• Tiger Lily Raphael

Poem: My Privilege

Updated: Jun 12, 2020

Never, have I ever had to live in fear

That an other might want to hurt me, or mine,

Simply for the way I appear.

Never, have I ever lived to hear

The colour of my skin sworn at me,

Turned to poison and spat in my ear.

Never, has anyone ever touched my hair,

Unless I wanted them to,

With love and care.

I did not understand when my beautiful friend

Was attacked, as we stood together in a shop,

Because I was not, and have never had to defend.

Nor could I comprehend why my other beautiful friend,

A devoted mother, has to search for a place where her boy will be safe,

From himself. Away from her home, her family, her ends.

I lived my whole life feeling the warmth... tasting the spice... dancing all night,

From Brixton, to Bristol, Malawi to Jamaica, I rejoiced,

And thought that my privilege was the unwritten invite.

Never, did anyone ever tell me to ‘go home’, or that I don’t belong.

I felt no fear of danger that wasn’t near, no pain from words I didn’t hear

Or an acid stare, burning deep, hard and long.

I saw only beauty, although I knew the words and sang the song,

Though it was clear in my mind that what was wrong wasn’t right.

But I didn’t take up the fight; it wasn’t mine, ‘cause I am white.

My privilege: an invisible shield I never even had to wield.

But now it burns in my hand, and heat rises in my heart. It’s fuming.

‘Cause all lives don’t matter when a black man is forced to yield under a white man’s kneel.

I was not angry enough when my friends were attacked and displaced,

When they bleed, burn, and plead, at home, where we work and kids play,

Spending every dread day running a fixed race.

I am angry now. Until there is justice for all, there is peace for none.

Only when black lives matter as much as white ones,

Can we live peacefully under the light of the sun.

The shadows of history cannot be rubbed out, but the future is written today,

Not with silence, but by voices many and loud, all colours and shades,

Telling new stories, as we stand together and bear witness to change.

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