Fred Gillen Jr.

Fuel for the Revolution

This is my blog. I started it back in 1998 when the term "blog" was new and I'd certainly never heard of it. At the time I didn't know I was blogging, I just wanted to post some non- edited pieces I'd written in my notebooks. I do not revise or censor this material in any way. Please feel free to email me through the "contact" page on this site if you have anything to say about what you read here.

Rednecks, Racism, This-ism, that-ism

It seems like anywhere you go there are these big dots on the map and in between there are a lot of people who are the salt of the Earth, but also a lot of rednecks. I found it in Germany and Ireland, and I find it in New York state too. I grew up in that redneck territory. As a kid I didn't see it because I was a little mini-redneck. The seeds of racism, racial-tinged classism, homophobia, and all other forms of bigotry were already planted in my little mind and heart. I grew up 40 miles from the biggest dot on the map. I could have grown up in rural Mississippi or Colorado and it would have been pretty much the same. Where I live now is the place they named the "Peekskill Riots" after, though they didn't actually happen in Peekskill, but outside of town. This small city of 25,000 people is one of the most diverse places I've ever been. There is a little bit of everybody. It is fairly integrated, though many of the white, artsy liberals I know here don't go to the South and Central American restaurants and stores. I guess if I learned anything along the way to take away some of my fear, it is how much I miss out on if I don't get in there and meet everyone I can, in spite of feeling some fear or some little tinge of something unidentifiable in the back of my mind. I was talking to a musician I know here and she was saying that she wanted to put together some kind of "multi-cultural concert" to bring together the white folks and the Latino folks. I started asking her what her favorite restaurants were in town. Whether she'd been to this Dominican Restaurant or this Chilean bakery etc, and it turned out she'd never been to any of them. It seemed to me maybe a better idea than some kind of "multi-cultural" event, why not just go shop at their stores? That might be a good start. I gotta learn Spanish. That's the next thing for me. So it goes. I'm not saying I'm cured. Inside me deep there is still a scared, redneck, bigot. All I'm saying is that if, in spite of how you feel deep inside, you put your hand out to someone, eventually that lightbulb in the back of your mind which says "bigot" will dim a bit and a bit more. It is a process. I'm very thankful for where I grew up. I think I saw the best and the worst of my country and world. I used to be a redneck so I can see one coming miles away. I used to be a drunk so I can see a drunk coming a mile away too... Experience... If you are a tiny bit afraid of young, black guys with baggy pants say hi to the next one of those guys you see in the deli. If we try to ignore it because it makes us uncomfortable, then it just grows and festers. We have to get the guilt and shame out of us and just reach out... My head is still full of all that bullshit, but my heart is changing. Ok enough of my preaching...

Tuesday, October 19th 2010

 01/28/2017     Prayer for America
 05/27/2014     "Free" music
 12/30/2013     Happy New Year
 09/26/2013     Ignorant Bliss
 11/29/2012     Gillen & Turk 2008 Opening for Todd Rungren
 08/27/2012     Shallow Money Trench
 06/22/2012     Crazy Horse
 05/9/2012     Talk
 01/19/2012     Freedom
 12/31/2011     Happy New Year
 12/13/2011     Men of Business
 11/19/2011     WAR
 11/18/2011     Earth And Spirit
 10/10/2011     Occupy Wall Street
 10/6/2011     Independence
 09/20/2011     Anger and Love
 09/6/2011     You Can't Have Everything
 09/1/2011     The Instruments
 08/30/2011     Fathers
 08/2/2011     On Being An Artist
 05/11/2011     Speaking The Truth
 04/25/2011     Tuning the lead vocal
 03/17/2011     Instilling Values
 01/14/2011     The Current Music Business
 11/5/2010     Even The Air
==>10/19/2010     Rednecks, Racism, This-ism, that-ism
 09/8/2010     9/11
 07/18/2010     Being Ecumenical
 07/6/2010     Dust
 06/30/2010     Gay Rights/ Marriage
 03/11/2010     The heart
 03/11/2010     Culture
 01/5/2010     Coats
 12/11/2009     Pete Seeger
 12/2/2009     Environmental Protest Songs
 10/5/2009     Adam & Eve
 06/18/2009     The World Rolls Along
 06/11/2009     Clearwater
 06/10/2009     The World Rolls Along
 06/10/2009     War Machine
 06/9/2009     alternative media
 06/9/2009     alternative media
 05/14/2008     God
 02/24/2008     broke
 02/11/2008     HOPE MACHINE
 01/6/2008     Dennis Kucinich
 12/27/2007     NYPD
 10/4/2007     Mitakuye Oyasin
 05/21/2007     The Past
 04/15/2007     Kurt Vonnegut, Indian Point
 10/8/2006     God
 06/26/2006     From the Pe Sla -the heart of the heart of Lakota sacred land -the Black Hills of South Dakota
 06/5/2006     Mowing The Lawn
 03/24/2006     Gone Gone Gone
 02/25/2006     grace
 09/26/2005     Sky To Mountain
 09/22/2005     Love
 09/14/2005     Look Down
 04/19/2005     April 2005
 01/27/2005     Poverty
 01/11/2005     Grace
 12/3/2004     Standing Up 2
 12/1/2004     Tired
 11/29/2004     Standing Up
 11/29/2004     Mercy
 09/18/2004     Beaten
 08/7/2004     Half Full
 07/16/2004     Hallelujia!
 07/16/2004     Battered Feathers
 03/14/2004     gifts
 03/1/2004     Ancestors
 03/1/2004     A Prayer
 12/24/2003     "The Bomb"
 05/16/2003     Safe
 05/16/2003     Satan
 05/5/2003     Faith, Hope, Love
 03/10/2003     Tatoo
 02/11/2003     Folk Music is alive and well!
 01/13/2003     Revolution
 01/2/2003     January 2003
 11/17/2002     FEAR
 11/9/2002     Election Day
 10/30/2002     Election Day
 10/14/2002     Checkpoint Charlie
 06/17/2002     Revolution
 06/3/2002     Gold
 06/3/2002     WAGE LOVE!
 06/3/2002     Mercy
 06/3/2002     New World Order?
 04/4/2002     Real?
 04/4/2002     Billboards
 04/4/2002     Faith
 03/22/2002     Living into the 21st century
 03/22/2002     Comfort
 03/22/2002     Barren Ground
 03/22/2002     Dreams
 03/14/2002     March 11, 2002
 02/25/2002     Germany
 12/14/2001     NOW
 09/19/2001     September 11, 2001
 08/6/2001     #5 Taking Responsibility
 07/12/2001     Television
 06/11/2001     #3: Sprawl
 05/16/2001     #2
 05/16/2001     #1


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