After The Election

When I was in college and involved in the jazz community in Seattle, I helped to arrange a concert in my home town. Some of the musicians who traveled to the interior of the state to perform in that conservative agricultural community were black. One of my closest childhood friends came to the concert. Afterward, I took him to a party for the musicians. In the course of the socializing, I danced with a newer friend, the pianist Patti Bown. When I returned to the table, my old buddy told me, with considerable heat, that he was ashamed I had touched a black woman, although that was not the term he used to describe her.

I had not thought about that evening in decades. It came back to me last night as I listened to the next president of the United States speak to the world. I hope that my friend was watching, too.

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Comments

  1. Ted says

    Words often fail me.
    Fortunately, there are some with the right words for the time. These beautiful words are from the mayor of Newaark, Cory Booker.
    “I reject the idea of a post-racial America. I want to luxuriate in the racial deliciousness of our country: the Italian-Americans, the Irish-Americans, the Mexican-Americans. I mean, that’s what makes America great. We are a nation that celebrates racial diversity. We’re not Norway. We’re not South Korea. We are the United States of America. The story of America is bringing such differences together to manifest a united set of ideals, not a united culture, not a united language, not a united religion, but a united set of ideals. That was what made America dramatic when it was founded, the first country of its kind in humanity. So I reject that. I want to celebrate all of America: its richness, its diversity, its deliciousness.”
    He could almost be talking about jazz.

  2. says

    Thanks for that story, Doug.
    I had the singular pleasure of spending part of Election Night on the phone with Sonny Rollins, who spoke about his thoughts on the expected election of Barack Obama.
    That interview is now at http://thejazzsession.com.
    Is it just me, or is the sun a little brighter this morning?

  3. says

    I was tuning around from CBC to BBC and CNN. All three are running all night with US election coverage. The bullshit politics is over for the time being.
    When I was playing football for the Walterboro Wildcats in South Carolina, I took a serious shit-kicking for calling a black man “Sir.” That was the beginning of my involvement with Congress on Racial Equality, NAACP, Women’s Lib and anything else that opposed racism.
    For me, two significant ceilings were smashed: the colour barrier and the gender barrier.
    You guys must be very proud—and I don’t give a f——– f—- which party you subscribe to.
    Congrats,
    J.Michael Yates
    Vancouver, B.C.

  4. Harris Meyer says

    Yeah, I grew up in an all-white, working class, Catholic neighborhood in Chicago and my friends and neighbors constantly used the N word, and I often chastised them for using it and got called an N-lover.