Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The End of Racism

At the end of some of my courses for music teachers, we sing a lovely Estonian song while moving into a spiral. At some point, we lay our head on the back of the person in front of us to not only hear their singing, but feel the vibration. At the end, amidst the wet eyes, I usually remind the teachers that we have so much power to affect children because music goes directly to the Soul, from vibration to vibration without being muddled by dogma or narrow thinking.

I just received an evaluation from one of these summer course students in Canada and under the question, “What were the most memorable moments?” she wrote:

  The moment when we listened to each other’s vibration at the end was very powerful.
 I never get that close to other people.  In the news there has been so many anti-Black experiences that I feel rejected by society.  To be reminded that we are the same and that it was important to you to create a moment for us to be truly united, where race did not matter, only the vibrations.  I am very touched. More that anything I want the children I work with to know that they are valuable and that they matter. 

I was moved by her testimony. As a black woman living in Canada, I imagined her experience was more friendly that her U.S. counterparts, but the arm of racism is long and reaches everywhere. And keep in mind that this reference to the events in the news was before the Charlottesville Klan/ Nazi gathering.

People, when will this stop? It really doesn’t take much intelligence or compassion or wisdom to just realize that we are living vibrations and vibration doesn’t differentiate between skin pigment. Anything we can dream or suffer or feel joy in is experienced by all the people someone taught us to distrust, disdain, ignore or hate and we are a fool to think otherwise. And every ounce of anger and insult and loathing we project unto the “other” hurts them, as testified above. But it also hurts the hater, who chooses to live with the heart twisted and deformed, the mind shrunk to pea-size, the body carrying the cancer of pointless prejudice. It is good for exactly no one.

So why don’t we stop? What’s in it for us to keep up the catastrophe of vilifying the other?
I was moved to have been able to offer that moment of feeling truly united, but sick to my stomach to think that this was rare and nothing this woman could count on happening again.
It makes me think about doing a music workshop in pitch black. People singing together, dancing (slowly) together, playing music together, talking together, with no idea whatsoever what each other looked like. After six hours, the lights come on and there we all are—all ages, all races, all classes, all genders and sexual preferences, all different kinds of dress. And not a single reason to change that feeling of unity, laughter and love we created. 

And if we could do that and carry that thinking with us into the everyday, I do believe we would finally come to that long-awaited and long-overdue moment—the end of all isms.

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