Columbia lakefront concerts lack diversity
The Columbia summer concerts, from the lakefront’s inception, have been a wonderful idea and experience for locals and visitors alike. In recent years, however, I’ve noticed something disturbing, and this year I decided to do a little research and probe. I discovered that the Columbia Association booked 33 bands for the 2021 schedule, and 29 of them were white bands, with only three Black bands and one Latino band.
Black music for decades has been a major force in the music industry, popular across racial and ethnic lines, dominating the charts and garnering countless Grammys year after year. You couldn’t find Black bands in the Baltimore/Washington region? It’s my sincere hope that this regrettable situation will be addressed. Quite simply, when it comes to diversity, it flies in the face of every thing Columbia is suppose to stand for.
Racial inequality has a long history
In his letter, Erskine Traynham Jr. claims the “real cause” of racial inequality in our country is “globalism, automation, the … digital age” and “failure … to attain a decent education” (“Don’t blame a statue for today’s woes in the United States,” Sept. 2).
Mr. Traynham focuses on relatively recent trends and fails to recognize 400 years of cruelty, trauma and injustice that still affect every aspect of an oppressed person’s life.
The lack of education he refers to is the result of too many factors to name here. One is the very profitable mass incarceration of Black males for minor offenses, or none whatsoever. Historically, white people made it illegal to teach a person of color to read then did everything they could to keep them out of better schools. Reverse affirmative action is still alive and well, and schools in communities of color are impoverished by school budgets being linked to property taxes, effectively and very strategically insuring there will be massive educational inequality.
Victim blaming in this case is neither helpful nor valid. Mr. Traynham’s views show a disregard of sweeping historical realities. They bear witness to a lack of empathy for those who are subjected to unceasing racially motivated aggression, while bearing the trauma of 12 generations of unspeakable suffering.
Judith and Charlie Goedeke