Race is a fabricated social construct. And. In my country, race is an inescapable reality, as plain as the nose on your face or the skin on your bones.

White is a lie. And. White is a hideous truth that kills and steals and destroys.

“Black is beautiful” is a powerful idea that many people have needed to internalize to arm themselves against the ugly face of white America.

People need to repeat and believe that black lives matter because white piously proclaims that it doesn’t see color, white forgets and ignores and excludes and overlooks (and kills and steals and destroys).

We can all dream a world where white and black and brown are no longer categories for people. AND. We must do the hard work of facing the living truth in the here and now – and those of us who got dealt the white card have the furthest to go in this, because we’ve had the least occasion to notice that anything is wrong.

Each one of us is the only one of us, exquisitely unique in all of time and space. And. Every one of us is, like every other one of us, completely and thoroughly human.

In our shared humanity, in our singular hearts and souls, we can untangle and break the horrific bonds of race. Not today, not all at once. And not if we don’t see it for what it is, and listen, and tell the truth.

George Floyd’s killers must be arrested, charged, and sentenced. No ifs, ands, or buts.

Here’s my song for week 22 of #songaweek2020:

White tears are decorative
White grief keeps its distance
White guilt is optional
White passion lacks persistence
White promises are broken
White skin is thick insulation
And a most effective cushion
To smother a human soul.

You can download the song for free here – https://cabinoflove.bandcamp.com/track/white


Turn to Love

Week 27 of #songaweek2016 was a horrific one in US news. Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, shot and killed by police officers. Brent Thompson, Michael Krol, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Smith, Lorne Ahrens, shot and killed by a sniper at a protest against Sterling’s and Castile’s treatment by police.

All seven of these men, real people, with complex lives and stories, each with a constellation of people who loved them, people who depended on them, people who knew them as the human beings they were. The ones who took their lives, I believe, didn’t see past the color of their skin or the uniforms they wore.

I spent a day trying to write a song in light of these events. Nothing was working out. Then I came across a quote from Jeff Hood, organizer of the Dallas protest, and the song almost wrote itself. Interestingly, the quote originally appeared in this article, but didn’t survive the article’s updates since July 8th, the day I read it. I had copied the text and saved it in the course of working on the song, so here it is:

[The Rev. Jeff] Hood, one of the organizers, said he spent hours searching for his wife as chaos unfolded in the streets.
“Ultimately, I spent those three hours talking to people, asking the question, ‘Why? Why? Why is this happening? The only answer I know now, and the only answer I knew then, was turn to love, we’ve got to turn to love, we’ve got to stop shooting.”

Everything is broken everything is bleeding
everyone is crying out for relief
everything is shaken everything is shattered
everyone is deeply aching for peace

turn and return eternally
internally externally
turn to love

this is nothing new, no this is just the latest
page in a story we’re weary of
where fear and hate and greed gain strength and gather speed
and take aim at the suffering body of love

give it all your heart and give it all your mind
soul, strength, voice, eyes, ears, hands and feet
be patient with your neighbor show mercy to the stranger
be brave in generosity