Living ‘The Dream’

December 17th, 2014

As a mixed guy (half black/half white) I was essentially born into an intentional conversation about race. I've never had the opportunity to recuse myself from it, as I've had to navigate stereotypes, misconceptions and their implications on both sides of my own family. As a result, the idea of racial reconciliation has been an area of passion for me. I've spent a lot of time thinking, writing and speaking about these issues. My hope is, and has been, to be a "bridge builder." My life has been further enriched as I now have a wife of Mexican decent and a triracial son!

A few years back, I was having a conversation with someone about the idea of racial reconciliation. We talked about what it would truly mean for us to attempt to enter into one another's stories and seek to understand their perspectives on race. It was such a meaningful dialogue, and it affected us deeply to this day. Birthed out of conversation and life experience, I wrote a song as an attempt to express the experience and emotion of being subject to racism and the hope for true connection and restoration.


Stereotypes they continually follow me.
The looks you're giving me continually hollow me.
They make me feel like I'm regretting my birth,
I come into this earth without a position of worth and
Making it worse, I'm feeling like my life is a curse
Like the only move I'll make will be in back of a hearse
Feeling a thirst for something, the way the beat is bumpin
I can feel my heart in my chest, my blood is steady pumpin.
Automatically you put me in a class,
No knowledge of my future or a drop about my past.
Free at last, well that's what it's supposed to be.
I'm here to tell you that you'll never get the most of me.
You're close to me but yet you feel so far away,
You tell me that I'm welcome but you don't want me to stay.
I'm out in this world just trying to make a living,
There ain't nothin I can do about the skin that I've been given.


The issue at hand is not so much the color of man,
It's about the principalities and where do we stand, and see,
By us ignoring that the problem exists,
It strengthens the insecurities that put us at risk.
And we continue being naive...
And we're only disrespecting all the people we grieve
For giving their life and helping us to live in the free, home of the brave,
It's kinda hard for me to believe, for me to relay,
The topic of us coming together,
Only gets us shrugging our shoulders and saying, "whatever",
They just give us education they picked up off the ground,
We simply open our mouths and we swallow it down,
Without even a second thought of checkin the math,
We got all these other people thinking on our behalf.
I don't want to be another statistic,
That thinks that understanding isn't even realistic.


What about the skin that you reside in, tell me, is it something that you hide in?
There's simply information that you're not providing.
I need somebody to be real about this,
I need to know how you feel about this,
It's like, secret society is trying me, calling my bluff
I need to keep an open mind but it's never enough,
There must be some initiation added to the litigation
But we need participation in this reconciliation.

In the chorus, I simply asked, "Are you living 'The Dream'", referencing the one Dr. King shared on August 28th, 1963. I'm not the greatest writer, but this was my feeble attempt to share some of my life experience, using music. (Remember, this was a few years back, so give me grace!) It wasn't comprehensive and it CERTAINLY wasn't perfect but it helped me to think through and express some things that I had been pondering. It also gave me a venue to share with someone that wanted to know what it was like to see things through my life lenses.

I've heard it said that it is best to prepare in times of peace for the times of unrest. It is easy to see now how difficult it is to communicate in the heat of passion. In the current state of unrest in our country, our strong emotional responses are understandable. I hope that we see the necessity to continue to dialogue and realize the true connection and positivity that can result from it. We all know that racial issues transcend black and white, and it's important for us all to engage in communication. We shouldn't want to just "move on" past the tension, because that isn't healthy or realistic. We should, however, want to be thoughtful and intentional in our engagement in dialogue.

There have been some brilliant and thought-provoking pieces written in light of the most recent tragic events in our culture by folks far more capable than me. My hope for today is to simply encourage us to find methods of introspection and processing (music, writing, art, running, etc) which will prayerfully lead to some healthy conversation and understanding.

There is Hope. Be encouraged.

Curtis Zackery blogs at

comments powered by Disqus