The New South

You think that we have ghettos?
It’s true, from the north to the south
Bristol to Belfast
Glasgow to Tynemouth
But always remember, for those in the UK
Almost every gap in justice here is wider in the USA
I’ll take you to a city where the ghetto is the size of a country
Where the subways and the parks are all grimy and dirty
Apart from in the business district
It’s a little disconcerting
See the golden towers juxtaposed to millions hurting
Where the roads and homes
Haven’t been retouched since the thirties
A gentrified city, classic host of the Olympics
No space to turn once a reputation sticks
No quick fix to this intra-racial conflict
A populace inflicted with a thousand manufactured addictions
A thousand prisons with two million in them
Drug sentencing, it’s clear that the prison industry won
Ratios of crack to coke terms are still eighteen to one
And why the hell would they search you when you’re coming out of the airport?
What do they think that you’re gonna try to import
To the black markets south of the Mason-Dixon line?
The Bible Belt declines, but they’re still inclined to love the divine
Any god would know this place is like a tumour, benign
Take a look and see that life is unkind to the many
Hold up the dollar sign with no money
The sheer scale of penury
Present in American cities
Troy Davis lived here in destitution
Not protected by the institutions or the constitution
Living in fear of persecution, restitution’s a start
But what we need is a lasting solution
Because 200 years ago, this city was just as violent
And the Cherokee here
Had nobody to beg for asylum
Or for a stay of salvation
Unlike Northern Europe’s age-old, white population
America was recently inhabited by the First Nations
Here in the station, I can see that it’s the crossroads to the wars in Asia
Indebted soldiers stuck in the matrix
Pervasive tax evasion leads to social stagnation
And to lost generations
The slave owners laid the foundations for the New South
Or so it was called by Henry Grady and the White House
The old south revisited
No history before the pilgrimage
But they’re many thousand years younger than the pyramids
The symbols that were stolen for the image of the great seal
The New Deal was the last time the people here were cared for
They’re not the landed gentry, but they concentrate the land more
I want a land where no one cares about pigments in skin
Where the reality’s reflective of the human within
Where a common sense of dignity means winning isn’t victory
Akin to the relationships you see in loving families
Call it utopia, insanity or destiny
Either way, I won’t let these labels get the best of me
I know that we can never have a perfect society
Problems with intoxication, problems with sobriety
Modern mathematics has early African roots
Who knows how many people wouldn’t believe that it’s true
But Henry Grady was a white supremacist too
And civilisation didn’t start in 1492


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