Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Classical music is racist. . .

So somebody forwarded me a link to a post entitled It’s Time to Let Classical Music Die.  Okay, there you have it.  The classical music that has survived poverty and war, Nazis and culture clashes, now must be euthanized because it is inherently racist.  What is amazing about this is that classical music is already on life support -- not because it is racist but because people no longer hear or value it.  In my own neck of the woods, Music City (Nashville for those who do not know it) has no classical music station anymore -- NPR long ago ditched classical music in favor of talk and alternative music (whatever that means).  They did so because they thought the edge was in the new things and they wanted exposure for their liberal politics and culture views and they thought they could shutter classical without it costing them much money.  Maybe it did not cost them money but it is missing from our radio dial not because there is something wrong with it but because we no longer teach it or value it.

The blogger has some other interesting things to say.  My fellow musicians of color: it is time to accept that we are in an abusive relationship with classical music.  The writer equates the love of classical music with the affection the abused has with their abuser -- sick, distorted, and wrong.  It is America so you can have whatever opinion you want to have no matter how stupid or silly.  Strangely enough, some of the featured performers at the Nashville Symphony are people of color -- not white old men but people of all kinds of backgrounds and ethnicities who love one thing -- the genre and its wonderful music.  Which, by the way, were often composed by people on the fringes who did not have power or access to power but had to find a way to get sponsorship so that the music could be put on paper and played in the concert hall.  Genius is seldom appreciated by the powers that be.  Have you ever watched Amadeus?

Then there is this: Western classical music is not about culture. It’s about whiteness. This is an absurd statement that stands only because people are afraid to challenge it -- fearful of being called racists themselves.  Where is the grand defense of Western art music against these charges. The silence is deafening. The champions and proponents of Western civilization, from museum directors, humanities professors, or symphony directors, are quiet before this CRT charge against classical music.  In the wake of the BLM protests, the League of American Orchestras issued a statement confessing that, for decades, it had “tolerated and perpetuated systemic discrimination against Black people, discrimination mirrored in the practices of orchestras and throughout our country.” The League pledged itself to confronting and 'dismantling” its “role in perpetuating the systems of inequity that continue to oppress Black people” and expected its member orchestras to respond in kind.  The Juilliard School’s president, Damian Woetzel, and Juilliard’s Director of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Initiatives pledged that the school would become a “community that not only rejects racism, but that is actively anti-racist, working to tear down systemic racism and injustice.”  The practice of concealing the musician through most, if not all, stages of an orchestral audition to prevent favoritism or bias (a process known as a “blind audition”) is challenged because colorblindness is now regarded as discriminatory, since it favors merit over race.  An announcer for American Public Media, told a Composers Forum roundtable in June 2020: “You are complicit in racism every time you listen to Handel’s Messiah” (because Handel held stock in a slave-trading company).

The threat to classical music comes at a time when, post-pandemic, orchestras and opera companies are hurting financially and by the empty seats in the audience.  Everyone knows this.  As one person put it:  “Two key sources for classical music exposure—circumambient culture and music education—have dried up.”  The "mob mentality" of those crying racism cares little for facts.  To equate tonal hierarchies with racial hierarchies is lunatic, as everyone knows, but that does not stop the advance of a Critical Race Theory movement out to kill and divide without offering any real effective solution.  The biggest victim of the racial attack on classical music is the music itself -- music that has little to do with racism at all and yet suffers because its defenders fear the wrath of those who control the microphone in this debate.  Before the lies accumulating about classical music, it seems that few if any conductors, soloists, or concertmasters will rebut those falsehoods or defend the music.  The petty self and the narcissism which is the single most profound characteristic of our time are shrinking our cultural inheritance until they will succeed in what the Nazis failed and make the music suffer for our own ignorance and corruption.  Those paid to serve as the keepers of our tradition know that classical music is a priceless inheritance but they are paralyzed by fear and are quietly watching as that legacy goes down.  Without the will to stand up and fight back against this race war and defend our classical music inheritance, we will end up with more than just a culture cancelled and lose that which has given hope and comfort to so many throughout the ages and which has marked the nobility of humanity even amid its most inhuman excesses.


Carl Vehse said...

[A]s each new day people breathlessly inform us of the racist history of things like crossword puzzles and punctuality, scientists are warning of an impending catastrophe.

"At this current rate of coming up with new things that are racist," warned racism scientist Frank Greene, "we'll run out of new things to call racist by the end of this year."

Anti-racism activists met this news with both fear and denial. "Running out of new things to call racist would be devastating," said activist Brooke Snyder. "I mean, you'll only get attention if you come up with something no one knows is racist.

Excerpted from "Scientists Warn That Within 6 Months Humanity Will Run Out Of Things To Call Racist" from the Babylon Bee.

Janis Williams said...

The long march continues…