I’m afraid it will never go away

	He walks into the coffee shop, 

		by instinct I prepare myself
			for what he might do. 

I do not try and think this, 

	It just happens. 

I’ve been taught this way of thinking since I was a child. 

	It was rarely explicit, 
		but constantly implicit.

Black skinned men are dangerous, 
	at least most of the time.

White people are safe, 

	at least most of the time

Black man in a hoodie?

	Probably a gang member.

White man in a hoodie?

	Probably a hipster.

I can’t help it

	and i hate it.

I see a black man on the street at night
	and I get nervous.

		Again, I wonder 
			what is going to happen.

I want to shove these thoughts 

	in the back my head. 

		Hide them.

			Pretend they don’t exist. 

I want to act 

	like I have not been taught to fear

		black male skin.

But I can’t. 

	Because I’m a racist. 

		You are a racist. 

We all are. 

“But they bring it upon themselves,” you say. 


		You’re a racist. 

Maybe it’s not necessarily my fault. 

	your fault.

		We’ve been taught this, after all.

It is our society. 

	It is to blame.

It is not our fault!

	It is still our problem. 

Just because we didn’t try to be this way,

	 doesn’t mean we are not responsible.

Our future is bound up

	with our non-white brothers and sisters 

We are 

	as they are. 

Yet, it is all too easy

	to turn the other way

		and pretend it does not matter. 

“But why can’t they just get over it?” you ask.


		You have no clue 

			what they are going through.

Now is the time 

	to repent, 

		to turn towards 

			our nonwhite brothers and sisters.

	to listen, 
		No, to hear,
			to empathize.

	To learn what it is like

		to not be you.

Now is the time

	to take a pass on judgement, 
		to explain why.

Just listen. 

But even before any of that

	maybe finally admit it,

		you are a racist. 

Like me.