This spoken word piece speaks from the perspective of a police officer coming to grips with the violence and brutality he has committed against an unarmed black man. It's an impassioned plea to stop pretending that implicit bias isn't a part of us all.
Own Your Violence: Say No More
There’s a kid on the ground. I think I put him there.
Boy shouldn’t have reached so suddenly for his underwear.
I swear it was self-defense, though I know he was unarmed.
Something in the way he moved just had me alarmed.
The media screams racism. I was just doing my job
Pin a camera on my chest, it’ll capture the rest
The bigot pigs you always wanted to see
Will show up on 13 news stations in their Sunday best
I swear I never deserved this shitstorm
Though he didn’t deserve the lead in his head
And while I got a few week’s suspension
The kid on the ground got dead.
Our readers want a name to blame
The black community says there’s hell to pay
I want to know if I got racist blood in my veins
Like all the experts say
Would I have done what I did
If that was a white family’s little kid?
Could I have gotten so on edge
If I’d just had a different beat instead?
Did society stealthily indoctrinate, and teach me to hate
Teach me to fear and revere then see wisdom just a little too late?
How much is my fault, how much is ours?
And how much is left to delegate?
I’ve had so many sleepless nights
Trying to think just how to set right
The violence in the streets, the violence in me
Is there something in me that will protect you better if your skin is white?
I don’t know.
And that’s a scary thought
Seems like an important “i”
We’d best to dot
Are we so afraid to ask
We’d rather explain away the body count?
Protect the restful sleep of the men in blue and the white collars protecting what they do
Who cares if the world think twices before they drive a car in front of you?
At least they’re safe.
But are they?
Kid at the end of my gun
Didn’t seem that way.
I never saw my priveledge
And I still can’t see it here
But I’m pretty sure,
That kid’s family sees it pretty damn clear
They understand the hurt
They understand the fear,
They understand that some rights they got,
And some are limited to those on a higher tier
But that’s how that P word works
You can’t smell that stink if you grew up in it
Can’t see how you got it better
Unless you’re on the side that’s shorted up in it.
And maybe there is something wrong with me
And maybe there is something wrong with you
But it was my finger on the trigger
And I know what I gotta do
I gotta face that boy’s family and say
That I don’t really know what happened there that day
And though nobody else can explain it away,
I want to find out together how we save others from the same fate.
It ain’t about white kids, and black kids
And the racists, and the trigger finger twitch
It’s about something happening that’s not supposed to happen
And us thinking for a second just why we think it did
Us thinking, just for a moment:
What this thing prejudice is.
What this thing priveledge is.
What’s this thing inside me that makes my blood race
When I see a shifty lookin’ black kid.
Been living in this glass house far too long
Thinkin’ a pile of rocks out there – hey what could go wrong?
I ain’t perfect, and I don’t aim to be
But I’m thinking I’d rather be a better me before I’m dead and gone
I’m tired of asking for pitty,
From a community that’s scared of me.
I’m tired of being wired
To deny any chance of police brutality
Things happen. I wish they didn’t
But I’m tired of closing my eyes to the human condition.
We fear and we hate what we do not know
This implicit bias, though, has been for too long – hidden.