While many African Americans may find loud drumming for hours on a Saturday night annoying, they probably aren't going to call the cops on the group that's been doing the same thing every Saturday night for thirty years. I think it's because most black people have a higher tolerance for plain-old cacophony. Also, most black people aren't about to call the cops. We're a loud people, no? And African drums include a subset called 'talking drums.' It's only natural that they're going to be ... attention-getting. (Anecdote alert: My mother used to get on my nerves because she was so loud when she'd talk to her friends. Then, I got to HU and saw that all my friends' mothers, and aunties, and sisters were like that.) Though I'm a pretty quiet person, noise, disorganized or organized, doesn't bother me. It all is part and parcel of the way we communicate. My initial reaction was to take the side of the drummers, but, then I remembered a piece I read recently about a black real estate agent in Harlem who is selling (out?) homes in the area to the highest bidder. This, of course, is her prerogative in a capitalist society. But it does make you wonder how much sacrifice will have to be made in a traditionally black area such as Harlem, where young white professionals move for both the affordability and flava'. As the people who made Harlem what it is are forced out by rising real estate prices, and whites move in (which makes sense, because white people gotta live, too), what happens? In short, does a 30-year-old drum circle have a place if the people who loved and appreciated it are no longer there? And are we asking too much of the new neighbors to adopt the habits of the neighborhood?
The drummers in the park are African-American and from Africa and the Caribbean. They form a circle and have played in the park, in one form or another, since 1969, when the neighborhood was a more dangerous place. The musicians, who play until 10 p.m. every summer Saturday, are widely credited with helping to make the park safer over the years.
Their supporters, who acknowledge that the drumbeats can pierce walls and windows, regard the musicians as part of the city’s vibrant and often noisy cultural mix. But some in the building at 2002 Fifth Avenue, most of them young white professionals, have a different perspective: When the drummers occupy a spot nearby, residents say, they are unable to sleep, hear their television sets, speak on the telephone, or even have conversations with their spouses without shouting. Some say they cannot even think straight.
Marcus Garvey, for cryin' out loud). That's fine. In fact, I find it to be illustrative of the cultural difference between blacks and whites. H/T RaceWire for the link to this Times piece: