I saw Anderson .Paak at Coachella last year and really enjoyed his set. That makes it all the sillier that it took watching Trolls World Tour with my 2 ½-year-old to make me check out one of his albums. If you’ve been following this blog, you’ve no doubt noticed that I’ve been exclusively selecting albums by black American artists since the demonstrations started over three weeks ago (Yes, I realize El-P of Run The Jewels is white, but with the subject matter and the timeliness of the release of that album, it felt appropriate to overlook that.). This has given me a much more concentrated dose of black artists’ experience of American society, which includes so much more discrimination and undue stress than you would expect to find in the lives of such an exceptional and successful group of people. It really drives home just how sheltered and ignorant I have been of these issues throughout my life. The overt racism that has been coming with increasing regularity over the past few years has made white America – some of us, at least – face up to the myth of a free and just nation that never really existed. We all must now take a hard and honest look at our shameful past and decide what kind of future we want for our families and our neighbors. There are not two sides to this issue. Either you believe all people are equal and deserving of the same rights and opportunities or you don’t, and if you don’t, you cannot claim to be a patriotic American. The behavior of the founding fathers may not have exactly matched the words they chose to declare the foundation of this country, but the principles they espoused are as important now as they ever were. We now have the opportunity to make our laws and practices match up with these principles, and I can only hope that we act upon it. I’m sure society can get there, but it would be great if it happened now so we don’t have to continue this merry-go-round of police murders and protests that has been going on for far too long.