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When They See Us: Spoken Word Poetry (inspired by the Netflix series and the movie, Woodlawn).
I heard them say that:
we are not good enough
we are not worthy of love.
Injustice hides behind the scenes,
dictating rules, implementing policies — playing politics— he causes conflicts,
judges by the colour of our skin, by social statuses because well, cash rules everything. I heard him say:
“Arrest truth! Suppress him. Put him to death. Bury him. They will never see or hear him”.
But he forgets, truth never dies— he’ll always come back.
When they see us, they tell us:
“abide by this, abide by that— do everything we tell you to. Truth is dead, he cannot
save you. We rule because we are multiples of falsehood. The only victory you have is failure. Your voices will go unheard; your rights— behind bars. You
are not worthy of good; you’ll pay for the crimes you did not commit.”
When they see us, they are vicious,
suspicious — we are tagged dubious, incapable of any good.
When they see us, they race towards us with hatred so strong, they attack us
and trample on us.
When they see us, hell lets loose
we are bound and we are bruised,
abused and accused,
we are used and confused while they make up excuses for our plight.
When they see us, I wonder what they see
but if they look close enough,
they’ll see a lot more than the colour of our skin.
Written and Performed by Viano Dee
About the poem
The poem when they see us was inspired by the Netflix series which bears the same title. It is the tale of 5 young boys wrongly accused and sentenced to imprisonment for crimes they did not commit.
The poem was also partly inspired by the movie Woodlawn which also deals with racism but in the end, is conquered by love.
The poem gives a summary of what it feels like to be a person of colour in racist environments. But the truth is at the end of the day, we are all humans. We are all souls. No one is superior. Colour is exactly what it is— colour.
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