OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Radical woke progressives can find a way to spin practically anything as racist. The latest target of woke progressive lunacy is sheet music.
Yes, literally sheets of paper with ink that indicates the notes in a song.
It’s racist now.
Not sure exactly how musical notations on a piece of paper could be white supremacy? I’ll do my best to explain, but honestly it’s a ridiculous stretch that makes no real sense.
Oxford University staff have apparently argued that their current musical curriculums focus on “white European music from the slave period.” These professors claim that teaching the reading of musical notations in the form of sheet music has “not shaken off its connection to its colonial past” and is “a slap in the face” that causes “students of color great distress.” Furthermore, these professors argue that even the act of writing down musical notes in the form of notations on paper is part of a “colonialists representational system.”
Remember how expecting the right answer in math class is now racist? Well, I guess it’s kind of like that, but with “the right notes.” If you want to learn to play a particular Mozart piece, you use sheet music to teach you what the right notes are so that it sounds the way the composer intended it to sound. But that implies that there are right notes and wrong notes, which is racist, as is the entire construct of musical notation (like the whole construct of mathematics).
In fact, if you think about it like a woke radical progressive, Mozart had white privilege as evidenced by the fact that he even had a musical instrument at all, and was even able to compose his music and notate it using ink and paper that he was privileged enough to have, and that makes all of his music racist white supremacy. So the fact that people even want to learn to play his music or are being expected to teach it is racist because Mozart was a privileged racist in a white supremacist society for even being able to do any of that.
And there’s more. Music students would no longer be taught to play the piano or conduct an orchestra because these “structurally centers white European music” and the “vast bulk of tutors for techniques are white men.”
Instead, these professors want to reconstruct their courses to “focus less on white European culture,” and believe that music skills such as reading musical notations should not be required due to the repertoire currently containing too much “white European music” and promoting “white hegemony.” There would be “special topics” and more electives instead of requiring classes about the history and technique of European music. Such electives would include “Introduction to Sociocultural and Historical Studies,” “African and African Diaspora Musics,” “Global Musics,” and “Popular Musics.”
Honestly, what’s wrong with those topics? They sound like great elective options. I totally support adding those options to the curriculum. But why does including these electives automatically require removing the other music history and techniques classes?
Hear me out. What if… they did both. They could teach musically essential skills like reading sheet music notations and allow students to take those electives. Or are we just not even allowed to consider compromises like this? To be honest, why would someone want to spend the money on an Oxford music education and then not even be able to read the music for millions of amazing compositions?
Additional topics to be added to the reconstructed curriculum are pop culture topics like “Due Lipa’s Record Breaking Livestream” and “Artists Demanding Trump Stop Using Their Songs.”
Here’s the problem with all of this. The western music that is coming under fire has been evolving for centuries and actually predates the trans Atlantic slave trade. It has been shaped by music and cultures around the world and across time, and will continue to influence future music and cultures around the world.
And as for musical notation itself being racist and white supremacy, the Post Millennial eloquently explained,
“The first known musical notation was found on a cuneiform tablet from ancient Iraq, then known as Babylonia. That tablet is now some 4,000 years old. That first notated song is known as the Hurrian Hymn No. 6, and because a fragment of it has survived in notation, it is able to be recreated today.”
Additionally, virtually every society has had some form of slavery at some time in their history, so disqualifying music from a certain culture due to historical slavery essentially means you’d have to disqualify music from all cultures due to historical slavery. It just doesn’t pass the common sense test.
But then again, we’re talking about woke radical progressives, and common sense seems to be in short supply.