One of my favorite poems is Our Deepest Fear by Marianne Williamson. This poem speaks to me as a Black Man. Although not written for me, it allows me to reflect on my fears and the fears others have of me. Fears of a Black Man. Let me correct that, Irrational Fears of a Black Man. After the senseless killing of Daunte Wright by a Brooklyn Center police officer on Sunday, April 11, 2021, I was devastated. I was speechless. I was numb. I was distraught. I was incoherent. I was angry. However, I was not in disbelief. I was there when Jamar was killed by police. I was there when Philando was killed by police. I was there when George Floyd was killed by police and now I am here as Daunte Wright is killed by police. The state of Minnesota and the deepest fear of Minnesota police officers and the public safety system is not that they are inadequate. Their deepest IRRATIONAL fear is of an unarmed Black Man. In my reflection on Daunte’s death, George’s death, Philando’s death and Jamar’s death, I have taken the liberty to slightly modify the poem Our Deepest Fear by Marianne Williamson. It is now entitled – Their Deepest IRRATIONAL Fear of a Black Man – This is America!
Their Deepest IRRATIONAL Fear of a Black Man – This is America!
Their deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Their deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, our brilliance, not our brawn, and our commitment to our people that most frightens them.
They ask us who are we to be brilliant, handsome, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are we not to be?
We are children of God. We deserve to be treated as human beings. We deserve to live. We deserve to be fathers, brothers and friends. We don’t deserve to die.
Our playing small does not serve the world, nor does it protect us from police violence. We can raise our hands and say don’t shoot, we can be in our homes, in our cars, and in our neighborhoods and yet it does not matter. We are not safe. We are feared. We are your deepest IRRATIONAL fear.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking and it does not keep us safe from police officers. Some say if you just act calm, you will be ok. This is not true. Some say if you don’t ask questions, you will be ok. This is not true. Some say if you are not aggressive, you will be ok. This is not true. You fear us. We are your deepest IRRATIONAL fear.
We won’t feel insecure around you, but we will fear for our safety. You have guns, and yet you fear us. We can’t trust you not to kill us and when you do kill us, you want to talk about looting and civil unrest. You never want to talk about murder. You never talk about Black Lives taken. You are our deepest fear. We are afraid of you.
It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone. Our light is what you fear. Our strength is what you fear. Your fear is IRRATIONAL Your fear costs us our lives.
As we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
We want to be liberated from your fear of us,
Our presence automatically liberates others, yet your IRRATIONAL fear causes our death.
We are Kings and decedents of Royalty. We are meant to shine as children and men do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. We deserve to be treated with humanity, respect and dignity.
We are Kings. We have names. We have families. We have friends. We deserve to be treated like Royalty. We deserve to live. Our names are Jamar, Philando, George and Daunte. We will not let out lives be taken in vain. We will hold you accountable to dismantle the system that took our lives. We will hold you responsible to make sure you hold police officers and public safety systems accountable. We will hold you accountable for police reform and policy changes. We will hold you accountable to dismantle white supremacy and systemic racism. Our deepest fear is that nothing will be done and things stay the same. We do not want our deepest fear to be realized. We want things to change. Things much change. Things will change.
We are your deepest IRRATIONAL fear and racism and white supremacy is your drug that fuels your IRRATIONAL fear. You must fix that so things can change and you can be RATIONAL. Things must change. Things will change.