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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001260.txt from 1999/01

From: Bill Hausmann <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Re: klarinet Digest 23 Jan 1999 18:14:55 -0000 Issue
Date: Mon, 25 Jan 1999 08:10:33 -0500

At 04:26 AM 1/25/99 -0500, Gerald Barnes wrote:
>Hello Klarinet Subscribers,
> This is my first post to the list, although I have been an off and
>on subscriber for about two years. My post, although I wish it was
>concerning music, is in response to the first post which I found to be
>extremely offensive since I subscribed to the list. This is the post that
>was made by Ravel a few days ago in response to the situation involving the
>court mandate concerning students entering band and other programs. In
>this post Ravel accuses minorities of needing to use legal trickery in
>order to obtain positions in the work force and in other aspects of social
>life. This accusation is given 1) as if legal action taken to oppose
>discrimination is occurring in a society free of prejudice and bias, and 2)
>with out basis or any type of factual support. Following this accusation,
>Ravel goes on to present the pathetic and commonly used example of how
>affirmative action has not been applied to professional sports, even though
>professional sports are businesses which are owned an operated by the
>majority to which most discrimination can be attributed. Following this
>ridiculousness, Ravel speaks of how minorities, especially African
>Americans are under represented in the area of symphonic music. Ravel also
>implies that the arts are not valued by blacks as much as they are by
>whites. Addressing the issue of symphonic music, I know personally what it
>is like to be african american who is involved in the orchestral scene.
>Before I went to college I performed in the local youth symphony, and I
>regularly attended the local orchestra concerts. I believe that people
>enjoy going places where they feel comfortable, and black people are not
>made to feel comfortable in the world of orchestral music. I have many a
>time been the object of unapproving or puzzled stares and comments as I was
>seen after a performance or attending a concert.(people were especially
>vocal after my performance of the Mozart concerto) This does not occur now
>that I am in college. I attend Morehouse College, which is ninety eight
>percent african american. I now play in an orchestra that is almost
>completely African American, with audiences that are also mostly Black. I
>no longer see the stares, or hear the comments, yet I still know people
>that avoid symphony concerts because they feel as if they will not be
>accepted in that type of environment. In response to Ravel's implication
>that the arts of are little value to African Americans, I would like to
>offer the theory that Ravel's use of the term "arts" refers to art forms
>which were created and started by cultures other than African Americans.
>Ravel's definition of the arts most likely would exclude the entire art
>forms of jazz, the blues, spirituals, the works of writers and poets such
>as Langston Hughes, Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones), Toni Morrison, Alice
>Walker, and probably any other work of art created by any person of color.
>Well, what I've been attempting to assert in this exhaustive writing is
>that I strongly disagree with the comments made by Ravel, and I feel as if
>they are simply the manifestations of a prejudiced mind, but that's just my
I'm pretty sure that Ravel's comments were meant to be much less critical
about the goal than about the means that have been chosen to achieve it.
The numbers, though, speak for themselves. Small-mindedness cannot be
overcome by legal decisions. But small-mindedness is multi-cultural.
Staring at black participants and audience members at classical concerts is
impolite at best. But I would expect exactly the same reaction to me a rap
concert. Nobody can tell me that I can't enjoy Ellington, Basie, Hampton,
Parker, etc., just because my ancestors came from Germany, and they should
not hamper your enjoyment of "European" music solely because your
forefathers did not.

Bill Hausmann
451 Old Orchard Drive
Essexville, MI 48732
ICQ UIN 4862265

If you have to mic a saxophone, the rest of the band is too loud.

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