Sunday, April 1, 2012

"This is for Trayvon" - American Skin

Pull out your kleenex and listen to Bruce Springsteen's reprisal of a song he wrote years ago about the killing of Amadou Diallo. Apparently Springsteen added it to his concert performance for the first time in Tampa last week and then posted the video on youtube. Friday at a concert in Philadelphia he went public with why: "This is for Trayvon."

I am reminded of a quote from Madeleine L'Engle:

Our truest response to the irrationality of the world is to paint or sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.


  1. White people need examples of white people working through racism, and for a long time Springsteen has provided it. Very simply, he listens to people and uses his imagination to stand, so to speak, in their shoes. I am convinced that this is the radical act that white people need to engage in to get out of the mess they're in, spiritually. The bit about the mother preparing her son for school strikes me as the best bit.

    I continue to be shocked at what is coming out in the press about Martin's murder. Not so much at what happened, but by the fact that it is actually coming out. This, to me, is new. There has usually been a greater degree of complicity in the press with racist police violence than there is now. I know how virulent much of the commentary has been, but that strikes me as a sign of desperation for right wingers in the press, knowing as they do that their group is not all on the same page as this.

    Songs matter, I am convinced, because they connect to the part people have that makes them stand up for themselves and feel they can do something great.

    1. Let me add that listening and imagining is not the only thing white people need to do, but it's the critical first step. Do that, and a lot of other microscopic actions follow. Right now, the force of white people's collective microscopic actions is for the maintenance of white privilege. The little everyday things undergird the entire edifice.

    2. Bill - I understand why you use the blanket term White People - but don't. You can say rednecks, rightwingers, conservatives, etc... but not all White People need to work through racism. I'm Cherokee, Choctaw, Scottish, & Irish, and FEMALE. I'm also white for the most part. But never lived in a mostly white environment - ever. Racism and hate takes energy I'd rather expend on anything else. I don't need to work though any of that crap. And maybe because I'm ├╝berPMS I'm being sensitive to your very thoughtful, and lovely comments. Maybe we need to come up with a better term for people who never leave thier own hood - you know, the people who have no one but themselves to socialize with. The ones who have no OTHERS in their life/family - no other races, religions, political affiliation, gender, or sexuality. How about CAVE DWELLERS? Let's pretend this was between two white men, or brown men, or black men, and asian chicks, or two of THE SAME WHATEVER - The shooter in EVERY FUCKING CASE - including THIS ONE - should have been arrested, charges brought, then they could apply the insane Stand Your Ground rule AFTER all the evidence was presented. That didn't happen, there is a coverup, and now the country is more on fire than before, because the law was ignored and many CAVE DWELLERS are acting like Trayvon's race wasn't the issue, when clearly it was. This is bigger than Trayvon & Zimmerman. This is about a super coorrupt little community protecting not only the son of the local retired magistrate, but about their own asses who knew about Zimmerman's obsession with his Neighborhood Watching, and should have stopped it ages ago, like maybe with the 6th or 7th 911 call. I have to say, I'm kind of glad that something has awakened the masses. These monsters have been attacking, demeaning, and disrespecting our POTUS since day ONE - because of the color of his skin. It shouldn't have taken the murder of a child to show how much racism there is here in the US. Anyway - I need some chocolate, and I (and a lot of WHITE PEOPLE, and brown and black and purple, and green people) don't need to work though anything. The CAVE DWELLERS DO. As for White Priviledge, that's for WHITE MEN ONLY. Remember, I don't own my utuerus, WHITE MEN DO. ;) Great post babe. love ya.

    3. I think it is important to honor all one's ancestors, but white people is a functional term. As people function as white people, so are they white people. I include myself in the term, and hope that by doing so I can participate in some positive way forward in it.

  2. Beautiful tribute because it acknowledges the tragedy of living in a Black skin! This is a very real factor of being Black in America! Sooner or later we will have to admit that we are living in a police state. What are we going to do about that when congress members can only get elected by being "tough on crime".

  3. Thank you Smartypants. I reposted on mny FB page. I remeberhim writing that song, and just so sad when this all came out in NY. I saw Diablo's mother yesterday on MHP show and my heart just broke for her, and all the other teenagers and men killed because of police fears. We are in a sad state, I never really thought we would have this kind of shit going on just because we elected a Black President. Except for Hillary and Pailen some of this could have been avoided. We really have a sick society. Weeping. Obama 4 mor years!! Yes We Can


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