Late last night Broadway actor and heartthrob, Taye Diggs, took to the internet to post a poem on the effects of police brutality on the Black family. The poem is from a young black boy’s point of view and gives incredibly heartbreaking insight into a serious matter currently taking place within our country. In the poem, the young child is confused and can’t quite understand what is happening as his parents seem to be upset and angered by what is taking place on the television in their living room. The boy asks, “what is this tv show.”
Im finished brushing my teeth I’m coming down the stairs I’m ready for my bedtime story Does anybody care —————————————— I’m standing in my P. J.s My bunny slippers on But Ma and Pa are watching tv I think something’s wrong ——————————————- Why is mommy crying Pa She’s pointing at the screen It’s like she knows them people People I never seen ——————————————– And why does daddy look so mad Mommy do you know He keeps on rubbing the side of his head And walking to and fro ——————————————- What is this tv show —————————————– And now I start to feel real weird My insides getting heavy I yell at mommy one more time Daddy Are you forgetting —————————————- Mama slowly turns to me Her face fighting the tear She cut the tv off right quick She kneels and pulls me near Why is daddy leaving the room Why did he slam the door Mommy searches for her words In the matted carpeted floor —————————————- Honey something very bad happened We didn’t want you to see But we just saw a man get shot Right on our colored tv ————————————- Why would someone shoot that man You both said guns were not good Did the man steal or rob someone Was he not doing what he should ————————————— Then I feel my mama’s anger The straight stiff of her back No she hissed through her teeth Police shot him cuz he was black —————————————- I tilt my head with question As Daddy enters still blue But my skins dark just like the Man’s Does that mean I’ll die too? —————————————– Ma and pa stare at each other Blank scared looks on the front of their heads Neither of them could say a word As I imagine myself……. Dead.
What makes this poem so gut-wrenching is the reality of the situation. This poem is currently taking place in thousands of Black homes across America. This isn’t some imagined scenario. Turning on the television and seeing ourselves murdered by people who swore to protect us is scary enough as adults, but we have children and those children have questions. It becomes incredibly challenging trying to explain why a person was killed when your child asks, “Why would someone shoot the man? You both said guns were not good. Did the man steal or rob someone? Was he not doing what he should?” Children don’t understand words like “profiling” or terms like “systematic racism.” All they understand is good or bad, right or wrong. Their innocence does not allow their impressionable minds to see behind whatever farce is presented.
Diggs’ poem also captures the frustration Black parents feel when searching for the right words to use when answering these questions. “Why is daddy leaving the room, why did he slam the door? Mommy searches for her words in the matted carpeted floor. Honey something very bad happened. We didn’t want you to see, but we just saw a man get shot on tv.” There is a certain anger that forms within a Black parent when we are forced to introduce these types of things to our children’s psyche. Having to ruin what is supposed to be a stressless, carefree time in a person’s life with cruel realities inspire bitterness, resentment, pain, sorrow and ultimately hurt. At the risk of sounding elementary- It just isn’t fair.
We applaud Taye for being able to capture what so many of us are feeling as parents and for bringing that innocent pain of our children to the forefront to be confronted and discussed.
(If your comments mention Diggs having been previously married to a white woman or being the father of a bi-racial son, you will have proven you’ve missed the point and are as simple as you are making this issue. So…don’t.)