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Lessons in Racism Through Music

Posted at: 02/11/2013 6:39 PM
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- It was an important lesson -- racism and discrimination can be found almost anywhere.

But it didn’t come from a text book, this lesson was set to music.

"We're called Scratch Track," Jason Hamlin told us just before he and his partner, D. J. Lee took the stage at the Frank Bridges Theatre at Riverland Community College in Austin.

"We're here today to do a little bit of music, have a presentation on racism in music."

“Racism in music has been around a long time in America," Riverland instructor Scott Blankenbaker added. RCCs Popular Music In America class has tracked racism in American music to the days of the Civil War.

"Throughout history in the 20s and 30s, the 60s and even today. It's something that's not always obvious to students, but then once they start thinking about it we see it throughout history."

“If we stop discrimination we increase the chance for people to improve and show their talents," said Nodir Boymatov. He’s a member of the Multicultural Club at Riverland Community College, which sponsored Scratch Track’s appearance.

But when racism is done under the guise of "art"; "It does become a little bit more difficult to define and to deal with because it is somebody's artistic product" RCC’s Scott Blankenbaker said.

"Usually if it's done in an artistic way it's to bring out an emotion it's rarely celebrated," said Scratch Track’s D. J. Lee

But art or not: “We just really want to start a conversation," said Scratch track’s Jason Hamlin.

“Listening critically and thinking about the things you hear and see on a daily basis," added Riverland’s Scott Blankenbaker.

And for the guys in Scratch Track, just being on stage together is a lesson.

"Hopefully their eyes have been opened. Hopefully they can see black and white living together," D. J. Lee told us.

“We are the same. god created us in the same. We are human” said Riverland student Nodir Boymatov, “and it doesn't matter if we are black or white, we are the same."