Whites Who Say Blacks Are Racist Are Onto Something

08/31/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

In America, we don't have a ritual for healing
We just hope for the best

So when Mr. Gates came home, the door was locked
And when Mr. Obama came home, the door was open

And I said, Wow look at that who would've thought:
Sometimes you have to force the door

Thanks for bringing this to my attention
I'll keep that in mind for next time!

Like my super who taught me how to use a credit card
When I got locked out of my old place once

I remember thinking, do it quick because this'll look bad
Or worse, someone'll see how easy it is to break in

We kids knew which window to climb through if we came home late
Not like people didn't know we were the only black family who lived there

Maybe Mr. Gates should've had a special window
He's an old man sure but he could have tumbled in nicely

I can't say though that the Gates' case is about breaking and entering
And it's not a matter of misunderstandings either

In some places, a man can shoot someone on his property
On what grounds would a black man ever dare to do that?

No, this is more about how black men kowtow to white men
And how this makes white men and black men feel

Some white men might like it, maybe others feel guilty -
C'mon, tell me how you really feel

Or, I know you hate me inside, just admit it
Then I'll trust you

What can a black man say to that?
So, I think the whites who say blacks are racist are onto something

Mr. Glenn Beck, for example, is really showing us
That he cannot understand how black men can take it

In his mind it doesn't add up
How can it be that people who are treated badly are not filled with hate?

Why do you not hate, like me
Mr. Beck wants to know

But he does not understand how suffering can change people
Besides, many blacks are not raised to be so cavalier with their emotions

There are outlets for these things
I hate to get all Franz Fanon on you, but Fanon had a kind of answer

A line about how some blacks escape through activity
For me, I run

I run because this is my idea of what it is like to be free
I can go fast

When I run I am not thinking
In order to go fast, I have to put all my energy into it

I don't have any more space then for
How I was hurt or what I want

And this feels good
To be free of it

So people can do individual work on themselves
But collectively, this is a murkier problem

Obama was smart; he got elected by ejecting from this discussion
This is an unsolvable problem if you look at it directly

He's humoring us by saying I can teach you how to be nice
(Stupid, you should already know that after all)

The problem gets muddier still because I can't say
That I often feel sorry for black men

You see, they can turn on their own
And not just in the Shelby Steele kind of way

I am thinking smaller, I am walking through my neighborhood
And a middle-aged black man is telling me he's looking at my crotch

Another says he thinks my ass looks like this or that
His eyes wanting to be heard but he's turned downwards

His cigarette dribbling onto the pavement
Is this how men behave?

These creatures are overcome by what they want to inflict
Empowered when they think they see someone weaker

They didn't start out this way
A boy hands me a quarter I've dropped out of my wallet

He's running pauses to give it to me - Here, Miss
And then he's off like a bird

Before I can really see him clearly
What kind of man will he grow up to be?

He does not have to let the rage which will probably visit him
Curl up inside his body like a spider and when it comes out

All eight legs hitting his kids or wife or girlfriend
Or cellmate or coworker, always on guard and watchful

Drinking, snorting, toking himself
To ease the pain, ready to hurt or be hurt

We kill ourselves more easily than we will step on toes
But it's not so complicated

It is however hard to regain your dignity
Especially when you look for it from others

[The Fanon line is on pg. 52, where he's talking about dreams of activity,
and I've extended his idea to awake-time.]