You never told me. Where you were then. This year I hold up as a year of death of change of revolution. Why didn’t you tell me? I don’t know what kind of man you were.
I don’t know if you stood up.
I don’t know if you protested,
I don’t know if you hid.
I don’t know if you said yessir and stepped off the sidewalk,
Daddy I don’t know these things, where your body was, what your body did.
But I do.
I know because as our people are being killed, my body wants to hide
to look down
to defend myself
to follow all the rules
to collapse onto the ground and pray for mercy.
You gave me fear.
You think you gave me arrogance,
you think you gave me privilege by telling me to stay out of the sun, by white washing my world, but I teach my students everyday that truth is hollow without context.
I couldn’t build that truth for myself because I didn’t know why it mattered.
I filled the emptiness you gave me with stories of black heroes.
I gave myself the history my teachers didn’t give me, and this gave me purpose.
I couldn’t be white Daddy because you didn’t tell me why that mattered. What you had seen. What you were afraid of.
Daddy, I’m standing here in a present that looks exactly like the past. Except there’s more denial, except there’s more pain, more at stake. I don’t know what to do, or how to do, or if I can.
I am scared I am not enough.
I am scared to stand up alone,
I am scared to march in a crowd,
I am scared my voice is not as loud or powerful as those before me– scared to shout truths at a room full of strangers.
All this fear, and I wonder if it’s you I’m afraid of defying. I wasn’t raised for a revolution.