The World We Live In (A Poem by Jonah M. Daniels)

Tavis Coburn MLK

The World We Live In
Got to be careful around black people. That’s the world we live in nowadays

shoot first, never ask questions. That’s the world we live in nowadays

Break down and destroy. That’s the world we live in nowadays

shots in the night, a 12 year old boy. That’s the world we live in nowadays

Riot and loot, you’ll get what’s coming to you. That’s the world we live in nowadays

racism is dead, at least that’s what they said. But it’s not as dead as those boys.

bloods red

but hey, That’s the world we live in nowadays… right?


-By Jonah M. Daniels

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  • Eric

    Not very good poetry.

    • Josiah Daniels

      Well Eric I would challenge you and say that this isn’t a very good comment considering you offer no critique or an avenue to engage in charitable dialogue.

    • Jonah

      thank you for your honest input. God bless
      Jonah M. Daniels

    • Jordon Gianni Prosapio

      Eric, your comment sucks ^^^ do better.

  • Jordon Gianni Prosapio

    I appreciate this poem. I hate defining myself as a white person, but I am and it affects my perspective. That being said…

    I want to be able to say that racism against black people in America is dead. I think that the man in the picture posted along with this poem would rejoice and be proud of the current state of America. However, I don’t think he would ignore what is going on in the ghettos. I also know that racism in America isn’t limited to the ghettos. I have walked away from many friendships because of the stupid things they say about black people (and anyone else that is not white for that matter) that are hateful, but justified as “jokes.” Unfortunately I have heard enough white people make these “jokes” to realize that they are not actually jokes. They are rooted in a deep-seeded sense of racism, possibly even hate.

    More than hate though, I believe this seed to be fear. Not fear of black people, but fear of the unknown. Fear of “black culture.” Or a step further, fear of “ghetto culture.” They see a culture expressed by many African Americans that they don’t understand because they haven’t lived through it. They think it is easy to identify those who subscribe to that culture based on their skin color and clothing. Their judgment of the people in that culture leads them to racism against all people who share qualities with those people. Black people in general, or anyone who wears baggy clothes – a black person in baggy clothes becomes a violent thug, no brainer.

    They would never admit to it. Many of them probably don’t even realize it. They are racists and it comes out through their “jokes.”

    Regarding the shootings. I don’t know the motive for them, however if I tried to put myself into the shoes of a racist who didn’t know he was a racist, especially one with a badge and a gun, I can begin to understand why they are pulling the trigger.

    They want to tuck in their kid at night, and kiss their wife and tell her they love her for the rest of their lives, or maybe they want to do other things with the rest of their lives. Either way, they want to live, and they have heard enough stories and know enough people, probably even friends who were cops that got shot down because they didn’t pull the trigger fast enough when they pulled over some “black thug” in the bad part of town. When they pull over a black person they are scared for their lives. When that black person does anything that would resemble intent to maybe, just maybe become violent that cop is going to pull the trigger. Maybe that cop doesn’t even know how ready he is, or how truly scared that he is.

    I have been reading the articles and watching the news stories of all the crimes. Racism is not dead in America, but I do not believe that these shootings are hate crimes – not until I hear it out of the mouths of the shooters. I believe them to be racists, even though I doubt they believe themselves to be racists. I sympathize for both sides, the killer and the killed are both victims and I don’t know which one I pity more. One of them has to finish his life as the racist who murdered an innocent kid, I believe the other gets to move on from this realm into a more pleasant one (I hope).

    There is racism, but there are also two sides of the story to be told. I appreciate this poem, but I also would like to see more people trying to find common ground. Let’s not ignore the violence, but let’s also recognize and encourage the opposite. The iconic photo of the black boy and white cop hugging in Portland is a good start. Let’s champion interracial marriage, and working together to clean up the ghetto. Let’s work as one race to eliminate racism, not as white folks blaming black folks or black folks blaming white folks.

    On another note, I applaud Obama for having the strength to give citizenship to all the ex-aliens of our country, that was a big step for man kind that I would not have been able to take on my own.

    • Josiah Daniels

      I agree with some of what you are saying here, but there are other aspects of your argument that you and I might differ.

      1) King would not be happy about where America is today. More than that, he would be extremely disappointed in Obama as well as the church. I’m comfortable saying the only two good things Obama has done are granting citizenship to 5 million people and installing socialized medicine. Other than that, it has been tough for me to tell the difference between he and Bush. Especially in regards to foreign policy.

      2) For most of college, I tried to convince myself things were getting better for persons of color, but then I cam to seminary and that lie was exposed. There is a book called The New Jim Crow (Michelle Alexander) that talks about how the U.S. Prison Industrial system is specifically targeting poor black and brown men. Let me put it to you this way, there are more black men under correctional control today then there were slaves in 1850. For more on this, see my series entitled: How Long Will Justice be Crucified and Truth Buried?

      3) There needs to be less talk about reconciliation and more talk about addressing systemic issues. Privileged people (and I consider myself one) always want to say “peace, peace” where there is no peace. Inter-racial marriages and racial understanding are merely a facade if systemic injustices are never addressed.

      4) You’ll never here any of these men say that they shot Tamir Rice or Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown because they were afraid they were black. However, Wilson got pretty damn close to saying that when he described Brown as a “demon.” Do a bit of research on it. That told me everything I needed to know about Wilson’s motivations for shooting Brown.

      5) Lastly, because I am a pacifist with anabaptist (read anarchist of you like) proclivities, I will never be on board with state sanctioned violence. In other words, I am never going to defend the army or the police for using force against citizens or non-citizens. While it might be permissible within U.S. Law, it is not the way of the Cross. Therefore, I condemn it wholesale.

      Good comment. Thanks for the dialogue.

    • Jonah

      Dear Jordon,
      Thank you for sharing good, honest thoughts. The main goal of writing this poem was to have people just give deeper thought to some of what is going on. I agree wholeheartedly that there is more than one side and it should not just be, “black folks blaming white folks.” I think more often than not that is the rut we allow ourselves as people to get into. That is the point of the refrain at the very end. “But hey, thats the world we live in nowadays… right?” I myself need to realize we don’t have to just be okay with the way things are. We don’t have to settle for, “racism is mostly dead”. Through non-violent action and open, restorative dialog between all peoples involved we can end this sickness that has plagued our country since it’s birth. I don’t fancy myself a poet but God put some words in my head I thought I’d share. Thanks for reading man.

  • Michael Wiltshire

    Thanks for this Jonah.