Watch the full poem: Javon Johnson - “cuz he’s black”
The video of this poem wasn’t recorded or posted today. It wasn’t recorded this week. This recording of Javon Johnson’s poem was published just a few days shy of a year ago.
“It’s not about whether the shooter is racist. It’s about how poor black boys are treated as problems Well before we’re treated as people.”
And we stand here and shake our heads at those people screaming and raging at hundreds of years of hate and mistreatment. We mutter about how surely Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Jordan Davis, how any and all of them surely did something to provoke the hostile response that brought about their deaths. We allow a dozen looters, a handful of people out of hundreds of protesters, to influence our sympathy toward an active outpouring of righteous anger and grief.
Shame on us. Shame on us and worse if we do not actively, loudly, and ceaselessly strive to change this hateful, evil, and racist system.
Do not say it’s not your fault. Do not say your family never owned slaves. Do not say you’re not a racist. Do not say anything that attempts to absolve you of guilt. Instead of defending yourself, defend those who are robbed of their voices and their lives. Speak up every time you hear someone—a friend, a relative, a co-worker—say something racist. Make it clear to everyone with whom you interact that you do not tolerate those comments, those jokes, those insidious remarks that marginalize and belittle people who are dying because of their skin color.
It’s trite, but true: If you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem. You are the problem. You. Not the poor black boys in Mr. Johnson’s poem. You.