Hush – A Poem For Tamir
November 28, 2014 |
Another black child on the ground
See him fall, breath gone still
Begin to feel
Rage and sorrow bubble up
Tears enough to fill a cup
Bias prickles in my mind
Strip this boy of humankind
Fight what longs to shield my heart
Realize I play a part
Put Tamir where he belongs
Access deepest mourning songs
Struck by the news this morning that Tamir Rice, 12, was not given medical attention for nearly four minutes after being shot twice by police officers, I found myself in tears. I pictured my own sons suffering from physical pain and receiving no compassion. I didn’t hold that thought for more than a few seconds before my brain began to tempt me with relief. Biased and racist thoughts seeped into my mind. I tried to rationalize this shooting. I tried to explain it away. I am ashamed to write about this reaction, my brain’s attempts to ease my suffering and stifle my empathetic response to Tamir’s death, yet I believe these are the sort of difficult things that must be brought to light and discussed.
As a privileged white woman, I could easily succumb to the balm provided by an arena I didn’t build, yet have benefited from. It takes work to stay soft, to leave my heart exposed, to feel the pain of injustice, and to speak about my thoughts. This is work that has to be done. Please join me in softening into shared humanity, feeling empathy, and fighting the bias our culture spoon-feeds us. Let’s be courageous in action, risk saying the wrong things, and encourage open dialogue about racial injustice.