For months, I’ve been trying to formulate the words to say how I truly feel, and each time I just draw a blank. So I’m just going to let it flow freely and hope you hear my heart.
Dear Black Man,
I choose to see you.
Not just what you show me, but underneath
I admit, I accepted your armor without processing your war
It’s not that I didn’t notice your wounds
It’s that I accepted them as the way things are
I never saw another version for you
I never saw a life where you are treated like them
I accepted what is—what has been—and said nothing
I was wrong for that.
I assumed you were superhuman
I did not consider how you must feel
The pain of your days
Or fear of your nights
I assumed you felt nothing.
That your wounds had calloused over
That the daily offenses no longer had impact
I was so wrong for that.
I should have known better.
I should have comforted you more.
I should have asked you what it’s like.
I should have been your refuge.
I should have seen the pain and fear in your eyes
And not viewed it as anger.
You are not superhuman.
You have feelings, you breathe, and you bleed.
You have walked far too long alone.
I am on your side.
I love you.
I see you.
And I apologize.
— Marlene Dillon, Empowerment Specialist