April 09, 2021

University of Oxford changing music degree curriculum to address "white hegemony" because things like learning musical notation is colonialist

The problem with Oxford's music curriculum?

Way too much music.

(You should be able to get behind the Telegraph's paywall going through MSN here.)

Documents reveal that faculty members, who decide on courses that form the music degree, have proposed reforms to address this "white hegemony", including rethinking the study of musical notation because it is a "colonialist representational system".

Teaching notation which has not "shaken off its connection to its colonial past" would be a "slap in the face" for some students, documents state, and music-writing studies have been earmarked for rebranding to be more inclusive.

"A slap in the face."

You know, notes, bars, sharp signs,... definitely can see those causing PCRTTSD, or "Post Critical Race Theory Traumatic Stress Disorder."

What exactly is this musical notation that they want to eliminate as a necessary course to get a degree in music from Oxford?

Pretty much what you think it is, "sheet music," the means by which musicians both aspiring and otherwise can create and share complex compositions.

Musical notation, visual record of heard or imagined musical sound, or a set of visual instructions for performance of music. It usually takes written or printed form and is a conscious, comparatively laborious process. Its use is occasioned by one of two motives: as an aid to memory or as communication. By extension of the former, it helps the shaping of a composition to a level of sophistication that is impossible in a purely oral tradition. By extension of the latter, it serves as a means of preserving music (although incompletely and imperfectly) over long periods of time, facilitates performance by others, and presents music in a form suitable for study and analysis.

What is its connection to colonialism? The best I can determine is that it was developed during a time when European nations were colonizing large portions of the world. If that's the measure by which we cancel things now, things could get interesting.

Maybe we should eliminate scientific notation as a requirement for getting a degree in mathematics. It is believed the first attempt at developing scientific notation was in ancient Greece. Greece is a part of Europe, Greece is full of white people (well, white-ish), and they had slaves, so I guess out it goes. Just use smaller numbers from now on, say no larger than 1000, I'm sure that will work out fine.

Incidentally, if you find you are triggered by things like musical notation, maybe you should consider the very real possibility that you picked the wrong major.

It's like wanting to be a carpenter but you've got this wood allergy so if they could maybe eliminate the wood part of the job that would be great, thanks.

Professors said the classical repertoire taught at Oxford, which spans works by Mozart and Beethoven, focuses too much on "white European music from the slave period."

"The slave period."

I have news for them: We're still in the slave period. We've always been in the slave period.

A genuine and enduring human scandal, but a fact.

And where might slavery be most prevalent today?

Overall, in the countries that are not European and were never European colonies.

 

Global Slavery Index 2018

Which countries are doing the most to end modern slavery?

Overall, the countries that are European or were European colonies.

Highlights-response-1156x1520

That's something you don't see discussed very much in academic circles or the media or pretty much anywhere.

Maybe we should be recolonizing the musical curriculum instead.

Academics have also proposed that musical skills such as learning to play the keyboard or conducting orchestras should no longer be compulsory because the repertoire "structurally centres white European music" which causes "students of colour great distress".

A few thoughts:

The university of Oxford is in England which is part of Europe.

So, a European university centering on European music really should not be much of a revelation.

As for "white European music," well, I guess that's important.

If you're a racist.

It is also noted that the "vast bulk of tutors for techniques are white men".

A faculty checklist devised to tick off student demands notes that hip hop and jazz are on the curriculum at Oxford, providing "non-Eurocentric" topics of study. But professors questioning whether the "structure of our curriculum supports white supremacy" have also highlighted the issue of an "almost all-white faculty" giving "privilege to white musics".

Fun fact: The UK is over 85% white.

Adding additional forms of music is a great idea, but centering a degree in music on on its traditional European roots at a university in Europe sounds pretty unworthy of controversy to me.

Options focussing on French composer Machaut and Schubert's last decade could be changed to focus on "African and African Diasporic Musics", "Global Musics", and "Popular Musics" under one proposal.

By all means, add other forms of music, other options. In  fact, those already exist at Oxford as they should. But this is Oxford, the music degree they offer should be focused on Oxford.

Or are we allowed to "deny their lived experience," because I thought that was a thing now.

Another suggestion is that pop music will come into greater focus, allowing students to study mooted events in popular culture including "Dua Lipa's Record Breaking Livestream" and "Artists Demanding Trump Stop Using Their Songs".

Maybe they can offer a masters degree in "Listening to Spotify While I Update My Instagram Profile." That should have a lot of currency in the market.

This is how cultures not just die, but commit ritual suicide. They are no longer proud of their heritage but ashamed of it. To paraphrase Ben Shapiro, they have been convinced that every bad thing done by a white European was unique to white Europeans, and every good thing done is common to all humanity when the exact opposite is true.

The culture is dying, and it's doing it on purpose.

April 9, 2021 at 03:55 PM in Current Affairs, Education, Woke Madness | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 06, 2021

Evergreen trees are now racist as Portland school board member puts a halt to naming evergreens as a school mascot because of lynching. Wait, what?!

The Ida B. Wells-Barnett High School in Portland, Oregon conducted a months-long process to choose a new mascot whittling the original list down from over 2000 names to 420 and eventually to 5 finalists only to have ended up picking the racist one, "evergreen trees."

Talk about bad luck.

There is an irony here in that the only reason I can think of for choosing a plant phylum for your school mascot (Who's their main football rival? The Fighting Ferns?), is if you wanted to bend over backwards and twice on Sunday to avoid any possibility that your choice could be the least bit controversial or give offense to anyone. What's left after that? Lint? Masonry? Maybe something off the periodic table? "The fearsome Ida B. Wells-Barnett Helium Molecules," does have a certain ring to it...

While evergreen trees might seem inoffensive to someone who is not a Community Engagement and Policy Coordinator for the city of Portland, the Ida B. Wells-Barnett high school was fortunate to have as a School Board Director, Michelle DePass, who managed to turn the seemingly innocent conifer into something far more sinister.

"I'm wondering if there was any concern with the imagery there, in using a tree ... as our mascot?" DePass asked the mascot renaming committee.

Incidentally, they were replacing their old mascot, the Trojan.

WilsonMascot_small

I guess that offended, who, the politically powerful Oregon Ancient Greece lobby?

"I think everyone comes with blind spots and I think that might've been a really big blind spot."

There are blind spots, and then there are anti-racist supervision spots with the power to conjure up racist intent out of little more than pretense and pine needles. 

"Lynching is a really difficult topic to talk about and as a sole Black board member, I invite you, beg you, implore you to join me in disrupting the situations, practices, that are racist."

We're still talking about a tree. I think.

These are the dots you have to connect to understand her logic, or what passes for it:

  • Ida B. Wells was a prominent civil rights activist post Civil War, exposing the brutal treatment of blacks in the south including the barbaric practice of lynching.
  • Lynching mobs often used trees.
  • Evergreen trees are trees.
  • Ergo, evergreen trees are racist.

Kind of a "post hoc ergo propter hoc" argument only with a few more hocs, a couple of ergos, and maybe another propter or two.

"I can't do this by myself," she said.

This immense burden falls to her.

Stunning. Brave.

Insane.

As it turns out, the naming committee, including an African-American, says they had actually discussed the connection.

"We did talk about it, but we were looking at the symbolism more as a tree of life, than a tree of death," Osborne, who is African American, told the school board. "You could certainly take it either way, depending upon your position."

Yes, assuming one of those positions is located in crazy town.

The naming committee even discussed the relative merits of trees suitable for lynchings depending on their taxonomic classification.

"Lynching trees typically are not evergreens," he added, saying deciduous trees with large, lower branches were typically used to hang Black people in the south.

I feel I should remind readers here that this was part of a discussion about a school mascot.

While they had originally agreed to delay the decision, they decided last night to cave in to the absurdity.

I also wanted to let everyone know that we will be changing the mascot recommendation which we initially presented to the School Board on March 30.  After further discussion, reflection, and consideration, the renaming committee and I determined that Evergreens is not an appropriate mascot for our school.  While the Evergreens certainly do symbolize strength and vitality for many cultural, regional, and racial groups, Evergreens can also evoke painful memories of brutal lynchings that Ida B. Wells reported on. 

Evergreen trees = brutal lynchings.

News you can use!

Of course this kind of thing weaponizes completely benign objects, creates yet more invisible landmines for the innocent to inadvertently trigger, and ultimately trivializes something that is deadly serious.

As Leo Terrell put it,

This subject bothers me a lot. I've been a civil rights attorney for 30 years. I taught U.S. History for seven years. I've never had a client complain that a tree is racist. I've never had a case that deals with the tree being racist. It devalues true racism in this country... It diminishes and devalues what actually happened in the 30s and 40s and 50s.

There is an "Ida B Wells Middle School" located in Washington DC which had recently changed their name and chose to keep their mascot, still calling themselves "the wolves."

Now, I don't want to stir up any trouble, but wolves are related to dogs which are related to German Shepherds which were often used as...

April 6, 2021 at 03:00 PM in Racism, Woke Madness | Permalink | Comments (2)