Visualize the Gift of a Lie

Isaac Addai ’21 reflects on the privilege necessary to ignore the systemic racism in modern America in this poem performed at SCU’s Vigil For Racial Justice.

Truth Teller. One more descriptor for Isaac Addai ’21. Add it to: attacker on the Bronco men’s soccer team, song writer, poet, young Black man. When George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police over Memorial Day weekend, and protests erupted across the country, many Americans were confronted with their complicity in a system and society that excludes and acts against a group of their own.

But despite “the majority of our nation witnessing racism at point-blank range right now,” Addai says, “there are still those who are in denial due to the fantasy they hold dear, which is the ‘American Dream.’” Frustrated, exhausted, and grieving for his Black community, Addai began reflecting on what a gift it would be to willfully ignore reality or one’s own privileged—a gift he’ll never receive. “When you choose not to address something for what it actually is as opposed to what it’s been made out to be, you are benefitting from a gift that is a lie,” he says. “Those who are claiming that systemic racism is not a reality, and not acknowledging their complicity in the system are not seeing this gift of the lie that there is liberty and justice for all.”

Visualize the Gift of a Lie

Written by Isaac Addai ’21 for the SCU Virtual Vigil for Racial Justice on June 2, 2020

Visualize the gift of a lie
Do you live to survive or are you living to die?
America why do your children they cry?
The bigger the pie the more they despise
Just to be told that the system is fine
It does not matter if you weren’t born with a silver knife
Don’t think, just abide
Work HARD, for a slice
9 to 5, day and night
Go to school and maintain a life
Don’t question or criticize
Or you might uncover their disguise
…And the problems they minimize
…And the people they leave behind

Visualize the gift of a lie
If you don’t seek then how will you find?
And how will you find if there’s folds on your eyes
And stables are schools, rather, crates for your mind
And they say you have choice
But they choose what is right
Build up more stables, condemn and confine
All in the form of an innocent guise
They’re destroying nations
(our nation included)
Millions have died, and millions are dying yet they still don’t know why?

And I can support the troops but never condone their fight
What good is your freedom if the world is your slave?
They claim that they raid in democracy’s name
You post on your page and claim you’re awake
But still you can’t explain when you cross me each day
Why you startle and stir like my skin is a curse

Visualize the gift of a lie
They want you and I to see life in sides
Keep us preoccupied while they profit in pride off our political ties
These ties become binds
They whistle and chime and trend all the time
Constantly telling what we should think
How we should vote and who to believe
I am not trying to say disregard all these things
But my people are dying for walking in the streets
Forget the state of the union!
Put the system on stand
Once they begin with themselves and face their denial
And have real conversations
Not fake friendly smiles

Visualize the gift of a lie
But the gift of the truth will give us true life.

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