River Whyless Confront Privilege In Video For “Born In The Right Country”

Photo by Shervin Lainez

River Whyless’ song “Born In The Right Country,” off the band’s just released album Kindness, A Rebel, is a sharp indictment of systemic racism and oppression, containing lyrics like, “Can you really blame me, built on a system where some must fail so that you can break through if you’ve got the right skin?”

In a powerful new video, the band and director Jordan Halland give the track a striking visual, tracing a day in the lives of a young Black man and his mother as they try to navigate a society in which the deck is stacked against them.

“The four of us in River Whyless come from different parts of the country, and were raised in decidedly different environments,” Alex McWalters says. “But we’re all white, and so we can’t really know what it’s like to feel as though we’re unwelcome in our own country. We were born with that unearned privilege. It’s hard, at times, to know what to say or do about that privilege. But recognizing it is a start. And following the election of Donald Trump, it was important to us that we try to acknowledge, somehow, that we all still have a ways to go.”

Kindness, A Rebel is out today. Watch the video for “Born In The Right Country” below.