New York Law School

A poem about my frustration over racial injustice and the lack of empathy.

I’m so Tired
By Linda Valdez

I’m so tired.
I’m so tired of turning on my television, or opening my Social Media pages and seeing the killing of another Black Man!
I’m so tired of reading the posts of people disparaging the Black Community for their outrage, and for the way they protest…whether silently taking a knee, marching, or downright civil disobedience.
Civil Disobedience is a huge part of American History! Many of the gains that have been achieved, happened, in part, because of Civil Disobedience.
I’m so tired that on my Social Media feed there is nothing but silence when another unarmed or licensed to carry Black Man, or even a child, is killed. Just once, I was hoping that maybe someone would say, how awful, would question what’s going on, would offer sympathy to a family or a community. But none of that.
I’m so tired.
I’m so tired of their use of the word “ignorant” leveled towards protesters and those that have been killed!
I’m so tired that they think they can tell Black people in America how we should be responding to an outrage, that hasn’t manifested itself in their communities!
I’m so tired that these educated people so freely espouse their opinions, disguised as facts.
I’m so tired that so many think it’s ok to say whatever they want, without regard to others, yet let the reverse happen, and they lose their minds!
I’m so tired of hearing folks say that violence is not American, and not the way to get results, yet that’s what this America was founded on.
I’m so tired.
I wish they would take their blinders and rose colored glasses off, and see The Truth!
I took my rose colored glasses off a long time ago, and what I opened my eyes to, is reality; an ugly, but true, reality in America!
I am so tired.
I am so tired of smiling when I feel like yelling.
I am so tired of being the go to Black friend, when an associate calls them out on their racist views!
I am so tired of being silent!
My silence ends today.
The truth is, the New World, this United States of America, was formed out of ethnic and racial violence from the first time European settlers stepped foot on this land! A land that was already occupied by existing Native Americans! Yet, through violence, amounting to genocide, nearly an entire population of people was killed, and the land was suddenly “discovered” by someone else!
This violence is a part of America’s democratic history.
I am so tired!
The narrative that was spoon fed to all of us as children about the nice Pilgrims, helping the savage “Indians” and the wonderful celebratory Thanksgiving Dinner, is a fallacy perpetuated to maintain someone else’s supremacy.
I am so tired!
Violence in America is not the democratic way. Huh! That’s funny. Tell that to the many Black people dragged to this country in inhumane conditions in the belly of ships, forced to live and work as slaves! Slavery was violence.
That is a part of America’s violent democratic history!
I am so tired!
The origins of America’s own original homegrown terrorist group, the Ku Klux Klan, the night riders who threatened, maimed, hung, shot, killed, and burned Black people, basically for sport, while a blind eye was turned, is all a part of America’s violent democratic history.
I am so tired.
This country was built on violence, savagery and racism. Its gains were secured off the backs of those who they controlled through violence.
I am so tired!
I could mention the violence and Internment of innocent Asians, but I won’t, because, well at least there was an acknowledgment of a wrong, and reparations paid.
I am so tired.
I am so tired of folks talking about the low percentage of Black people owning property, yet they forget that blacks were shut out of that process for decades, through the systemic racism written into FHA and other documents.
I am so tired.
I am so tired of folks talking about the number of Black people in prisons, and the number of Black people residing in ghettos, yet they fail to talk about how the mass incarceration of non violent minor drug offenses sent millions of black men and women to prison, destroyed their families and eviscerated their communities, yet whites who did the same thing were not arrested or imprisoned at the same rate, or for the same length of time!
I am so tired.
I am so tired of hearing how Black people should get over slavery, the Civil Rights movement, and Jim Crow! That’s funny, because the fallout of all of that still exists today! Just because you don’t talk about it, or because you are not personally affected by it, doesn’t meant that it does not exist!
I am so tired!
I am so tired of reminding my sons of what to do to hopefully stay alive in this post Civil Rights America. But I still have to, because someone who carries fear, ignorance, or racism within them, may not see my sons for the well raised, well educated, young men that they are!
I am so tired.
This Southern born, 60’s child, with a radical spirit, is tired.
If you didn’t watch your Grandmother, who worked as a domestic, go in the back door of a home and hear the young child call her by first name, while she referred to him as Mister, then you can’t tell me how to act, react, or feel about anything!
If you haven’t been followed in a store and watched while shopping, you don’t have a right to tell me how to feel.
If you haven’t had the police watch you in a parking lot after your sons basketball game ended, for ten whole minutes, and as soon as the last white child left, zoom his car so close to you, that you thought he was going to run down your child, only to ask you, “what are you folks doing over here”, and interrogate you like you were a criminal, then you can’t tell me how to react to the police.
If you haven’t had to remind your kids that just because of the color of their skin, they may be perceived a certain way by some people, and that they can’t do the same things as their friends, because somehow if they do it, it’s criminal, though if their friends do it, it’s kids being kids, then you can not tell me how to raise my children!
If you never had a well-meaning friend tell you that her parent doesn’t like black people because of an incident that they encountered once with a black person, but he likes you, and somehow make that okay, then you can’t tell me about racism; you don’t hold an entire race of people in contempt because of the action of one.
If you haven’t had a supervisor on a work outing to the beach, try to reassure you that it’s okay that you can’t swim, because she read in a book that blacks can’t swim because of how they’re built, then you don’t have the right to tell me what is ignorant!
I am so tired!
I am so tired of the ignorance spewed by people who are more outraged at an athlete for failing to stand for an anthem, than they are when a person is killed!
I am so tired that they haven’t removed their blinders!
I can no longer remain silent!
Silence is blind acceptance, and I removed my blinders a long time again!

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