To the FBI with its despicable fabrication of “Black identity extremism” as a terrorist threat, I offer this song that debuted seventeen years ago. The white singer, responding to the murder of an unarmed Amadou Diallo by New York City police, imagined a black mother giving her young son “the talk” before sending him off to school.
This outraged the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and won Mr. Springsteen a Humanitarian Award from the NAACP. I still want to know why this beautiful, sad song was controversial. It has had to be sung for too many other victims, including in 2012 for Trayvon Martin.
Racist evil has taken over our Department of Justice thanks to people refusing to perform their civic duty of voting, other votes being suppressed, disinformation, and slander. With the cheap trick of false moral equivalence, Black Lives Matter and activist DeRay Mckesson are blamed for violence they have not advocated.
Our country is in full backlash. All it would take to stop the killings is for Bruce’s simple act of imagination to be repeated by millions of others seeing through that mother’s eyes. While so many instead eagerly consume fear and hatred stoked by cynical men, those of us with clearer gaze will honor the dead in continued struggle and witness, and with music that forever recalls us to our humanity.
Ain’t no secret my friend
You can get killed just for living in your American skin.
This country belongs to the Amadous and Trayvons as much as to anyone else. Preferring death and destruction to facing that fact is a monstrous betrayal, ill concealed by wrapping it in a flag.