Jaleel Shaw: Black History, Black Culture, Black Audiences, Black Lives

Jaleel Shaw has a great response to Ethan Iverson’s post about Whiplash. Iverson’s objection was to the disappearance of black culture from both the jazz of the movie and the jazz world in general. Shaw makes a good case for why that’s happened.

I have to say that I believe black history and black culture is not only important to the black community but is important to our country (and the world) as a whole. When I think about what happened in Ferguson, Missouri with Mike Brown and in New York with Eric Gardner, I wonder what the police officers responsible for those deaths learned about black culture and history when THEY were in school. Or if they were even exposed to anything that had to do with a Black man outside of what they may have seen on TV or in the movies.

The truth is, black culture/history is American culture/history. And it’s not taught in most schools. At least not in this country. There are some people that are given the opportunity to attend schools that include black culture and history in their curriculums, and there are those that are fortunate to have parents that teach them about black history and exposed them to the culture. But I truly believe that until it’s taught in all schools and is considered as important as the other parts of American history that ARE taught in schools, we can not expect to see more diverse audiences or expect more people to be interested in jazz music anytime soon.