A token Black musician on stage isn’t diversity. Whites believe it’s inclusion, and more than one threatens white supremacy. Thus, they limit us to one at a time in white spaces. A group of Blacks is perceived as a social threat. Think about how you feel about a group of Black teenagers on a corner vs. whites.
Tokenism compromises the mental and physical health of Black musicians. Struggling to adapt to spaces not intended and where we’re not wanted wears the body down. We’re given a far more difficult score to play, full of thorny ornaments — microaggressions to flat out racist attacks, all in the key of white supremacy.
This is the Black orchestral musician’s daily experience.