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Word Count: 1,362
In all jazz and especially in the blues there is something tart and ironic authoritative and double-edged White Americans seem to feel that happy songs are happy and sad songs are sad anddo not understand the depths out of which such an ironic tenacity comes but they suspect that the force is sensual and they are terrified of sensuality and do not any longer understand itTo be sensual I think is to accept and rejoice in the force of life of life itself to be present in all that one does from the effort of loving to the breaking of bread It will be a great day for America incidentally when we begin to eat bread again instead of the blasphemous and tasteless foam rubber that we have substituted for it And I am not being frivolous now either Something very sinister happens to the people of a country when they begin to distrust their own reactions as deeply as they do here and become as joyless as they have become It is this individual uncertainty on the part of white American men and women this inability to renew oneself at the foundation of their own lives that makes the discussion let alone the elucidation of any conundrum-that is any reality-so supremely difficult The person who distrusts himself has no touchstone for reality-this touchstone can only be oneself Such a person interposes between himself and reality nothing less than a labyrinth of attitudes And these attitudes furthermore though the person is usually unaware of it is unaware of so much are historical and public attitudes They do not relate to the present any more than they relate to the person Therefore whatever white people do not know about Negroes reveals precisely and inexorably what they do not know about themselves Though New Orleans can lay claim to being the birthplace of jazz and Chicago can boast that it discovered
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