Whiteousness – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

VJs Weekly challenge – Privilege

Photo: Professor Steve Locke detained on the street because he looked like someone the police wanted in relation to an attempted break-in. Steve Locke – “I Fit The Description”

“The police make me as a white woman feel safe, while my black friends, family and neighbours feel the opposite.” Natalie Portman.


Blue and red like a vapour 
flashes off the windows
all around me,
siren squeals a warning and
I pull over to the side,
my routine, rehearsed so often,
plays out in tension real,
window down,
no sudden moves,
papers and cards out,
both hands on the wheel so
he can see there's no threat,
sweating now, anxious,
is my misdemeanour worth my life,
will I bleed for colour today
to make this man feel righteous?
Do I fit the profile,
do I look like someone he
needs, wants, to shoot?
Don't stare,
sound soft, polite,
don't be black,
just make it easy on his ego,
right or wrong,
his mood determines my future,
Right or wrong,
his privilege is my death.

©Paul Vincent Cannon


Filed under Free Verse, injustice, life, poem, quote, Racism

31 responses to “Whiteousness – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

  1. Frightenly powerful,, and a scenario that’s all too true… Well executed Paul 🤔😳

    Liked by 5 people

  2. So true, so sad. Things must change and soon. I believe this may be the time, unfortunately at the cost of George Floyd’s life.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Wow. I love the word Whiteousness.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I flutter my misty eyes. Grief grips my soul afresh. Touching words.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Powerful portrait. The title says it all.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Powerfully-written, Paul. Very well said. I envy poets. You’re able to say in a poem what it took me 2,000 words to say in my blog on Monday. I love the word “whiteousness” and the way you worked in the word “misdemeanor.”

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you so much Janet. That word – I wrote it then I searched it and yes it has been out there for a while (who knew?) but it fitted for me so well. I am honoured by your comments, very much appreciated indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Charis Counselling

    Wow powerful poem well said


    Liked by 3 people

  8. I was moved by your gut-wrenching poem. I felt for the speaker. But when I tired to put myself in his place, I couldn’t do it, which is most telling of all.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I based it on stories. Though in my reckless yet thrilling youth, I was often in trouble and I had two bad interactions with police where my trust was broken and has remained so. So it did connect a bit for me. I think that’s what a lot of us white people are beginning to acknowledge – it is alien for us. Thank you for your honest response Liz.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. A really great one, Paul! So true and also so sad. Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A sensitive reflection Paul. Heartfelt!❤️☕️☕️❤️!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. you’ve captured the essence … but the poem I shared on “Silence is Violence” is even more powerful!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: What’s In A Name – One Woman's Quest II

  13. You’ve captured the times well, Paul. Very strong stuff you’ve written.

    Liked by 1 person

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