The Baby-faced Rose of White Privilege
I chose to capture her image
because of how she looked
innocuous, vulnerable, innocent.
She was a church mouse
with a baby-face
She did not stand out.
I did not understand
that this is the face that launched a thousand ships
There are tanks, battleships, jets,
squad cars, courts of law, and SWAT teams
ready to defend her on a moments notice.
Even predictors leave her alone.
She is an untouchable.
She is the epitome of White Privilege
and tells me so.
I didn’t quite get what that meant
until I heard her say it
She brought tears to my eyes
after I watched the video of her I took.
I saw her as the cutest baby you ever saw.
I saw her as a pre-teen shopping at the mall
with her best friends and parents credit card.
I saw her at that all-white vacation spot.
I saw her straight A report card she got
I saw her letter she was accepted to the University of O
I saw her putting that ring in her nose.
I saw her carefully selecting her hat with the rose.
I saw her setting out in the world
prepared to be someone
You know how that goes!
I saw her studying what that somebody was going to be.
I saw her making adult choices all by herself.
I saw her put her childish things behind her.
I saw her heading to this rally
so she could be seen
What struck me, was
she was not invisible to me!
I saw her making a stand that would affect her the rest of her life.
I saw her feeling she had found her people
and was with the right crowd.
I saw that she was happy with the choices she had made – thus far.
I saw that she was proud that she cared.
I saw that she had done everything that Philando had done.
The quest to be someone
is not easy.
Why is it only white folks
are allowed to make mistakes?
Being a human being
Being true to yourself
begins with understanding what that means.
Philando is her peer.
They are almost identical. But for one thing
the color of their skin
and, armies were sent over there,
battleships pounded the shore,
jets flew over head,
unloading their bombs
and the SWAT team poured out of their urban tanks.
All these things happened so she would feel safe
would feel protected
would know someones got her back.
who dare blame those armed men
This is the beautiful baby-face that launched a thousand ships
and, she only has eyes for Philando
It is he who she identifies with.
She has empathy for him.
He is her peer.
perhaps they were destined to meet,
one day. Some day
when Justice arrives
and we are all served
the promise of the gods
She had just a small rose on her plain cap.
She wore no makeup.
When did she stop looking in a mirror
while she put on her lipstick.
And that ring in her nose
Her badge of defiance.
Was it enough to get her killed?
Don’t go for your wallet, Hon
Don’t go for your gun
Don’t wear colorful clothing
Don’t have your day in the sun.
The dull baby-face rose
looks like she never gets any attention.
Baby-faced Philando got more attention then he wanted
way more attention
then he deserved!
His mother sent him out of the house warning him
giving him lessons on how be invisible,
and what he should do if he is
Those loving lessons
were of no avail.
here come a nervous man to his window
with a loaded gun
Young people. Students of life.
I feel for them. I had to walk away.
All the lessons are hard.
But, she was allowed to blend in
into the crowd
where no one knows who she is
where she is – in the world
because no one asks
for her IDENTI-FICATION
I spotted her right off.
The pathos of it all.
This great tragedy
this modern day Western
captured with hand-held cell-phone
taken out of its holster.
Many shots rang out in Texas
over a broken red light
And it wasn’t dark, yet.
The sun was just about to set
“Why are you here?” I asked.
“People are getting killed, and nothing is happening.”
White folks expect Justice to be done
for only them.
Denying Justice to others
is their lily-white privilege
there can be no Peace.
And when their brand of Peace breaks out
and the reports of the long-rifles
echo in their canyon of lies
they play their favored game
the Baby-faced Victim
with a broken wing