Race relations in America were lightly addressed from 1978-1985, in this TV sitcom. Two African American orphans are adopted by a rich Park Avenue, widower/single Dad, who is white. An early episode has a social worker not believing that a white man should be raising African Americans.
Can popular culture, even through the “boob tube,” lead and shape public opinion? Another question could be this: is a comedy show that is meant to entertain, the right or best forum for such issues to be addressed.
Does passing a law change people’s thoughts and behaviors?
Bruce Hornsby was skeptical in 1986 – “the law don’t change another’s mind” – thinking back to the US 1964 Civil Rights Act.
This law banned discrimination based on skin color and religion at private establishments like lodging and restaurants, and public places at the state and local government level. Employers were forbidden to discriminate on these grounds and gender, too. The law eased restrictions on voting for African Americans, though did not end qualification requirements. It started the progress toward desegregation of public schools.
In 1957, Arkansas governor Orval E. Faubus used the National Guard to prevent some African American teenagers from attending a high school populated by white students.
Bassist Charles Mingus had some lyrics for this jazz tune, but the record label, Columbia, only permitted an instrumental version. At least, according to some reports and Wikipedia. It could also be the case that the lyrics came later.
All the same, the song toots and sings against racism and for the integration of schools, which jived with Supreme Court rulings at the time.
Jamaican reggae artist also sang for Black Uhuru. This is perhaps his most well-known song.
Soldiers, police, mothers and daughters, sisters and brothers, people of different tribes and those with different skin color: Reid sings we all share one blood. Instead of behaving like vampires hunting each other, let’s acknowledge we share commonalities.
This is hopeful and true, if simplistic, when it comes to reducing conflict in cities, countries and the world.
With so many challenges in the world, perhaps it’s best just to let the band play on. Not taking a political stance, the Temptations list ills such as racism, war, drugs, gun violence, government spending and taxes… even local government with a reference to city inspectors. Yet it is not a song of apathy or giving up, but perhaps realistic for not attempting to predict where things are headed. The chaotic, pyschedelic arrangement may attest to this. Or, that Motown was not interested in protest records despite the times.