Singer Bob Dylan’s slavery remarks in a new interview have sparked controversy in today’s heated political climate, as the music legend remarked that the shameful slave-owning history of this country “ruined America.”
Bob Dylan’s slavery remarks were destined to be impactful, given the heated nature of the discussion about race in America at the current moment. Back on July 4th, comedian Chris Rock tweeted that the holiday was “White People’s Independence Day,” and much of the internet did not take the comment lightly.
While Bob Dylan’s slavery remark acknowledged the legacy of the slave-owning past of the US, many Americans feel (wrongly) that focusing on history is the problem, and complain of black people “dredging up” the past when it is over and done with. (Which, one might point out, didn’t exactly wash as a criticism of Rock given that the event he mentioned preceded slavery by nearly 100 years — why talk about one and not the other?)
The New York Times quotes the interview Bob Dylan gave to Rolling Stone during which he basically says that much of America’s achievements are moot given the fact they were gained on the blood and sweat of slave labor, and the paper quotes Dylan in part:
“Mr. Dylan — whose new album, ‘Tempest,’ was released on Tuesday — did not sound optimistic about the current state of race relations in the country, saying people are ‘at each other’s throats just because they are of a different color,’ adding that ‘it will hold any nation back.’ Blacks know that some whites ‘didn’t want to give up slavery,’ he said.”
After Bob Dylan made the slavery remarks, he was asked if having a black president improved the situation, to which he replied:
“I don’t have any opinion on that. You have to change your heart if you want to change.”
Do you agree with Bob Dylan, that slavery is a legacy from which America may never fully recover?