Transcript – Worth Striving For (8.1)

by Nate Elam & Blake Washington

Ambient music fades in. It sounds like stringed instruments, but has a distinct synth quality.

[Male narrator/voice over, deep in tone]
Back in elementary school I won an essay contest
A letter dedicated to the late Dr. King
Little ol’ me heard one of the man’s speeches and was inspired by his dream
Inspired determination
inspired by his fight
but most of all I was inspired by the concept of everyone living in harmony
black or white

Our outside appearances don’t mean a darn thing
What you look like don’t stop you from being anything
So why don’t we treat each other equally?
I was inspired as a kid but now
I don’t know anymore
Can we have racial equality in America?
I don’t know anymore
I mean there’s no doubt that we’ve made progress but this country elected into office
A man who’s slogan is “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
Connotating a preference for the past where blacks were treated even
Worse than they are now
I don’t know anymore

Flute melody layers in over strings.

Everyday I hear a black brother or sister exclaim “no whites allowed”
“If you’re white, I don’t mess with you”
“white people are the embodiment of hatred”
When we before anyone else should know what that type of discrimination feels like
I don’t know anymore
A black man practiced his right to protest by silently taking a knee during the national anthem
And you’re telling me that’s enough to tear this country apart?
Rather than talking about the reason he kneeled
rather than having a heart to heart
We warred with one another
And this country is more black vs white than I’ve ever seen in my young life
I don’t know anymore

All music quickly fades out.

When I was in middle school I was asked the question:
If you could go back in time which historical figure would you meet?
And you’d probably guess by now that I’d pick Dr. King
I’d ask him about his speeches
I’d ask him “how do you do it?”
I’d ask him for advice
I’d warn him about the bullet
I was a kid back then but if I went back now
I’d ask him to take a seat
I’d say “Dr. King Dr. King please listen to me
You won’t like what I’m about to say
But your dream is just a dream”

Deep percussion and theremin-like whine. Narrator begins speaking faster.

I mean
Be honest with me
Does racial equality even mean anything?
How can we be equal when one race is the majority?
How can we be equal when that race has priority?
How can we be equal when that race has historically had authority over minorities
And still to this day I feel that power over me?
Be honest with me
It just doesn’t make sense that we’d treat each other equally
As human beings we’re selfish
we’re degraded
we want power
and that’s only been proven again and again by the history of this country of ours
America was built by slaves who were enslaved based on how they looked
And these slaveowners are portrayed as heroes in my textbook
On the other hand we like to act like slavery is just a white thing
And you’re innocent if you have brown skin
But I bet your parents never tell you that many of those slaves were sold by their own kin
Must I say it again?
Be honest with me
And we don’t even know how to NOT be racist
We invented this concept of being colorblind
That’s not peaceful that’s just ignorant
Try to tell me you don’t see the difference in our skin pigments

Deep, plucked strings cut in. Narrator speaks faster still.

Try to tell me the difference in our physiques is non-existent
Try to tell me the gap between our cultures is not distant
We pull this colorblindness stuff because we don’t like differences
We want to be the same
Be honest with me
We naturally emphasize more with people who are like us
And less with people who are different than us
It’s simply the truth
We point fingers at each other because we like to think we’re without error
We like to blame the other race because we don’t like to look at a mirror
We don’t like to see people do better than us that’s why minorities get ahead
We don’t like to see others get special treatment
That’s why when you hear “black lives matter” “all lives matter” is said
We as black people are filled with vengeance
And is it hard to see why?
Black fathers incarcerated
Black children unfed
Black women degraded
Black men shot dead
But this vengeance leads to a disgusting hate
That makes us sink down to participate
In the discrimination we hated in the first place
Be honest with me
How can a human race with these natural tendencies
Achieve racial equality?

All music cuts out.

Things are bad now but they were worse then
How did we make so much progress
When I look at one side of history All I see are animals
Dominated by instinct driven by nature

Light, hopeful piano melody picks up, accompanied by soft strings. Speaker slows down.

But when I look at the other side of history I can see how we’ve made it this far
Because we’re not animals
We’re human
You see we may have these natural tendencies to be racist
To single each other out on a skin color basis
But I’ve seen time and time again people fight against this nature
To love one another to reach out to their neighbor
Because to treat each other equally is a goal worth striving for
The civil war, the civil rights movement, black lives matter
Having one knee bent
All events of black and white hands joining together
their differences didn’t get in the way of making this country better
their was discomfort there was pain
but they still fought each and every day
because this is a goal worth striving for

Building percussion and horns come in. Narrator speaks with intensity.

I challenge you brothers and sisters of all skin colors to
Do what’s uncomfortable
Do what’s unnatural
Do what’s exceptional
Fight against oppression even if it’s not you being oppressed
Help others catch up to you if you’ve had a taste of success
Love your brother and sister even if they or their ancestors caused you pain
Because hate cannot drive out hate only love can break the chain

Horns and percussion fade out. Narrator’s speech slows down.

Put yourself in the shoes of those with different ways
Look at yourself in the mirror and say “I need to change!”
Don’t be afraid of our differences they should be embraced
Our differences only divide us when we expect to be the same
Now if you asked me “can we reach racial equality?”
My answer wouldn’t change

Piano and strings fade out.

I still don’t know anymore
But I’ll tell you
I will tell you
That it’s a goal worth striving for