TOP OF THE TOWN – I get a kick out of so-called Christians saying there is no racism in America. It’s useless to argue with them. They have drunk 45’s Kool-Aid. At least most of them have. There is built in racism in our country. White men wrote the rules for our country over 200 hundred years ago when slavery was legal and most of the big plantations had slaves doing the heavy lifting. We have gone though phases where slavery was wiped away and replanted using a different word, a different system which still was slavery. The 13th Amendment making slavery illegal was passed in 1865, but in Douglas A Blackmon’s 2008 book “Slavery by another Name” whites got around the 13th Amendment by other means. African-Americans were subject to crimes that didn’t exist and were often put in prison and on chain gang where they were required to do heavy work in coal and steel mines. This went on into the 1920s as whites found ways to “capture” them and used them as cheap labor. The judicial system in the south ensured that this method of slave labor helped the economies of the south and made African-Americans human chattel for whites. The passage of the 15th amendment in1870 barred voting rights discrimination on the basis of race. But it left it up to the states to determine qualifications for the vote, and you can guess what happened next. African-Americans had to pass literacy tests, poll taxes and other discriminatory practices before they could vote. The result was that whites controlled the power in state legislatures and established Black Codes (Jim Crow laws) that were in place for nearly a 100 years. Jim Crow is no longer, but still linger are less obvious discrimination, including redlining that limits where African-Americans can live and establishes values for homes way less than they really are. I ran across a song on American Routes that reveals the power of discrimination. Dion had written a song based on what he saw while being with Sam Cooke on tours. He didn’t know what to do with it and 58 years after Cooke was shot and killed Dion ran into Paul Simon and showed him the song. Simon said he could do something with it, and what follows is what Dion and Simon came up with. Remember, it’s based on the experiences Dion saw while with Cooke, who was African-American and a great singer-songwriter in his own right. Cooke was a star, but was treated less then that away from the stage. Here goes:

Song for Sam Cooke (here in America)


“We traveled this land back in nineteen sixty-two
We played the places that were home to me and you
We drove to Memphis, we rocked a set
We walked the streets at night and smoked a cigarette
Here in America

Here in America
There was so much I didn’t know
About the way that life could go
Here in America

Down the block I saw the people stop and stare
You did your best to make a Yankee boy aware
I never thought about the color of your skin
I never worried ’bout the hotel I was in
Here in America

Here in America (in America)
But the places I could stay
They all made you walk away
Here in America

You were the man who earned the glory and the fame
But cowards felt that they could call you any name
You were the star, standing in the light
That won you nothing on a city street at night
Here in America

Here in America
You were told that we were free
This land is made for you and me
Here in America

You stayed more steady than a backbeat on a drum
You told me you believed a change was gonna come
You sang for freedom, but lived life free
I saw it in your smile and in your dignity
Here in America

Here in America
A preacher’s kid you’d always be
Singing the truth to set us free
Here in America
Here in America

You were a star when you were standing on a stage
I look back on it, I feel a burning rage
You sang “You Send Me, ” I sang “I Wonder Why”
I still wonder, you were way too young to die
Here in America

Here in America
Hey Sam, I wish that you were near
I wish that you were here
Here in America

Here in America
In America
Here in America”


 Sorry to bring this up, but I feel we have done some horrible things to people who have a black or brown skin and it’s all so unnecessary. Skin color does not define a person. Character does. And despite what others say, racism is alive in America today. Even our black star athletes have to be careful when out and about. It’s sick. We all should want peace and equal justice for all. That’s it for today. Stay safe.

Be well pal.

Be careful out there.

Have a great day.

You are loved.