by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
George Leef of the Martin Center writes about the infiltration of “wokeness” within college campus music departments.
Inevitably, college music departments have succumbed to pressure to promote “social justice” and fight racism. It’s hard to see much injustice or racism in music, but that doesn’t matter to activists intent on showing that they’re in the vanguard of America’s transformation.
Consider, for example, the announcement back in September by the music department at Meredith College in Raleigh, NC that it was taking steps to combat “systemic racism.”
We learn that the music department, eager to participate in the college’s new anti-racism initiative, hired a consultant, Lorna Hernandez Jarvis. She met with minority students and alumnae so that they could engage in “safe and confidential” conversation about the department. That conversation revealed a number of problems, particularly the lack of diversity in the music curriculum, insensitivity toward international students, and mistaken assumptions by faculty members about minority students.
It’s hard to imagine that the racially restricted “conversation” didn’t involve a lot of what lawyers would call “leading the witness,” but let’s say that the participants really thought that those items were problems at Meredith.
Professor Jeanie Wozencraft-Ornellas, head of the department, subsequently met with the consultant. Afterward, she stated, “Having been aware of systemic racism in housing, banking, education, etc., I have to admit that I was not truly aware of how systemic racism was built into our curriculum and music education.”
In the summer of 2020, systemic racism was being discovered everywhere. Meredith College’s music department was guilty of it and steps had to be taken.
To eliminate it, the department announced that it was redefining its mission, revising its curriculum to include a global music component and more inclusion of “marginalized musicians,” and collecting songs from different cultures to use in the teaching of music theory, which will be compared with European tonal scales and intervals. Moreover, the department would look for anti-bias, anti-racism (ABAR) texts and materials to use.