The thought and the deed

Some friends have asked me to comment on Liam Neeson’s confession that after a black person did harm to one of his friends he wanted to do harm to the first black person he encountered at the pub. This happened some forty years ago. After this public confession on a few talk shows some publicist pulled him from giving media interviews about the film he was supposed to be promoting. Most white Americans think of racism as individual acts, feelings, use of language and so on. They reserve their harshest censure about racism for those who transgress by revealing their

They all look alike to me

Whenever someone says they all look or sound alike to me they are really saying that they haven’t seen or heard enough to differentiate one from another. One race often says this of another, but it just means that they don’t know enough members of the race. The cure is obviously to meet more people of that race. The problem is that some people never take enough time or have enough opportunities to do this. This applies to other things as well. For example at first I thought that all jazz music sounded alike. As a child I had an

20 things I have stopped doing

I have stopped talking about what a vile human being Donald Trump is. Most of you already know, those who don’t know by now are hopeless.

I have stopped being surprised by the depths of depravity, inhumane acts, and lack of concern for others, demonstrated by the Trump administration. Who knew that rock bottom had a basement?

I have stopped being surprised by the obliviousness of people to their own racism. This doesn’t mean that I have stopped working on alleviating it, but that you cannot underestimate the racism of American society.

I have stopped being surprised at the random acts of kindness

Disdain for the folks that brought them

It has always struck me that Fox News openly shows so much disdain for the people who are the backbone of their success. A few weeks ago they tried to shame actor Geoffrey Owens formerly of the Cosby show for working at a supermarket in what they considered as a menial job. The narrative they tried to spin was that here was an African American actor who had fallen from grace, perhaps had been profligate with his actor earnings, and was now forced to work in this unglamorous job. Then there were the slurs on Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez first for being

Confessions of a first time vegetable gardener

The task of planting a vegetable garden has now fallen to me. As a city boy I was not raised to grow my own food. I never wondered how produce made its way into the food distribution system. I knew only that it was available usually frozen, occasionally fresh, in the supermarket. My only experience with food in its natural state was when as a boy we used to sneak apples from a neighbor’s apple trees. The elderly woman who owned them caught us one day and made a deal with us. We could pick as many as we wanted

On Lying

My 2.5. year old granddaughter is learning language (two languages actually) and has just learned that what you say can get you what you want. She is also learning to lie. Oh she’s not good at it yet, but she has learned that denying you have pooped can get you continued play even when there is olfactory and visual evidence to the contrary. That got me thinking about the how young we learn that lying can get us what we want.  There are all kinds of lies: the bold faced lie when we say something we know to be untrue,

Notes from the Montreal Jazz Festival 2 of 2

Dee Dee Bridgewater

Displaying more energy and a better voice than people half her age, Ms. Bridgewater brought the house down with her set. An accomplished jazz singer, Grammy winner and NEH Jazz Master, she has taken a self described “detour” into the Memphis soul music of her teenage years. Lucky us. She has released a new album called “Yes I’m Ready” and performed some of the album’s songs for her set. They ranged from an obscure Gladys Knight song to Elvis and B.B. King with stops in Memphis Stax-Volt along the way. Although in her sixties her voices is undiminished

Notes from the Montreal Jazz Festival 1 of 2

In the next couple of blog entries I am going to write about what for me were the highlights of the Montreal Jazz Festival I attended.

John Medeski/Marc Ribot trio.

Medeski and Ribot are matched well. They both can move from deep in the pocket to way outside in a New York minute. Communication between them was instant, as one picked up what the other was doing to repeat it, elaborate on it, or respond to it.  This despite the fact that they sometimes had to rely on hand signals and nods to indicate they were handing off the soloing duties to

Numb and Number

This was the week that was: this week we had school shooting number 22 of 2018. This is week 20 of the year. Let that sink in for a minute. We have also had incidents where police roughed up an innocent black person, though thankfully haven’t killed anybody this week. I don’t know how many people of color that makes for the year. Another black man was exonerated and released for jail after serving a sentence for a crime he didn’t commit. White people have again called police when they see black folk doing innocuous things and businesses have accused

America WTF is wrong with you?

In my final blog entry on the George Yancy situation I will presume to take a stab at analyzing America’s current situation. My analysis is free, take it for what it is worth. It’s just my two cents added to the conversation. What we have seen since the end of the 1970’s is twofold:  a belief among many folks that we are living in a zero sum game where if someone else is winning they must be losing; and a loss of a sense of community that people outside of our “tribe” are part of our community. “Tribe” can be