Friday, July 4, 2008

186/365+1:Joseph The Drummer

186/365+1:Joseph The Drummer, originally uploaded by Yankee T.

Although this was taken a couple of weeks ago in DC, I could not resist posting it. This cab driver, Joseph the Drummer, told us the amazing story of his life-of his immigration to South Carolina from the west coast of Africa to attend college. He had played the drums since his childhood, and it was his greatest passion. But he stopped playing after he realized that his musical talent was not accepted for the gift it was-he heard the comment, over and over in this country, that he played the drums well because he was black and had "natural rhythm."

We were ashamed. We were equally ashamed when he told us he is driving a cab because despite his graduate degree in science, he was passed over at his company for many promotions for what he called "political reasons." He said he watched people far less qualified than he was get promoted while he remained in jobs with long hours and much lower pay.

He smiled, laughed, and was wonderfully warm and sincere. We hated for our cab ride to end. I do think that by the end, The Attorney may have had him convinced to start playing the drums again. Surely, things have changed in 20 years. Haven't they?


Athymion said...

Things never change, my friend. They may expand, contract, leak, dry up, age, recede, progress, speed up, or slow down, but they don't change. Everything and everyone are exactly what they were when you first encountered them, and they always will be. Love them or leave them -- your choice -- but don't expect "change" or you'll inevitably be disappointed, and you may even turn resentful because your (unilateral and irrational) expectations remain forever unfulfilled.

Joseph will always be fine, obviously. So will you.

concretegodmother said...

go, attorney! maybe joseph should get out of dc for a while and visit some locales that are a little more open-minded. i'm not suggesting running away, but certainly when one is thirsty one goes to where the water is, right?

i don't know about change -- i've always been an optimist, or i couldn't be a teacher -- but not every place is the same.

Sandie said...

This is a real nice portrait. I like how you can see his sweet smile. I hope for his own soul, he decides to drum again. When a person is created to do something and they ignore that part of themselves, the world looses a precious gift and they never feel complete.

Anonymous said...

maybe better off in dc than in the south for the deployment of racial stereotypes? then again, maybe not.

Gawdess said...

the softness around his face and that smile - like a dream

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