The Corner


The Academic Wreckers Target Music

I have read that when Isaac Stern went to China in 1976 to play a recital, no working piano could be found in Beijing for his accompanist. Chairman Mao’s anti-western zealots had ruined them all.

That same spirit of mindless wrecking is alive and well in academia today. Classical music is under attack for being “oppressive” to people of color. In today’s Martin Center article, Professor David Lewis Schaefer calls out this lunacy.

He writes, “As reported in The Post Millennial, ‘woke’ professors at Oxford University are advocating a ban on the use of sheet music as well as an end to the curricular focus on classical European composers—lest the institution continue to be complicit in ‘white supremacy.’”

Even musical notation is guilty. Supposedly, it helps perpetuate colonialism.

The curriculum for music students needs to be changed because it “centers white European music.” As we all know, the music of Bach causes distress to students of color.

Pushing back against the “woke” wreckers, Schaefer refers readers to Frederick Douglass. “The game of expunging every aspect of so-called Eurocentrism,” Schaefer writes, “is one that can be played without end. In this connection, however, it is worth considering, by way of contrast, an 1849 essay called “The Destiny of Colored Americans” by the great ex-slave, abolitionist, and post-Civil War agitator for civil rights Frederick Douglass, in his periodical The North Star.”

Douglass utterly rejected the idea that emancipating black people required overthrowing Western culture.

Schaefer concludes by quoting from a paper submitted by one of his students, a young man who is interested in music. “Additionally, if sheet music is white supremacy, then successful black composers like André Thomas, Rosephanye Powell, Ysaye Barnwell, and Andraé Crouch would also be complicit. There is a place in the university to learn about different musical traditions across the world that don’t use notation, but saying that sheet music is a form of white supremacy is just ridiculous.”

The “woke” academics are being ridiculous, but are too absorbed in their self-righteousness to see it.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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