Sunday, August 27, 2023

I'm just a white man. I'm just a black man.



 I'm just a white man; I'm just a black man. 

By Reed Johnson



On a whim, I wrote down some lyrics I was singing to myself on a cross-state bike ride. When I can only hear the engine roar and the wind in your helmet, I tend to just start singing. That night, while settling into another hotel in Roanoke, VA,  I wrote to Oliver Anthony (Chris) a song/poem and posted it to his Facebook page. Now, the following is not direct or exactly what I wrote, and the truth is I did not write it down. I wrote to him my thoughts for a song in a matter of minutes.  What I put down on paper here will not be exactly the same, but close. It's the catchline that is the most important. Like "Rich man north of Richmond," mine is as follows. I told him he could have the song if it inspired him; it is free to use. 


I'm just a white man living in a black man's world. 

I'm just a black man living in a white man's world. 

I'm just a black man living in a white man's world.

I'm just a white man living in a black man's world. 


Oh, why do you take from me my history and bury it in the ground?

Oh, why can't a man, a black, educated man, find a job oh, where can one be found?


I'm just a white man living in a black man's world. 

I'm just a black man living in a white man's world. 


Oh, why do you kill in your urban cities for a thrill? 

Have you no regard for life?

Oh, why do I live in poverty? 

Why do my schools fail me? 

Why do leaders turn to apathy and stab my soul with a knife?


I'm just a black man living in a white man's world.

I'm just a white man living in a black man's world. 


Oh, black man, Sunday comes along, and where are you?

I sit here in church praying for you?

Oh, white man, Sunday comes along, and where are you?

I sit here in church praying for you.


We are just men living in the rich man's world.

We allow our politicians to live high on the hog.

While we country folk live in a bog

Our lives are but tiny swirls and whirls.

We go round and round, knocking the rural man down.

The urban politicians care nothing for our small town.


I'm just a black man living in a white man's world.

I'm just a white man living in a black man's world. 


Ross Perot was right.

When he said, they would take in the night.

Our jobs and factories.

Does the rich man know no boundaries?


Unions are no better.

Just dues for the rich few.

A socialist kind of debtor.

Drowning my sorrows in a mug of brew.


I'm just a white man living in a black man's world. 

I'm just a black man living in a white man's world. 

I'm just a black man living in a white man's world.

I'm just a white man living in a black man's world. 


Oliver Anthony is right.

We have to take care of ourselves on the left and the right. 

We find our sister and brotherhood in our churches at night.

Together we can have might.


We can rule our lives.

Without greed and apathy.

Without covetness and agony.

Without hate and knives.

Stabbing each other in the back

As we allow the politician man to attack. 


I'm just a black man living in a white man's world.

I'm just a white man living in a black man's world. 


Envy is the world's original sin.

We can no longer let in.

We can no longer allow envy to be used

To separate us, we must be fused.

Together we win; divided, we fall

To the rich politicians who give it their all.

To divide us a black man from a white man. 


I'm just a white man living in a black man's world. 

I'm just a black man living in a white man's world. 

I'm just a black man living in a white man's world.

I'm just a white man living in a black man's world. 


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