The Watch Game

The cries of a newborn Black baby in America make them an immediate participant in a game they will play for the rest of their lives.

The Watch Game

Watch how you cry
Watch how you eat
Watch your crankiness if you haven’t had sleep
Watch how your terrible twos show in the aisle
Watch that if you’re greeted you always smile

Watch how in kindergarten you learn right away
Watch that you do everything that they say
Watch that you can’t take too long to learn
Watch that you can’t have disabilities or cause for concern

Watch how you laugh
Watch the volume of your voice
Watch how you answer when given a choice
Watch how you test
Watch how you see
Watch that you don’t anger the powers that be

Watch how you dress
Watch what you wear
Watch how you twist out the kinks of your hair

Watch how you address authority even if you’re right
Watch that your emotions don’t lead to a fight
Watch when you’re scared, you control your fate
Watch that you don’t allow the situation to escalate

Watch where you go to seek medical help
Watch how you express the pain that is felt
Watch your exchange if something’s amiss
Watch how you respond when your claims are dismissed

Watch where you go for work or for play
Watch where you reside at the end of the day
Watch how you exercise
Watch where you sleep
Watch that if you’re approached and don’t make a peep.

Watch how you complain about these rules you didn’t write
Watch how you point out the disproportionate plight.
Watch how your people express how they feel.
Watch how you stand up, or sit down or kneel

And while you’re watching all these things happen in your space
Watch some people say it isn’t about race
And watch another Black person when their death is discovered
Have their lives dismissed when racism is uncovered
And watch social media take weeks to decide
On whether the death is justified

And watch the grand jury when they get the case
And watch the charges come late, just to save face
And watch the minimum sentence given when it’s over and done
And watch the demand for forgiveness like every other one

And watch how the frenzy subsides and then dies
Watch the cycle start again…when a black baby cries.

You know I’m right.

-Danita LaShelle

One Comment Add yours

  1. Phyllis Jones says:

    I’m the mother of two sons, ages 19 and 13. I pray for their safety w/o ceasing. This was well written!! Sums it up!!


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