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"Liberty Needs Glasses" by Tupac Shakur

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Jordan Pankey

on 24 September 2015

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Transcript of "Liberty Needs Glasses" by Tupac Shakur

"Liberty Needs Glasses" by Tupac Shakur
About the Poet
Tupac Shakur (2Pac) was an African-American rapper, actor, author, and poet. He was born in 1971 in Harlem and rose to fame in the early 1990s. Many of his close family members were associate with the Black Panther Party, and these ideals are often reflected in his poetry and songs. In 1996, Shakur was shot and killed. Many questions, controversies, and conspiracy theories still occur about the circumstances of his death.
Allusions (part 1)
justice bumbed into

trippin on
geronimo pratt

but stepped right over

and his crooked partner
Allusions (part 2)
justice stubbed her big toe on

and liberty was misquoted by the
lines 1 - 2:
excuse me but lady liberty needs glasses

and so does mrs justice by her side

lines 17 - 18:
theyd take em both 2 pen optical

and get 2 pair of glasses
Theme & Message
The theme of the poem is that liberty and justice are not shared equally between races in America or even the world. He is making the point that white leaders often get away with bad behavior while black or Native American figures are often the target of unfair criticisms or punishments. To make this point, he personifies liberty & justice, calling them blind to some groups' plights. He also references various examples of times when non-white figures or groups were targeted or treated with injustice in the world/
Read the poem: http://tupacpoetry.net/poems/LibertyNeedsGlasses.html
Lines 5-8:
1. Mutulu
(Shakur) = American black and Tupac's stepfather.
2. Geronimo Pratt
= close friend of Mutulu and a high ranking member of the Black Panther party.
Both men were illegally targeted by the FBI for their activism.
3. Oliver
= Oliver North
4. Ronnie
= Ronald Reagan
Both men were involved in the Iran-Contra scandal & accused to facilitating the secret sale of weapons to Iran.

Lines 9-10:
5. Mandela
= Nelson Mandela. Anti-apartheid activist and leader, focused on racial reconciliation. He was imprisoned for 27 years.

6. Indians
= Native Americans. As a group, they have endured systematic injustice from the American government since its founding.
Shakur uses personification to give human qualities to the abstract ideas of liberty and justice.

Liberty & justice cannot literally need or wear glasses, but Shakur is making the point that liberty & justice are blind and therefore unfair to some groups in the world.
Full transcript