11.26.2014

a better world

I wish this were a better world, one in which my ten-year-old son didn’t seize all night long—like the other night—and have to be pumped full of addictive drugs that make him feel like crap yet do nothing to improve his condition. Nights like these, when I lie awake next to him for hours listening to him breathe, listening to his heartbeat, make me think of the world and others struggling in it.

I wish this were a better world, where cops and bigots didn’t kill innocent, unarmed black men, women and children nearly every single day, where a blood-orange sunset doesn't remind me of bleeding streets, wailing mothers and burning eyes. I wish this were a world where true justice could be served, a world void of those who deny the racism that soils our society—racism as ubiquitous as the effing turkeys on our Thanksgiving tables. I wish this were a world where more white folks humbly acknowledged the privileges they enjoy and take for granted, a world where they denounce the systematic oppression of minorities, the mass incarceration of black men, the voter suppression, the fear mongering, the scapegoating, the bitter contempt of people most whites know little to nothing about save the disparaging images permeating the news and the vile comments on social media. I wish this were a world where more people were seriously introspective and empathetic, then cared enough and had the spine to incite change. Because from my perspective, as long as I have lived, not enough has changed.

I wish this were a better world where neighborhoods, cities and countries weren’t divided by walls, where everyone had a home, a world in which those homes weren't torn down or chewed up and swallowed by the greed of others. I wish this were a world where everyone had enough food to eat. I wish this were a world where oligarchs didn’t rule the land, where poverty and ignorance didn’t exist, where congressmen couldn’t be bought, where millions of our citizens weren't systematically disenfranchised. I wish this were a world where the heads of corporations didn’t pocket enormous profits on the backs of people who don't receive a living wage for their toil.

I wish this were a better world where people could hope and work for change without hearing flabby platitudes issued by hardliners like, "love it or leave it." I wish this were a world where every baby born, no matter how wealthy or poor, had access to a good education and proper health care, a world where everyone had the same opportunities, because—whether you choose to believe it or not—we don't. I wish this were a world where the self-righteous didn’t impose their beliefs and preach their moral superiority, then turn around and act so ugly, hateful and contemptuous to people who they don't even know or care to understand.

I wish this were a better world, one in which—if he were healthy, normal and seizure free—my son Calvin would grow up and feel good about living in and, if it wasn't, he'd do his best to make it that way if for no other reason than it's the right thing to do.

Detroit, 1967
Ferguson, 2014

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