All I needed to know about racism I learned from HEAVY METAL

As a kid growing up in Los Angeles in the early 1980’s, I was obsessed with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Motorhead ect. I dreamed of starting a band and touring the world. When I started seeing my first concerts, buying t-shirts and programs I would study the artwork, photographs and particularly, the full tour date schedules.

The bands would have dates in exotic (to me) locations like London, Tokyo, Paris, Berlin and Rome. To a 13-14-year-old kid with dyslexia and straight F’s across his report card, I knew I was never going to have any sort of job where I could earn enough money to travel to the far-flung places these bands toured. But in the back of my mind and with my air guitaring tennis racket in hand and stereo turned up to eleven, I would dream all day.

But as I thought more and more about what it must be like to travel and meet people from all around the world, I started to realize, you couldn’t be a racist. You couldn’t just hate people because the color of their skin, culture or religion. After all, these people are making you rich. They are showing their love for you. Why would you not return that? I surmised that all these musician’s I admired so much couldn’t possibly be racists. How could they hide that from their fans and from the press? My conclusion was, there is no room for racism in Heavy Metal (in my mind).

I have lived my whole life holding out an extended arm to anyone I have ever met. I ultimately have been blessed to travel and see all the cities mentioned above and tons more, worldwide. I have had the pleasure of going to regions I never dreamed of, seeing cultures so completely different and yet still the same.

The reality is, human beings are all the same, with hopes and dreams to live free, raise a family, have safe food to eat and clean water to drink.

This is what Heavy Metal taught me.