American Skin

I read somewhere that ultimate evil is knowing what is wrong, seeing what is wrong, and looking away.

I feel like I am on the outside, looking in, at two different Americas; each with separate rules of law that shine a blinding light on the hypocrisy that is so tragically astounding, it’s actually a crime. I am outraged every single time that I hear about another violent killing of an unarmed African American man/woman/child, by a white civilian, or even worse, by an officer of the law, who chooses to end the life of someone because of the color of their skin….as if it is their right to do so… as if they could get away with murder (and some do). And if you are not outraged too, then you’re not paying attention.

I am a blonde, middle-aged, educated, white woman living in New Jersey, who, by sheer will, and a determined character, does not back down from a fight. It does not escape me that I am probably the last person one expects to write about racism in America in a blog about nursing, but this is far too important to me to stay silent.

It boggles my mind that some people are quite seriously offended by a silent protest during the National Anthem at a sports event… they do not, or cannot, understand that their symbol of American patriotism and unity, in a one-minute-and-forty-second song, doesn’t apply to ALL Americans. There is no UNITY. There are Americans being killed as the words “land of the free, home of the brave” are being sung. The silent taking of a knee speaks volumes. Many are outraged by it… but what they should be outraged by, is that this is what it has come to… this plea for attention to a crisis in our country, on a public platform. Yes, it HAS come to this. Sadly.

Who Are You?

Too many people judging others’ skin, when they barely feel comfortable in their own. (ASB)

Please stop looking away. Something needs to be done. We can no longer look away while lives are lost. How do we stand up for what is right, and put racism away in the history books for good? This can’t go away on its own; we must all commit to having only ONE AMERICA, with laws that protect and apply to everyone.

One of my favorite songs by Bruce Springsteen is called 41 Shots (American Skin). Bruce has performed this song in only a select few of the many concerts that I have attended, and often in response to racial injustice. Please take a few minutes to (really) listen to the lyrics. If you haven’t been afraid to wear a hoodie, or take a jog, or drive a car… well, then count yourself as lucky, but don’t ignore the truth.

American skin (41 shots) 41 shots (8 times)

41 shots, and we’ll take that ride 
Across this bloody river to the other side 
41 shots, they cut through the night 
You’re kneeling over his body in the vestibule 
Praying for his life 

Is it a gun? Is it a knife? Is it a wallet? 
This is your life 
It ain’t no secret (it ain’t no secret) 
It ain’t no secret (it ain’t no secret) 
Ain’t no secret my friend 
You can get killed just for living in your American skin 

41 shots (4 times)

41 shots, Lena gets her son ready for school 
She says now on these streets Charles 
You got to understand the rules 
Promise me if an officer stops you’ll always be polite 
Never ever run away and promise mama you’ll keep your hands in sight 

Cause is it a gun? Is it a knife? Is it a wallet? 
This is your life 
It ain’t no secret (it ain’t no secret) 
It ain’t no secret (it ain’t no secret) 
No secret my friend 
You can get killed just for living in your American skin 

41 shots (4 times)

Is it a gun? Is it a knife? Is it a wallet? 
This is your life 
It ain’t no secret (it ain’t no secret) 
It ain’t no secret (it ain’t no secret) 
It ain’t no secret (it ain’t no secret) 

41 shots and we’ll take that ride 
Across this bloody river to the other side 
41 shots my boots caked in mud 
We’re baptized in these waters and in each other’s blood 

Is it a gun? Is it a knife? Is it a wallet? 
This is your life 
It ain’t no secret (it ain’t no secret) 
It ain’t no secret (it ain’t no secret) 
No secret my friend 
You can get killed just for living in 
You can get killed just for living in 
You can get killed just for living in 
Your American skin 

41 shots …..

Notes: Written during the reunion tour, after the police killing (with 41 shots) of an unarmed person, it was a regular inclusion until the end of that tour.


Lyrics retrieved from Bruce Springsteen Lyrics database: brucespringsteen.it