I can’t breathe – T.B.P.I.K.

“Parents and schools should place great emphasis on the idea that it is all right to be different. Racism and all the other ‘isms’ grow from primitive tribalism, the instinctive hostility against those of another tribe, race, religion, nationality, class or whatever. You are a lucky child if your parents taught you to accept diversity.”     – Roger Ebert

“I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.”  –  Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird (Character – Scout)


“The Holocaust illustrates the consequences of prejudice, racism and stereotyping on a society. It forces us to examine the responsibilities of citizenship and confront the powerful ramifications of indifference and inaction.” – Tim Holden





Yes, that is how

They do it

All of them

The black people I know


They put on their pants

First one leg and then

The other

They hold down jobs – frequently

More than one – to survive

Blacks often are paid less


They eat, sleep, and shop

Cooking meals for family

Inviting friends in

Taking a hot dish

To someone whose been ill


They work in hospitals, search and

Rescue, give to charity,

Donate blood – you may have

It in you now

In crisis – do you refuse?


They are expected to remain calm

As one more is profiled

Gunned down, targeted

Until the scapegoat paradigm

Chooses to target someone else



They read books, write poems

Dream dreams, large and small

They reach out their hands

In pain and in friendship



Bisous et solidarité,


Author: Léa

A wanderer who has found home and herself in the South of France.

14 thoughts on “I can’t breathe – T.B.P.I.K.”

  1. We are all from the same piece of cloth, some shine brighter than others. This poem could cover all races and cultures across this earth. There is good in all of us, we only need to stop seeing with our eyes and use our hearts more. I wish there would come a day when no one knew what the word Racist meant anymore, because we would respect each other for our differences. Powerful stuff Lea.

    1. Growing up in a very racist house, I realised very early that I just didn’t fit in. C’est la vie! Kath, I couldn’t agree with you more and I do thank you for your kind words and support.

      1. I have noticed through time those who have grown up in that kind of environment, either follow their parents, or make the change, realising their carers were wrong. Thankfully you realised you did not fit in Lea.

  2. I live in the south in America and rejoice that my grandchildren are truly color blind when it comes to making friends at school and bringing them home. Their classes are literally tiny United Nations with representatives of almost all races and cultures and religions. Living mostly in the south for 77 years, the changes I have witnessed give me great hope. I thank Martin Luther King for this. When the Civil Rights movement began I was convinced we would not be able to avoid a violent race war.

    1. I can see where that would give one some hope. I lived mainly in California but also New York (6 years) and about five years in the midwest. I worked as a private therapist and in Child Protection. I’m afraid what I saw was not as uplifting. However, I have been in France for over seven years and do realise that there have been changes everywhere in that time.

  3. Very powerful, thought-provoking piece Lea. Different is just another way of spelling normal 🙂 xx

    1. We are all individuals and that is one of the most precious things! There is no ‘normal’ it is another attempt to label and scapegoat! 🙂 xxx

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