I am not sure what to make of this article. There's No Such Thing As White Blues, from The Daily Tar Heel, a student newspaper from the University of North Carolina. I am not sure if the kid gets it or not. It is not a question of white, or black, so much as it is a question of who you are, and if you understand the dynamics of the past and the present. Jena is a great example of just how much farther we need to go in this country when it comes to race.
What happened in Jena (for news accounts of Jena click here) is symptomatic of a lot of the problems that plague our country. The coarsening of our political dialog, and bombastic right wing radio have allowed racial hatred to grown in this country. While they coach their language in welfare cheats, special treatment for minorities,(aka affirmative action) the crazy idea that Mexican immigrants don't pay taxes,(they pay income, sales, and if they own a home property tax) and then say that they are not racist. However, if you look at the group of people that they have the most issues with, it is people of color.
Returning to the blues, I think there is also an economic factor as well. Buddy Guy had a great song about how crazy it is for some guy who has never been poor, singing about how bad he has it! Buddy knows the blues, and it goes back to the reality of the blues. In order to play the blues you have to live the blues. This is true, because if you are singing about things that you have no understanding about then how could you possibly relate to the song? The best blues performers sing songs that come from the heart. Just read any of the interview that are linked on this site and you will see that the great ones really know the blues from personal experience.
I think the kid who wrote the article has his heart in the right place. I don't think the blues is about white or black, or green, yellow, or purple, but it is about what is in your heart, and putting some miles in your shoes! Trust me, the older you get the better you get at the blues.