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Schenectady Story​/​Equality

from "63" by mike skliar

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In 1979 4 college students took a road trip from Schenectady (just north of Albany) to Rochester to see a Jethro Tull concert. Got to Rochester, Found out the concert was canceled. (Believe it or not at the show before , someone had thrown a rose on stage in the thorn it Ian Anderson‘s eye, scratching his cornea. I shit you not)
But that’s not what I came to tell you. Seems we were all in high spirits on the way to the show, each bring our own little personal stash of what were at the time slightly illegal substances.
So driving three hours there we were not happy to hear the show has been canceled and we’re driving back, feeling low and mean. I was at the wheel not much the worse for wear but in the backseat , drinking a beer, was a friend of a friend from Virginia, where I guess open beer in the car was not a big thing.
1 mile from our Schenectady exit , cop pulled us over doing 80 in a 60. Peers into the car , looked in the backseat with that friend of my friend from Virginia and his open beer. Asked the rest of us “do you have any drugs“. Guy sitting next to me, classic wise ass, says “no but I wish we did“. Of course all of us were sitting on our personal little dime bags.
Cop never searched us. Gave me a ticket for speeding and a ticket for an expired registration.
Reason I mention the whole thing is…. If you were white in America, you may have a similar story. All of us white guys or most of us anyway, probably have a moment when things could’ve tipped in the balance all sorts of ways. Had we been four black kids, would we be just getting out of jail now? Or worse? I’ll leave it to you to watch the news and draw your own conclusions. Here’s a little song about that:..

Some countries have one justice system, America’s got two
Depending on your race and social class, there are different outcomes its true
It’s a complicated situation, lots of factors, you can list ‘em
But the reality is that equality is still not part of the system
The reality is that equality is still not part of the system


from "63", released March 3, 2023


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mike skliar New York, New York

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