WEEKLY WRAP UP: August 7-13 / by Matt Safer

 Photo by Christos Katsiaouni

Photo by Christos Katsiaouni

Normally I like to use this space on Sunday nights to recap the previous week's events... This week was a great for me personally. I got to perform at Top of the Standard with my original crew of musicians, Kenji Tokunaga, Andre Chez Lewis and Charles Norris III in front of a crowd of good friends and fans, plus my mother. That was a real joy, and I thank all those who came and all the folks that helped make it happen.

And then the news trickled through on Friday that there was a white power march happening in Charlottesville. And on Saturday the news only got worse. Violence, intimidation and ultimately, 3 deaths and a number of injuries at the hands of a bunch of sad, angry men and a maniac 20-year-old. I've been doing a lot of reading and thinking. I'm still thinking about how to deal with these things, to be honest, or maybe more accurately what to do about it. I do know this. Race, religion, nationality, these are all artificial barriers we've put up to separate ourselves from each other, and they have so often been the fuel for terrible acts of hatred and violence. We are all one, we are all the same, and it's WAAAAAAY past time we start acting that way.

This is pretty much exactly what my last song "Floating" is about. A wish and a hope to get hateful people to evolve and see that the things they think they hate about a person or a group of people are just imaginary barriers. Ultimately, I hope there's a way to educate and change people's minds, but in the meantime, we also have to figure out ways to work around these dudes and make sure that everybody is safe, and treated fairly, and given opportunity.

A couple of quotes that have given me solace/food for thought:

"America’s struggle is to become not post-racial, but post-racist. Put differently, we should seek not a world where the black race and the white race live in harmony, but a world in which the terms black and white have no real political meaning. The Obama-era qualifier is also inherently flawed, because it assumes that the long struggle that commenced when the first enslaved African arrived on American soil centuries ago could somehow be resolved in an instant, by the mere presence of a man who is not a king. These two flaws, taken together, expose a kind of fear, not of having a “conversation about race” but of asking the right questions about racism."

Ta-Nehisi Coates, "There Is No Post-Racial America" (https://www.theatlantic.com/…/post-racial-society-d…/395255/)

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom