See, Half-Blood Blues, 3 mins, 33 secs, is almost all I got out of that time. I ain’t sore about it. Ain’t no glory made from beingdependable. But it started Chip’s career a second time. Jolted the man awake again. And, well, it made Hiero one of the most famous jazz trumpeters of his generation.
The kids’ existence might’ve been a fiction we’d all cooked up if that disc hadn’t survived. Today you ain’t no kind of horn player if you don’t acknowledge some debt to Hieronymus Falk. He was one of the pioneers: a German Louis Armstrong, if you will. Wynton Marsalis praised Falk as one of the reasons he started playing at all: “Hearing Falk—man, that was it. It just blew my mind out. I was just a kid, but even then I knew I was hearing genius. His brilliance was that obvious.” Even fellow who ain’t never played jazz understood he was the man. Punk guitarist, avant-gard cellists, even tootsie-pop songbird was all drawing on him. I eard a riff on NPR the other day had Hiero all over it.
But the kid could have been lost to history….
Alive Soul Note:There was no Pulitzer Prize for fiction this year, this book would have gotten my vote.
1. When you work hard at something you become good at it.
2. When you become good at doing something, you will enjoy it more.
3. When you enjoy doing something, there is a very good chance you will become passionate or more passionate about it.
4. When you are good at something, passionate and work even harder to excel and be the best at it, good things happen.
Don’t follow your passions, follow your effort. It will lead you to your passions and to success, however you define it.
“The fact that I can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another’s, smile at someone and receive a smile in return, are to me continual spiritual exercises.”—Leo Buscaglia
The door to the subway train slides open, revealing three tall, young black men, crowding the entrance, with hooded sweatshirts pulled up over downward-turned faces; boxer shorts billowing out of over-large, low-slung jeans; and sneakers with the laces untied.
Your response to the look — and to this trio on the subway — depends in part on the context, like the time of day, but especially on how you feel about young, male blackness.
If it unsettles you — as it does many people — you never get beyond the first impression. But those of us who are not reflexively uncomfortable with blackness can discern the clues that tell who these kids are. They may be tall, but their hormonally pockmarked faces, narrow hips and the cartoon-patterned underwear show that they are probably 15 years old, at most. The grimy black book bags, barely visible against the black hoodies, make them students on the way to school.
Young black men know that in far too many settings they will be seen not as individuals, but as the “other,” and given no benefit of the doubt. By the time they have grown into adult bodies — even though they are still children — they are well versed in the experience of being treated as criminals until proved otherwise by cops who stop and search them and eyed warily by nighttime pedestrians who cower on the sidewalks.
Society’s message to black boys — “we fear you and view you as dangerous” — is constantly reinforced. Boys who are seduced by this version of themselves end up on a fast track to prison and to the graveyard. But even those who keep their distance from this deadly idea are at risk of losing their lives to it. The death of Trayvon Martin vividly underscores that danger.
Very few Americans make a conscious decision to subscribe to racist views. But the toxic connotations that the culture has associated with blackness have been embedded in thought, language and social convention for hundreds of years. This makes it easy for people to see the world through a profoundly bigoted lens without being aware that they are doing so.
Over the last three decades, a growing body of research has shown that racial stereotypes play a powerful role in judgments made by ostensibly fair-minded people. Killers of whites, for example, are more likely to receive the death penalty than killers of blacks — and, according to the psychologist Jennifer Eberhardt, juries tend to see darker defendants as more “deathworthy” in capital cases involving white victims.
As Vesla Weaver, a political science professor at the University of Virginia, has written, “virtually every aspect of life and material well-being is influenced by skin color, in addition to race.” Studies have shown, for example, that darker-skinned blacks are punished more severely than others for the same types of crimes; deemed less worthy of help during disasters like Hurricane Katrina; disfavored in some hiring decisions; and more likely to be unemployed.
THESE preconceptions are at work even in the early grades at school, where voluminous data show that children of color are far more likely than their white peers to be suspended, expelled or declared “disabled” and shunted into special education.
“Sometimes I see myself as a child in a rain storm, running around trying to catch all the drops in his mouth. I long for your adventures to be like the raindrops the child saves and not those which crash to the ground.”—Anonymous
“Fear is not love, dependence is not love, jealousy is not love, possessiveness and domination are not love, responsibility and duty are not love, self-pity is not love, the agony of not being loved is not love….”—Krishnamurti - On Love (via knowapower)
Florida State Attorney Angela Corey said in her press conference yesterday “We do not prosecute by public pressure or by petition.” With all due respect, had there been no public pressure Treyvon Martin’s case would have been swept under the rug of history to be forgotten like the cases of so many other young black men murdered unjustly in America.
“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”—Nelson Mandela