We could all probably tell stories for days, but I would like to share a few. Racism, ignorance, and prejudice are three very different things. Also, we can not just simply put one race into a negative category.
In high school at The Baltimore School for the Arts, true story. I was what you call a “YO BOY,” and somewhat of a comedic trouble maker! One day the brass ensemble had to go on a recruiting trip which meant being away from school. At the end of the day we returned to school, and I was called to the deans office. At this point I am feeling really good, because I couldn’t be in trouble today, because I wasn’t here! I walked in the office and there was the dean, head of the vocal music department, the associate dean, the president of the school, and about 15 young ladies ( 14 black and one white who happened to be my girlfriend) Holy shit right, turns out I have not been the same Richard since having a white girlfriend, and this created total chaos during the school day! Each girl went around taking turns stating their concerns from, I just never thought he would sell out, to he use to call everyday and now nothing, to he was suppose to go to prom with me. Keep in mind at least three of these girls, I never said a word to, and wasn’t even sure who they were. At the end of the meeting they all had to take a pledge stating that they would all share me and that they understood I had the right to date who I wanted. The dean looked at me and said “Richard only you, some of us would kill to have the problems you have.” I stayed with my high school sweet heart for years and yes she was white and that relationship changed the entire dynamic of a high school in a very positive way!
While attending Indiana University three young African American tuba players Jerome Stover, Bryan Mack, and myself decided to drive up to Cincinnati, to hear a Bruckner Symphony. We were so exited plus we were going to see Mike Thornton principal tubist back then (rip). Well, we arrived at the box office and the lady working came out of the box office to tell us that the MC Hammer concert was down the street… Jerome Stover, quickly begin to give this lady a music history lesson, I am sure she will never forget! She then gave us free tickets to the concert I can only imagine how that would have gone if we were confrontational. I wish this story ended here. After the concert, we went back to the musicians exit to meet Mike Thornton, who proceeded to run like Flash Gordon, from us as we screamed “we go to IU and study with Mr.P, great concert…” He continued to run away. I am sure he was just scared, but had we been white would any of this had happened?
Second story, being from Baltimore City I never needed a car, public transportation is more than enough to get around. I thought Indiana would be the same right, light rail, bus, subway…needless to say that was not the case, so I called Dad and explained to him I would need a car. Went home purchased my first car thanks to Brass Theater which is now Blast. On the way back to Indiana, my first long distance drive alone my endurance was not that great, so I decided to stop at a Hotel in West Virgina, where every hotel had big as day vacancy lights flashing. Naturally I stopped at the first one and there was a security guard, and desk clerk who both told me pretty aggressively we don’t have any rooms. I was like ok, plenty of other hotels, so I drove down the street to the next one and what do you know, security guard and desk clerk again told me this time ” nobody in this town is going to have a room for you.” I basically ran to my car drove about 50 miles and slept in a BP gas station in my Buick Le Saber. How would you label this story?
Ok on a lighter note three college student decided to take the Rochester Philharmonic audition, two African Americans, one Japanese and six tubas pilled in that Buick Le Saber – don’t ask how we did that…but anyway, I make a bad turn and we got pulled over by the police:( The officer said to me because I was driving “Sir. you didn’t see that sign as he pointed that says no turning here?” I replied “you mean that very big sign right there that you are pointing to? No sir, but I see it now it sure is big!” He busted out laughing and just gave us a warning! Not all cops are bad!
Last but not least, when I was attending Indiana University, I became friends with Robert White ( white male) and then there is me Richard White (giant black male)! So we would always take festival auditions together and which ever would go first we would say you will get to hear my twin brother later and the looks on their faces were priceless when the second one came in. They would always laugh and it was a really fun prank to do. One year we both made Spoletto USA, and got to our room before our roommates, so we set up shop and went to bed! Because of our names which was sent out on a roster to our roommates they assumed we were twins…lol, so its about 12 at night and I am sleeping and I feel the top of my covers being pulled back and all I heard next was “they aint twins!” LMBO funny story about race and how different people react!