This is actually one of my favourite songs of all time. Each time I hear it, I learn something new and it continues to touch me deeply. In perhaps what is the most profound lyric ever written, Marley sang, “emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind.” Today we perform that which has become normalized never realizing how much it damages us as people.
We live in a white supremacist, sexist, homophobic, cissexist, fat phobic, ageist, ableist world. Even though many of us negotiate at least one ism, many are quite content to embrace the privileges that we have in other areas and this is indeed a form of mental slavery because we have chosen to identify with the oppressor rather than the oppressed. To look in the mirror and face your privilege is a hard thing and it takes a lifetime worth of commitment. Even with all of the work, at the end of the day we will still be imperfect because we are imperfect beings, but it is the journey and knowledge that count. It is only in laying down this heavy burden that we can ever achieve anything close to freedom.
Don’t stand aside and look, become what you were meant to be and in so doing become a truth teller. Whatever your instrument is, it will magnify power because nothing is as powerful as truth in a society that is determined to lie about the worth of humanity.
Well, now that I have rambled what are your thoughts on this song? Please feel free to discuss any other Marley song that touches you and don’t forget to share why.