Thursday, August 4, 2016

Dear Marshall/Shady/Eminem:

Like so many Americans, I'm a fan of your music.

Like you, I am white. I am angry. I am creative. I am a parent.

I have a deep, abiding love for life while at the same time struggling with depression.

You move me.

I further respect you for working for your fame and for being so obviously devoted to your children despite your personal challenges. I feel you embody some of the best qualities of humanity while giving voice—powerfully, rhythmically, and (sometimes) humorously—to the worst. I love what you do and thank you for it.

As I see it, you brought rap to the masses and, throughout your albums, have shared a personal story which resonates deeply across color lines. I respect that you have historically been a “rebel without a cause” who may have nothing more to share than this.

I also feel like there is a bigger story to tell, which white America desperately needs to hear, and that the best person to get any of us to listen is you. This story is about race, authority, war and everyone's ability to call for and create change. It feels a lot like the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, reloaded, with greater focus and sharper teeth.

Do you think you could at least incite a rally cry?

Americans right now need more than internet memes and canned news. We need music--GOOD MUSIC, which speaks directly to the present onslaught of racism and police-centered brutality, which makes people feel that this is not okay, which somehow inspires us to get past our fears and use anger AND compassion to shift the course of our society.

If you're interested in receiving some lyrical input from a random Southern white woman, I am here for you. Otherwise, I hope my words at least motivate something awesome.



P.S. Here are some links and my related (in italics) observations.

Un-Armed Therapist Shot by Police While Trying to Calm Autistic Man: Coming on the heels of Philando Castile's untimely slaughter, this story perhaps most clearly demonstrates the point: There is an issue with how police officers are trained. They have Pavlovian triggers which cause them to actually shoot, injure and sometimes kill innocent people. Officers are inherently endangered & need protection. However, the protection their shoot-when-you-FEEL-threatened programming offers officers is far outweighed by the danger it poses to the general population. It has to end. 

Aren't More White People than Black People Killed by the Police? Yes, but no and After Dallas, We Don't Need to Say 'Blue Lives Matter': 1. Police use of excessive force against both black & white citizens is at an unacceptable height. 2. While more white people than black people are murdered by police each year, the white people usually are causing a direct threat while the black people usually are not, showing a bias against black people. This is not to say that the bias is against black people generally speaking. Rather, it is to say that officers are more likely to be inherently frightened of black people and to perceive and react to perceived danger posed by blacks when there is actually none. 3. A solid response would be sweeping police reform, focused largely on better educating officers about how to deal with real vs. perceived threats, as well as on better psychological screening of prospective officers and better access to routine psychological care for officers who become unstable as a result of their constant exposure to de-stabilizing situations. 4. As point 3 goes, I feel it should also be extended to our military officers. Both the Dallas and Baton Rouge shootings struck me less as being about a black man's rage at the police than as being about a veteran's untreated psychosis.

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