thanks very much for your thought provoking video. i’m an English teacher hoping to use your poetry in my English Literature course this coming semester. i’ve taken the liberty of editing your text for punctuation, grammar, and spelling and to make it conform more closely to the spoken word of your video. Please find my transcription below:
Black Does Not Equal Fear
George Zimmerman: (edited 911 call)
Hey, we’ve had some break-ins in my neighborhood and there’s a real suspicious guy… this guy looks like he’s up to no good or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around and looking about.
Dispatcher: Did you see what he was wearing?
GZ: Yeah. A dark hoodie, like a grey hoodie, and either jeans or sweatpants and white tennis shoes. He’s here now, he’s just staring…
I am black.
Do you fear me?
Is it from what you’ve heard
Or what you see?
I wear sweatshirts, Polos, and white Ts,
But it’s not my clothes that indict me.
It’s not my actions, education, or personality;
It’s my nose, my lips and my ancestry.
Why does my skin speak louder that the words I say?
We don’t assume all whites are Timothy McVeigh.
If I plead the fifth and don’t add to my case
I can’t escape your ideas of my race.
It’s ok to infer, conclude, perceive.
As long as we know what we deduct can deceive.
Admit you could be wrong,
Cause you don’t know me.
That’s all that I ask, I’m begging you please.
If I have a ball you clap and cheer,
But outside the game you quiver in fear.
I see purses clutched closer, doors lock as I pass,
Words laced with curses. No wonder we clash.
Justice in court
Will always fall short
If we don’t begin to take a fresh start.
The judge tried to exclude race. That’s a fact.
But the jury could not forget that Trayvon was black.
No need to see race and then pick us apart
Cause we all look the same when we stand in the dark.
Now judge me simply by my diction.
Hear my emotion and conviction.
I want to enlighten not divide.
I want respect for your life and mine.
If fear is the cause, that’s something we share.
And fear is caused from not knowing what’s there.
So, like President Obama, let me be clear:
I’m a black man,
And I’m not going anywhere.
I’m part of some gangs you’ve heard all about.
I’m an Aggie alum,
And a proud Eagle Scout.
Entrepreneur starting a career.
I will identify myself so you’ll see there’s nothing to fear.
The idea of being black has been twisted so much.
We’re said to be savage, ghetto, and ratchet,
Threatening, and lazy, and sitting on our butts.
And those that know me still seem to judge.
You call me white cause I’m none of the above.
I’ve been called black, and I’ve been called white
Based on what you believe, neither is right.
I am Chris, one of a kind.
So don’t judge me by your experiences but by mine.
And I’m inclined to tell you, I’m not alone.
In moments like this we all can be strong.
Let our voices be heard. Let them relish the sound.
Cause how can we move forward, if we all stand our ground?
After that verdict, the value of my life seemed bleak.
What are my chances if they demonize me?
So we fear for our lives, to a certain extent,
But this video is our self-defense.
Chris Beasley, July 2013