I found this "viewpoint" to be very intriguing to say the least (Cover, “Indianapolis Scenes in Black and White,” July 12-19)! You talked about the perception(s) of "blackness." Want to comment on a few of the "scenes" presented in this article.
Let's go with No. 4 first — being at the Dave Matthews concert. Music in the U.S. is VERY POLARIZD, meaning that the "general consensus" is that if the category is "labled" rock — white people only dig it. Soul/R&B means black only!
To an extent, that is VERY TRUE … just look at how music was MARKETED back in the early ’70s. A group like Mandrill was originally marketed to a "rock audience" but by the time their fourth release, “Composite Truth”, came out, they were "exclusively” marketed toward a black audience, more or less, forgetting all the other fans! (Thanks to Joe Medlin at The Black A&R dept at Polydor.) Tying that in with Dave Matthews, the same holds true today.
Maybe just maybe EACH SIDE NEEDS to take the initiative and INVITE the other without confrontation or any other hindrance, more or less on a "friendly basis."
Now, regarding Scene No. 5. For one, as Mr. Atkins says, is "perception." The white person not going, well, seeing, that the whole scenario DOESN’T FIT IN WITH THEIR BEING ... how could it, right?
Yeah, the concept of "feeling uncomfortable" is the reason, maybe the symptom, maybe it’s been that as previously mentioned, very little or no interaction with other people outside one's own ethnicity! (I believe in a lot of cases THAT IS ONE OF THE REASONS/CAUSES!)
Solution ... somebody needs to take the initiative!