bird watching in the park. Because black masculinity is the threat even during a passive, yet powerful activity: connecting with the natural world he lives in.
Jimmy Fallon’s comedic Chris Rock costume (in blackface) from 20 years ago resurfaced in the form of a video. Jamie Foxx said “let this one go, there are bigger fish to fry…#changecourse*.” Can you untangle these threads, can they be separated in these United States?
George Floyd was murdered by white supremacy’s knee to his neck and a system that strong arms its citizens. To breathe for him, to choke America, they burned down an almost completed apartment development, set alight a Target and an Autozone; a challenge to a power they lack. And a day later a police precinct. To expose potent rage. Rage. This is not a reprimand. This is fire.
My 16 year old black son wept in his father’s arms.
Fifty-eight years ago in The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin told his nephew, “This is your home, my friend, do not be driven from it; great men have done great things here, and will again, and we can make America what America must become.”
I do not know if I can tell my son the same.
*McCarthy, T. (2020, May 28). Jamie Foxx defends Jimmy Fallon over ‘SNL’ blackface controversy: ‘This one is a stretch’. Retrieved May 28, 2020, from https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/jamie-foxx-jimmy-fallon-snl-blackface-controversy