I wish this wasn't the case, but my last blog - about tweeting during a recent Austin City Limits taping - was my most read in the last year. Does this mean I don't write about things that interest people? Perhaps. Although I did once write a blog about the Washington Elite that is still relevant today and continues to be among the most-trafficked blogs on the topic on the Internet. (do a Google search for the words “Washington elite”.)
But I actually think it says a bit more (possibly something disheartening) about Austin's residents. Often times, we are extremely short-sighted and can’t see the forest through the trees. We can’t see an in-show tweet as a sign of a new form of publicity for Austin musicians. We can’t see public transit, rail specifically, as a long-term answer to our traffic woes. We can’t see the Texas Legislature’s attack on public education as a long term effort to stiple innovation and economic solvency in the state.
Did you see the blog when I pointed out how dismal our African-American population growth is? By “growth” I actually mean that it’s on the rapid decline. It’s the only demographic – no other age or ethnicity is doing anything similar –experiencing a decline in the Live Music Capital of the World. What does this mean? Why is this happening?
Does anyone care? Will anyone be commenting on my Twitter or Facebook or blog about this trend? Will Austinites both new and old, mothers and daughters, friends and neighbors, because taking up arms about this issue? No, that’s way over their heads I suppose. Or maybe everyone has their token black friend and think they’ve done their part. Well, no, being my friend isn’t enough.
Because guess what? You keep this up, Austin, and there won’t be enough tokens to go around. No more rides on the merry-go-round for you in this city of creativity, fun and relaxation. The world of Austin, Texas, will have a lot less color. A lot less rhythm. Is that a stereotype there? Perhaps, but there aren’t even enough people concerned with the racial implications of this decline in the Black population to be up in arms the way people appear to be about my ACL/Twitter post.
This is sad. I wish someone would tap me on the shoulder during an ACL taping and thank me for being there b/c it’s a rare occasion that this Live Music Capital of ours embraces the musical genres that embrace Black residents. Sure, we have Texas Relays but you all – yes, I said “you all” – seem to loathe it. We have hip-hop shows here and there, but they never have the momentum and support of those indie and singer-songwriter shows.
The remedy seems to put the word “Black” in your band name to get a little more attention, maybe from metal fans. I don’t know.
I’m just saying. Try caring about something more than whether or not my iPhone makes something less like it’s former self and care about the real things that make Austin a special place. We’ve been the token in the State of Texas for years.
But what happens when us tokens in Austin – yes, I realize that’s what I am when I’m out in social settings about 75% of the time - start to run out? What then?