This past weekend I had a long and rambling conversation that covered all sorts of topics. One of the topics, which I keep poking at, talking and thinking about is appropriation. I’m not entirely comfortable being a person with a trajectory into the high middle socioeconomic class, of European heritage and dancing (primarily) blues.
At some point the conversation wrapped around to the nature of blues dancing and my friend echoed a point made by a teacher to her once. Africans being poly-theistic (but not having the same polytheisim when they were brought to America) mostly had gods that resided in the earth. Christianity (forced on them) a god that resided in the sky. Their lives on the earth were troubled, difficult and sometimes downright agonizing, yet they were promised eternal heavenly bliss. So one of the embodiment of blues is the tension between earth and sky. This I can identify with. I grew up rural, but live in the big city. I am the most educated of my family. I am expected to make a starting wage which will be more than both my parents combined. My parents both moved from east to west, and I have moved east. I have roots, but they are shallow and I actively keep them from being exposed. Tension I know. Tension I understand.