A poem for Black History Month in the United States of America:

You tell us that you care

Attempting to ensnare,

Our compassion, 

For what you feel is oppression,

When we demand equality.

Out comes your fragility,

That you wave about under our nose,

Expecting, I suppose,

That, we will be fooled by your tears!

When all through the years,

You have shown that you don’t give a hoot.

When police shoot,

Unarmed people who look like me,

But you claim you cannot see,

The terror and violence that has been there for so long.

From slavery, Jim Crow laws and Apartheid, by telling us we are wrong.

That it’s only because of our hate towards you,

Then, being bold by standing as if on cue.

With racists demanding your rights,

Carrying guns saying, you’re ready to fight.

Not the wrong system, but us instead.

Further being led,

By white supremacists like the Proud Boys

Who joins with other racists to make a noise.

When their candidate loses an election,

And, without direction,

They hate on black and brown people like me.

We don’t need evidence for you to see

What is going on in this life?

Just how long we have to deal with strife

When a 9-year-old black girl is handcuffed and pepper-sprayed,

By violent racists posing in blue that have now made,

Another black child fear of living. 

By giving,

Her a taste of what to expect because of her colour,

With not one policeman sober enough to bother,

To intervene, and say it’s not right what we are doing here!

Ignoring her petrified calls of fear

When I say black lives matter and cry,

You sigh,

And shout your life matters too.

Oblivious to the clue, 

That you always had the privilege of living as you wished,

Purposely, blinding yourself to what was being dished,

Out to us while you cry. 

And us standing silently by,

When you’re, asked to save others by wearing a mask.

According to you, that’s too much to ask.

Because your rights are “being violated,” while we lie, writhing in pools of blood,

Our dignity and rights trampled deep in mud.

It’s not that you don’t see.

It’s the fact that you see through people like me.

Because my black skin is not worth consideration,

In this nation,

Founded, on slavery, murder and rape.

So you could violently take,

What we would have shared if only you had been real,

And, understood that we feel.

More for people because of our humanity and kindness

Instead, you see us through blindness.

Blind to our feelings of hurt and pain,

Only, wishing to gain,

More power and money, driven by greed

Which you feed,

With words and actions designed to harm

While we are, meant to remain calm.

And be civil

In the face of evil

But for us, love will always win.

Even in the face of sin,

We will love no matter the cost.

And will rise soon, when to you, it seems as if we have lost. 

“You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I’ve got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.”

Maya Angelou