Black Rose

 I want to follow on that thought immediately with another one.

So this is a song written by the recently deceased Billy Joe Shaver, performed by Waylon Jennings on his best album. What's it about? It's about a man who falls in love with a woman that he can't keep up with; and he stays enchanted with her until he catches her with another man.

But of course the "Black Rose" is black; and the singer, like Billy Joe or Waylon, is white. So is the song racist? 

In a way it has to be, in that everything coming out of their time and place and era was tinted with the concept of race. This is Caribbean philosopher Charles Mills' theory about race: our society did so much with it for so long that we can't really expect to walk away from it, not easily or quickly. When Billy Joe Shaver wrote this song, society had only barely made interracial marriage legal. Society had not in any way processed the change; and anyway he was writing about a relationship he'd had in his youth, when the law probably hadn't changed.

So he and she and whomever was in a similar case were forced into illicit gatherings, and informality rather than the clear lines of marriage. (Though it must be admitted that Billy Joe had a strange relationship with marriage; he was married three times to the same woman, as you may remember from the story.) This kind of unstable and hidden relationship was the best he could do.

And he shows no scorn for her; only the need to walk away when she proves unfaithful. But then again, how could you expect her faith when she had no hope of a legitimized relationship with you?

Ultimately it shows how deeply this philosophical error -- I mean accepting the concept of 'race' -- cut into human tissue. Wolfram von Eschenbach did not need it, and neither do we. It's only done harm, and very great harm.


David Foster said...

What was the '1907 crisis' referred to at the link?

Grim said...

Glad you asked. That’s very relevant history just now, but little known. That’s how the Fed came to be, and how control of the US money supply passed out of the hands of the elected government and into the control of the banks.