Currently Listening To…

So every once and a while, I’ll be posting about songs that really tie into the theme of this blog. Today, I’ve got three tracks that really relate.

The first is D.S.W.G. or Dark Skinned White Girl by Murs & 9th Wonder. (Shout out to Milka Joya who first introduced me to this song.) In it, Murs speaks about being yourself, something we are told to be in the face of adversity. Yet, if you dig deeper, you can see that he’s touching on the subject of “I can because I’m *insert race/ethnicity here* and you can’t because you’re not.”

But who is to say that because I’m not Latina, I can’t listen to reggaeton? Who’s to say that my Colombian best friend can’t listen to country music? Who’s to say I can’t talk, dress, eat, and dance the way I want even if it “belongs” to another culture? If I’m truly being myself and expressing something I am/love, where’s the harm? Take a listen for yourself, and tell me what you think.

The second track is Shades by Wale. I didn’t even mean to listen to this song when I first heard it. I just had his album Attention Deficit playing while I was driving home from my internship one day, and all of a sudden, I started paying attention to the lyrics.

It blew me away to listen to his perspective on racism within an ethnic group. Being lighter skinned, I guess I never realized my “privilege” as a light-skinned African-American person. And when you research it, this issue traces all the way back to the early days of the slave trade here in America when whites and blacks had mixed children who were lighter skinned, and they were treated better than the darker skinned peoples.

What’s weird to me is the fact that people still claim that slavery is in the past, and you should just get over it. Some say the issues that sparked the Civil Rights Movement, intentions behind the Holocaust, justifications for the Japanese internment camps here on the west coast, etc. existed so long ago that we should just stop blaming the past and using it as a scapegoat. To that I say, perhaps. But just as everything in history, the ramifications of past decisions still affect all of posterity even in today’s day and age, and the mindset of preferring light over dark is one of those things. Listen and decide for yourself.

My third track is Un-thinkable (I’m Ready) by Alicia Keys. Again, I have to attribute this musical revelation to my best friend. She and I are very in-tune to songs that deal with race.

I think the video really helps explain the song and gives it that twist that makes it relatable to this blog. In the song, Keys  struggles with society’s negative view on interracial couples, but in the end tells her partner “I’m ready.”

Although the video is set in a time and place when interracial dating was illegal in many places, it is still not considered the norm in today’s society. Almost all of my friends and myself are/ have been in interracial relationships, and do we have some stories to tell. It’s not easy. Not by any means. Not when people still stare or, even worse, glare when you walk down the street hand in hand with your boyfriend or girlfriend. But if your relationship is based in love, I believe that eases some tension and alleviates some of the hardship that can come with interracial dating. What’s been your experience with interracial dating? Have you considered it before? Has anyone ever glared at you? Can you relate to Keys’ lyrics?

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