They spoke to me of ‘White Privilege’ but I never realized what that truly meant until I saw them storm in one day and hold down my fellow man.
They came for the poor one. The long arms of Justice had stormed through the door of the place I called home, the place where I spent my money and nourished my body with food and my mind with good company and had dragged him out.
They said it was because of cigarettes, but I had never seen that kind of frisky handwork applied to someone for such a reason like that before.
They threw him down on the sidewalk as he screamed for them to let him go. All he wanted was to be heard before being judged.
They called him a Nigger, wanted him to stay quiet. Intuition told me that this was provocation meant to rile up the downtrodden man further. Merely an excuse for them to apply further force.
They put their knees on his back as a small crowd gathered and gawked at what should have been a spectacle, but was just another day in paradise.
They watched as the downtrodden man screamed that he could not breath.
They all stood still in terror.
They knew what would happen if they interfered.
They could not stand silent any longer as a fellow brother of this Earth lay dying at the mercy of people whose rule seeks to pass judgment before due process.
They made me open my eyes that day and realize that they live in a world much different than mine. One where your guard must be kept up at all times.
They once spoke of Norman Rockwell’s suburbia as a haven for small town life but the reality of the everyman is more akin to Jean-Michel Basquiat and his beautifully-ragged depiction of urban culture in all its colors and frays.
They have opened my eyes to the Basquait behind the Rockwell where once I had only been told to see perfection I now saw reality and it made me tremble, but not for myself. I would be fine.
They made me tremble at the idea that I had never and would never know the pain that so many others feel.
They gave me a mark when I was born, but not one for anyone to cry over. I was the man who was to go through life seeing the injustice being doled out to others but never feeling it applied to himself.
They didn’t make me feel particularly good about that. But in the back of my head the thought still hit me that at least I was never going to get hit in the same way they were. Was this supposed to be comforting?
They will never allow me to truly know.