• lenten journal: listen, white people

    by  • February 18, 2018 • america, healing, justice, poetry, race • 6 Comments

    We worshipped today at First African Baptist Church in Richmond. It was a rich and meaningful service and the people there greeted us with extravagant hospitality. I have stories to tell about our day, but tonight, I am still dealing with feelings brought up by what I have seen while we have been here. Here’s a poem that tries to say some of what is going on inside me.

    listen, white people

    yeah, I’m talking to me
    and to you, too
    talking to anyone

    who never had to worry
    about being followed
    stopped or accused

    because of the
    color of our skin

    who never thought
    twice about a hoodie
    making us a threat

    listen right now
    we need to listen
    do you hear me?

    don’t speak of
    what the boy might
    have done wrong

    don’t explain
    make excuses or
    offer solutions

    just listen
    listen, listen, listen
    for a long time

    then, when you speak
    speak as an ally
    not an expert

    Peace,
    Milton

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    6 Responses to lenten journal: listen, white people

    1. February 18, 2018 at 11:25 pm

      Food, no, a feast for thought.

    2. February 19, 2018 at 7:25 am

      Milty, what a beautiful and very powerful poem. Thank you for the “food for thought” and sharing your incredible talents with all of us.

    3. Margaret Dolbow
      February 19, 2018 at 7:44 am

      Love the last line!

    4. Susan Row
      February 19, 2018 at 11:16 am

      Thank you, Milton. Sometimes I find it difficult to listen when the voices are so loud and angry and there is so much hate swirling around. My ears reflexively close. But I will continue to try.

    5. Shari
      February 19, 2018 at 12:11 pm

      Really wonderful poem! And so important NOW. My church is hosting 4 talks called, “How to Talk to your Racist Uncle” next weekend. With permission may I share your poem?

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