Piano keyboard and sheet music
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Martin Center column highlights attack on ‘colonialist’ music

David Lewis Schaefeer writes for the Martin Center about another inexplicable campaign from the woke crowd.

“Woke” academics have taken to attacking almost everything that’s traditional in our culture. Math and science are denounced for their “whiteness,” and Shakespeare has to be replaced by writers from “marginalized groups.”

Now, it’s music that is on the chopping block.

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.”

In response to international Black Lives Matter demonstrations, a faculty board aims to overcome “white supremacy,” which includes the use of musical notation, which it calls a “colonialist representational system.”

Continuing to teach notation, the board contended, would be a “slap in the face” for some students because of its “connection to its colonial past.”

Additionally, the board proposed, music students should be allowed to skip acquiring musical skills such as playing the keyboard or conducting orchestras because the orchestral and keyboard repertoire “structurally centers white European music,” which causes “students of color great distress.” …

… Clearly, given the board’s premises, its proposals don’t go far enough in expunging white supremacy from the university curriculum. If musical notation is an instrument of white hegemony that needs to be expunged from the curriculum, what about reading any sort of written texts—books, newspapers, the whole works, produced ever since the art of writing was invented.

After all, the art of writing was never indigenous to sub-Saharan African society (aside from its Islamic conquerors), or of the “indigenous” inhabitants of North America (north of the Aztec empire), or their counterparts in Australasia and Oceania. But if the study of books is to be eliminated, just what function is left for Oxford, Cambridge, or any of the world’s institutions of higher (or for that matter, elementary and secondary) education?

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...