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Because My Skin Is White

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 round here it’s pretty middle class so many are secure
but underneath our sleepy town so many aren’t for sure
in frightened nights on Hackney streets it’s harsher than we know
with drugs and knives and ruined lives as racism still flows
I go back to my London roots it serves me to remind
this racism’s still dripping there from ev’ry place and sign
my best mates skins were different when I was a kid
Indian and African but oh what things we did
hanging out on bomb sites I see them looking back
the signs in Notting Hill that read no Irish Dogs or Blacks
too young then to understand the fifties that we shared
or what they must have gone through such hatred ev’rywhere
we had no concepts out at play for class or race back then
I wore cardboard in my shoes when I was nine or ten
yet still I was a millionaire compared to those who fight
enduring stuff I never knew because my skin is white

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 I’ve stood by shanty villages the corrugated homes
so far from my beloved Stroud where rich folk sit and moan
a bit of this a bit of that I’ve led a crazy life
while way out in Zimbabwe they struggle to survive
and out in Ethiopia however much it’s changed
corruption thrives thfroughout their lives in our midst the same
I work with bands from Africa I try to shed some light
it’s sometimes met with apathy because my skin is white

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 l lived through their apartheid I did the best I could
It all sounds hypocritical I always knew it would
I got on buses with my friends all Indian and Bantu
authorities would say to me just use white buses can’t you?
a poet’s life is strange it’s true but nowhere near as hard
as those with houses made on sand or tin in some back yard
thank god I leave my cottage to see the other side
I try to do the do the best I can because my skin is white

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 I’ve lived in places without loos I’ve tended goats and herbs
I’ve wheeled the dead from hospitals I’ve never heard the words
that those whose skin is darker hear from those who jeer and scorn
a child a woman or a man because of how they’re born
I’ve been ashamed by my own kind when racist chants were slung
at football or out in the streeet but nothing’s ever done
I’m so apalled inside to know that even in this town
the evil fuel of racism is still here to be found
I thought that I could change the world my hopes have never dropped
we must destroy this ignorance this racism must stop
we have the choice to be a voice to exercise our right
it’s not enough to be ashamed because our skin is white

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 I never had a father my mother worked in clubs
my step-dad beat me up sometimes and died outside the pub
I’ve drummed in poor black orphan homes in Africa and wept
I’ve seen the sadness and contempt for all that I project
it doesn’t matter what you say or what you did before
we’re still the rich colonialists just like we were before
our little poems and our songs our witty little words
we need the world to stand as one to get this message heard
it doesn’t matter what you do however good or right
your heart is never visible because your skin is white

6 Leave a comment on verse 6 0 we say we’re multi-cultural at Womad in the sun
our Guardians and Chardonnays our “must be home by one”
our four by fours our phones and homes our ever-greedy stars
our longing for celebrity the glamour and the cars
our eco-friendly pseudo words we’re so-aware today
we think we’ve conquered racism it never went away
wherever we go ego goes we run this human race
we’re up our arses aren’t we we live in such a space
it doesn’t matter how you try to justify your days
reality is ‘me me me’ where love is just a phase
however hard you think your life you don’t look far to see
you’re richer than you ever knew or ever dreamed you’d be
far richer than the millions there who die each day and night
whatever class we’re all the same because our skin is white

7 Leave a comment on verse 7 0 you put on bands and poetry for every cause you know
they turn around and point at you and tell you where to go
you try to stay so humble they say you are aloof
while leaders lie you try and try to hold onto the truth
we walk round with eyes closed our acting hides our fears
we move to pictures on our screens we watch it through the tears
we say we’ll try until we die we think we’re so PC
you tell me what you did today for some new charity
but still we have a job to do we all can make a stand
the silly sixties dream I had restore it to this land
awaken now it’s been too long it’s time to see the light
I won’t give up I have no choice because my skin is white..

11

Notes

Written on the train on the way back from an Anti Racism in 2005 workshop with fellow football poet Rosemary Dun entitled Out of Africa..

Peace and Love.

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/because-my-skin-is-white/