I was raised to hate the black man,
To spit as he passed me in the street.
I was raised to hate his wife, too,
The woman I never thought to meet.
I was raised to hate their children,
All of them with skin darker than mine,
Raised not to hesitate if push came to shove;
I was never raised to love.
They had called it “Civil Rights”;
My father scoffed at the phrase.
Empathy was not in him,
Angry, he laughed. “Kids these days.”
I was raised to do what was right.
My father made sure of that.
I sat in sit-ins, I stood for freedom.
I realized you cannot be raised to love.
Even from behind these cold bars
I cheer the warriors on.