I was doing some research and came across a post on Craigslist. Is this the sort of thing typical of American steelbands today? The text reads:
"Potts & Pans Steelband is looking for black musicians to work with. The group is currently comprised of white and hispanic members, and we have lost numerous gigs due to not having a black person in the group. If you have any musical experience and are up for learning a new instrument (the steelpan aka steel drum) I will give you free lessons. Even if you don't have musical experience, but would like to learn, I'll work with you!"
I personally find this disturbing for many reasons; as a human, as a musician, and as someone who works very hard at my craft.
Am I way out in the depths of space to be bothered by this?
What an emotional fellow you are Mr. Robinson. You appear to be wired improperly. Let's see if we can fix you. So you're tired of hearing the poor black story. Okay. Who told you I was black? What is your obsession with color? What color pig do you think I am? Have you a fear of bugs? Are you and Clint Davis the same person? How long have you been exhibiting this personality disorder? Are you still angry that Ms. Paulenti brought this topic to light? Are you representative of the type of friends Mr. Potts keeps?
My, my, my you are indeed an emotional fellow Carl. Can I call you Carl? Okay I'm glad to see we got the color thing out of the way. Progress! You see I'm blue and I have big bulging eyes. It would be a serious step backwards in my effort to fix you if you were stuck on blue. When did you start to believe you were truly older than ten? Why do you think Ms. Paullenti is stupid? Do you mingle with a lot of people you think are stupid? Why would you reject my friendship? Do you have anything against north, south, east and west?
Do you know anyone who needs a great arranger? My boy Merrytones is overly qualified and available.
I'm trying to be as fair as possible , but there are many ways this add could have been written to achieve positive results, without implying that token blacks of limited skills would be hired , mainly as a foil for perceived racial discrimination .
It's easy to see why many will find it offensive.
anytime a white person mention NIGGER, BLACK all hell broke lose...when a black person mention honky...it is OK...STOP THE BLAMING GAME....
Not because of the term Black, because Black is Universal; whereas, nigger is a derogatory term given to slaves during the time of slavery. So, we don't get hung up on the term Black because Black is Original; not a color, but the essence from which ALL COLOR COMES! and this is not racism but pure truth...When you come into the knowledge of self, there is no need to blame anyone about anything dealing with color because your essence is what gave everyone their color! Just Remember, Black Is Not a Color But The Essence From Which All Color Comes!!.
I talked to some of my musician friends and we all agree: The biggest concern (minus the race issue) is how a beginner can right off the bat play with a "professional group"? My friends practiced their instruments for years before they even thought about making money from music.
Does money trump everything in the U.S., even musical integrity? Then, all of the hard-working panists wonder why people in this country think of steelpan as a novelty instrument. I know musicians who play pan well, and get passed up on gigs by someone who undercuts them. Someone who doesn't care about music, doesn't care about what kind of music is being played, only to take steelpan out on a gig to make money.
I've been hired before (more than once) only because I am a woman. I was taken advantage of financially and was the butt of many jokes behind my back. A friend and ex-coworker told me I wasn't hired as a person, only as a "type". That's why people thought they had the right to treat me as subhuman.
If this band is near Chicago, isn't there a bunch of school bands around that this group can pull from? I get the idea from some comments made, this group is pretty good. I'm sure young musicians would jump at the chance to play with a professional group of this caliber!!
Two other ads on CL by the same group were posted looking for musicians. Neither of those ads had the blurb about steelpan being created by "Afro-Trinidadians". Just an observation.