Sunday, April 30, 2017

Song for Sunday: Uptown Girl

Song for Sunday is back!!  And I'm going with Billy Joel, cause I just love his music. You know the lyrics to a few of his songs are a bit iffy, but he's got some others that are just amazing. Not quite sure where this one falls.

The song is sung by Billy, probably in character. He sings as a "downtown man" or "backstreet boy" going for an "uptown girl." A snippet:
I'm gonna try for an uptown girlShe's been living in her white bread worldAs long as anyone with hot blood canAnd now she's looking for a downtown manThat's what I am

As I listen to this song, I think of a brash man, driving a motorcycle, in a  leather jacket. He's loud, he drinks too much, he might do drugs. A bad boy.

Going for a pretty, well dressed rich girl. A girl who's been good, but wants to sow wild oats, maybe get at her parents.

I suppose I am partially influenced by a novel I have been reading in which a boy form a "trashy trailer park" falls for a girl from the other side of the tracks after they reconnect at meetings for recovering addicts. She uses him to get at her rich father. Eventually the boy discovers she is not really interested and kills her, goes to prison, meets Christ, get executed, yada, yada.

But what makes me think a backstreet boy is "bad" and an uptown girl is "good"? Good and bad folks live on both sides of the tracks, right? I mean, it's silly to think otherwise. But many of us do. Inherent bias, reinforced by years of media images and social conditioning.

I am reading the book Waking Up White and attended a workshop by the author, Debby Irving. These resources have helped me begin to see more deeply into my own biases and the way they were formed.

So, I see Billy Joel's song Uptown Girl in a new light. Still enjoy the music though.  Here's a link for you?

What inherent biases do you see in yourself?


  1. Waking Up White is on my "to read" list. Guess that will have to be next so we can discuss it.

    1. Sounds good!! I am going to propose that my church host a community read of it, perhaps partnering with our local library.