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Oscar-winning composer Randy Newman has released a provocative new song in response to what he considers racially motivated vitriol aimed at President Obama.
In “I’m Dreaming,” Newman’s intentionally ignorant narrator takes us through U.S. history, with images of Presidents Washington, John Adams and Lincoln gliding by as lyrics slowly reveal the singer’s mock xenophobia.
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President McKinley, the narrator reminds us, was shot by an immigrant. No brilliant men come from Africa, the narrator nonsensically speculates, because lions pick off men like that as boys.
“I’m dreaming of a white president / Someone who we can understand,” Newman sings. “Someone who knows where we’re coming from / And that the law of the jungle is not the law of this land.”
Newman said his disgust with the political climate following Obama’s election inspired him to pen the song.
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“I think there are a lot of people who find it jarring to have a black man in the White House and they want him out,” Newman said in a press release. “They just can’t believe that there’s not a more qualified white man. You won’t get anyone, and I do mean anyone, to admit it.”
“I’m Dreaming” is free to download, though Newman is encouraging listeners to donate to the United Negro College Fund.
In an interview with Slate, the composer admitted he worried children might hear the song and not understand its irony. He hoped the donation request would clarify “which side” he was on.
“You can’t really hide the Internet from kids. It worries me some particularly because I’ve done Disney and Pixar stuff,” Newman said. “In Toy Story, there’s my voice saying, ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me.’ And then here’s my voice singing that I want ‘A real live white man / Who knows the score.’ I’d like it to be clearer which side I’m on. Of course, it comes a little late.”
Watch the video below.
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