Given the obsession with “systemic White racism,” it’s not at all surprising that enterprising non-Whites can make a career out of their supposed oppression. A very lucrative career in many cases.
A big problem for those intent on displacing White culture is the world of classical music. Brenton Sanderson described the assault on classical music in his aptly titled “Triggered by Beethoven: The Cultural Politics of Racial Resentment“:
Laudatory references to White male geniuses like Beethoven inevitably trigger rage from anti-White commentators who huff that it has “long been an argument of white supremacists, Nazis, Neo-Nazis, and racial separatists that ‘classical music,’ the music of ‘white people,’ is inherently more sophisticated, complicated, and valuable than the musical traditions of Africa, Asia, South America, or the Middle East, thus proving the innate superiority of the ‘white race.’” Seen through the Cultural Marxist lens of critical race and gender theory, Beethoven’s music dominates the concert repertoire not because of its exceptional quality, but because White-male privilege and assumptions about White-male genius keep it there. Linda Shaver-Gleason insisted Beethoven’s dominant place in the canon was the result of a White supremacist conspiracy which “intentionally suppressed” the music of non-White composers “in the service of a narrative of white — specifically German — cultural supremacy (because, alas, that too is part of Western culture).”
The main problem for the haters is simply the complexity and sophistication of the Western musical tradition.
While purporting to offer additional insight into music, the New Musicology systematically imposes an anti-White male ideology on its subject, and, in this endeavor, happily discards all standards of proof and evidence. [Before the new musicology,] there was a belief in purely musical elements and in the value of studying them. The problem with such “objective” technical analysis, for the [cultural Marxists], is that it invariably leads to “White supremacist” conclusions about the relative quality of different musical traditions.
Daniel Bernard Roumain, a Black of Haitian descent, is a classically trained violinist and composer. He likely agrees that any and all aspects of Western culture reflect White male supremacy and are hence evil to the core. But the main thrust of his assault on the classical music world takes a different course: interjecting his hatred of Whites into his compositions. Surprisingly, there has been some push-back to his explicitly expressed hatred, but in our woke cultural moment, that’s a big plus for his career.
Heather MacDonald has a nice analysis (“Resisting Racial Demagoguery“).
Composer Daniel Bernard Roumain has made a good career leveraging his skin color. He writes pieces with titles like “i am a white person who ____ Black people.” He argues that orchestras should “focus on BLACK artists exclusively” [punctuation in the original]. He has solicited funding for a work written “EXCLUSIVELY for BIPOC [black, indigenous, and people of color] members of ANY orchestra.” …
Roumain argues, white musicians’ contracts should be term-limited as reparations for “decades of benefitting from orchestral racism.”
Just your basic White-hating activist. So he was invited to write an aria for an event commemorating the Tulsa race riot of 1921, to be sung by a Black (of course) mezzo-soprano, Denyse Graves. And since his whole thing is anti-White activism, the emphasis in his writing is on the words, not the music—thus avoiding any serious analysis of the technical aspects of his compositions. (I would not venture an opinion on its technical aspects, but Heather M describes the piano accompaniment as consisting of “insipid, New Age-y broken triads and cliché-ridden chord progressions. The melodic line is negligible.” A composer who preferred to remain anonymous (for good reason!) stated, “Although I do believe that [Graves] was not in sympathy with the tone and thrust of the text, she also knows well what good music is. This ain’t it.”
Roumain thinks there is a “bloodlust sown deep within the American psyche,” but he’s definitely not referring to the vastly higher rate of Black homicide per capita. He’s referring to George Floyd and Breanna Taylor—exactly the sort of nuanced analysis we have come to expect from BIPOC activists. He thinks that Blacks live every day in fear of being killed by a cop, stating to a very sympathetic interviewer: “The inspiration to compose They Still Want To Kill Us was my wanting to convey how it feels to live in America as a Black man and know that on any given day, you could be murdered and die in America. That feeling never goes away. It’s always there.” I wonder if he’s afraid of being around Blacks given that Blacks are much more likely to be killed by Blacks than Whites.
But it could be that he actually believes he is in permanent danger because of his race given the media- and activist-created hysteria that happens every time a cop kills a Black, no matter what the circumstances. As with the covid panic where we see people wearing masks even outdoors and even alone in their cars, the public is quite susceptible to messages that create fear.
Roumain seems more interesting spewing out sound bites expressing his hatred toward Whites than in writing serious music. Heather M.:
Roumain’s titles are his calling card, into which he puts his greatest effort, he says—arguably an unusual emphasis for a composer; once he comes up with the name of a piece, the musical writing comes easily.
Roumain also wrote the aria’s lyrics, which begin with brief phrases about the rampage and end with:
They still want to kill us.
God Bless America
God Damn America.
But Graves balked at singing that last line, “God Damn America,” and Roumain refused to budge, so there was an impasse. But the aria was eventually performed by another Black soprano, J’Nai Bridges and funded by a variety of establishment arts organizations, including: Opera Philadelphia, the Fine Arts Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Stanford Live, and the University Musical Society at the University of Michigan. And besides that:
Roumain’s racial-justice profile has earned him a seat on the boards of the League of American Orchestras and the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, as well as a faculty position at Arizona State University. He has been commissioned by Carnegie Hall and is working on film, TV, and opera scores.
As is so often the case among social justice warriors, on one hand he wants discrimination against White musicians, but then he dresses it all up with the loftiest of moral platitudes:
The truth is: as much as I would love to feel safe in America and a part of its moral fabric, I don’t feel safe and I would like this country to embrace a new shared radical morality based on empathy, safety for us, and justice for us all.
So at least he’s not explicitly hoping for White genocide. But he’s certainly willing to bend over backwards to blame a White person for the impasse in Tusla.
Roumain was particularly exercised that [Tulsa Opera’s artistic director Tobias] Picker was involved in trying to reach a compromise. Picker is white. No matter that Graves was the one who rejected the piece and that [Black Assistant Conductor] Howard Watkins was just as instrumental as Picker in the abortive negotiations. The entire incident, in Roumain’s view, reflected what happens when a white male runs a classical music organization. Roumain told Tulsa Public Radio that it “hurt” to have Picker suggest possible revisions. Picker’s whiteness is emblematic of the racism of an institution with “far too many white males in charge,” Roumain said. And Picker’s suggested revisions didn’t speak to “what happened on Jan. 6, what happened in Ferguson, what happened in Charlottesville . . . what happened in Atlanta.”
Picker is a White transgender activist and, at least from Roumain’s point of view, exactly the sort of progressive White person described by Robin DiAngelo, who has another book out, this time focusing exclusively on progressive White people, “the most bigoted, the most harmful, the greatest threat to racial equality.” By not giving Roumain the artistic freedom to express his hatred toward White America, Picker has shown himself to be an oppressor of Black people. And I guess Graves and Watkins are Uncle Toms.
Picker … is a far cry from the white reactionary of Roumain’s nightmares. Tulsa Opera hosted the American debut of a transgender Heldenbaritone—formerly male, now “female”—who in 2019 sang the title role in Tulsa’s Don Giovanni, creating a sexual hall of mirrors that would delight the most cutting-edge gender studies professor. Picker’s own opera about one of the first recipients of sex-reassignment surgery will be premiered in 2023.
Even though Graves, Picker, and Watkins stood up to Roumain, it’s likely that most of the classical music world and their audience are engaging in the usual ethnomasochism so common among progressive White people.
A photo on the New Jersey Orchestra’s website publicizing “i am a white person” shows smiling, elderly white people clustered around the composer, hanging on his every word. One imagines him explaining his status as a victim of their white privilege, an accusation they humbly accept.
Roumain is likely aware that his entire career depends on White guilt and he is more than ready to take it to the bank. He’s just appealing to his audience in the confidence that his messages of anti-White hate will trump serious analysis of his music because the audience really wants to be brow-beaten by messages of how evil White people are.
The enthusiastic audience for Greenwood Overcomes was predominantly white and middle-aged, judging by the concert video, just like Roumain’s audience at the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. This demographic, scorned by the Black Lives Matter movement, is more likely to turn out for black-themed programs than blacks themselves. Roumain seeks color-coded boundaries around artistic expression and historical commemoration. This neo-segregationism is not just a blow against imaginative possibility and human understanding; it is also commercially suicidal.
Given the guilt-ridden tendencies of White progressives and Roumain’s excellent career trajectory, I rather doubt that Roumain’s messages are “commercially suicidal.” Is his “neo-segregationism” good for White advocates — Whites who reject White guilt and are looking to advance the prospects of White Americans? It’s quite clear that quite a few Whites, like Roumain’s audiences, are willing to wallow in self-abnegation and pay for the privilege of doing so. They are intelligent, well-educated, and economically secure. But they are caught up in the moral community created by our hostile elites in the media and academic world, and they just want to be seen as good people. And they are good people — just hopelessly naïve about how the world works and what this cultural revolution means for the future of Whites in America. One hopes that they will wake up when they find their grandchildren are passed over for non-Whites when applying for positions in universities or in the job market.
But maybe not. This tendency toward wanting to be seen as a good person runs very deep in White people. It’s fundamental to the unique individualism that defines the West.
In any case, there are substantial numbers of White people — it’s not clear how many — who react to anti-White hate by identifying more strongly as White and understanding that the future of Whites in America is precarious at best. This neo-segregationism has become a talking point among mainstream conservatives like Heather M., and twenty states have banned or restricted Critical Race Theory from being taught in public schools. A lot of this is conservative virtue-signaling (“Dems are the real racists”) but mainstream conservatives do seem much more willing these days to dwell on examples from the media or academic world and note explicitly that they are anti-White. For example, Tucker Carlson and Fox News noted an outrageous “academic” paper in The Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association by the presumably Jewish Donald Moss. The abstract:
Whiteness is a condition one first acquires and then one has—a malignant, parasitic-like condition to which “white” people have a particular susceptibility. The condition is foundational, generating characteristic ways of being in one’s body, in one’s mind, and in one’s world. Parasitic Whiteness renders its hosts’ appetites voracious, insatiable, and perverse. These deformed appetites particularly target nonwhite peoples. Once established, these appetites are nearly impossible to eliminate. Effective treatment consists of a combination of psychic and social-historical interventions. Such interventions can reasonably aim only to reshape Whiteness’s infiltrated appetites—to reduce their intensity, redistribute their aims, and occasionally turn those aims toward the work of reparation. When remembered and represented, the ravages wreaked by the chronic condition can function either as warning (“never again”) or as temptation (“great again”). Memorialization alone, therefore, is no guarantee against regression. There is not yet a permanent cure.
This is nothing less than a recipe for the genocide of Whites as incurable racists. The hatred is obvious, and it’s no accident that the writer is a Jew (Fox News refers to him as a “white man” but Moss is a common Jewish name). Nor is it surprising that Moss’s article appears in a psychoanalytic journal. As noted in The Culture of Critique, psychoanalysis is an infinitely pliable tool that is able to create any result one wants and give it a veneer of science — with psychoanalytic theories of anti-Semitism and the Frankfurt School’s theory of White ethnocentrism being the most relevant here. So even though conservatives tiptoe around the deeper issues, it’s not difficult to see that the message of mainstream hatred toward Whites is definitely getting out there. A necessary development.