Black or White


Last Friday’s Black Lives Matter protest demonstration in Blue Jay was peaceful, though very loud, with some 400 local residents, signaling with signs, banners and chanting that they are plainly disgusted with the continued killing of persons of color, all because of the color of their skin. A similar demonstration on Saturday in Twin Peaks attracted about 40 to 50 demonstrators.


“I am tired of this devil, I am tired of this stuff, I am tired of this business when the going gets rough. I ain’t scared of your brother, I ain’t scared of no sheets, I ain’t scared of nobody, girl, when the going gets mean. Protection for gangs, clubs and nations causing grief in human relations. It’s a turf war on a global scale, I’d rather hear both sides of this tale. See, it’s not about races, just plain faces, where you’re blood comes from is where your race is. I’ve seen the bright get duller, I’m not going to spend my life being a color.” (“Black Or White” – Michael Jackson – 1991)


This was the first time that I had an opportunity to cover such an event as a reporter since the turbulent 60s-era peace marches and protest demonstrations against what was often referred to as an illegal and immoral war. As a budding news reporter for my college radio station, I was dispatched to San Francisco and downtown Los Angeles on more than one occasion to record, with my tiny, portable reel-to-reel tape recorder, the sounds of tens of thousands of peaceful, but loud, anti-war protesters as they marched down Market Street to the city hall to register their discontent over the deaths of tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers and, reportedly, over three-and-a-half-million north and south Vietnamese citizens and soldiers.


Upon my return to Orange County, my recordings – which featured interviews with protesters, law enforcement personnel and non-participants along the way – were edited, along with appropriate music, into radio documentaries that played on the Chapman College radio station where, as a student DJ, I hosted a weekly radio show that was heard, not only in the student dorms, but throughout much of the OC.


Though last week’s demonstrations in Blue Jay and Twin Peaks were designed to protest the racism, discrimination and killing of persons of color that has been taking place in America for over a century, they have a lot of parallels with what occurred back in the 60s. When, oh when, will it ever end? Or, as Rodney King once famously asked, “Can we all just get along?” What Rodney said still rings true and still matters today.


“Don’t tell me you agree with me when I saw you kicking dirt in my eye, but if you’re thinkin’ about my baby, it don’t matter if you’re black or white. I said, if you’re thinkin’ about my baby, it don’t matter if you’re black or white.”


Keep it flyin’ Uncle Mott