“A Mockery Of My Culture”: Students Oppose A “Mostly White” Choir For Singing Spirituals as Cultural Appropriation

I have previously discussed what appears to be an ever-expanding scope of “cultural appropriation” charges at colleges and universities. The latest controversy has arisen at Western Michigan University School of Music after a concert featured a “mostly white” choir performing African-American spirituals. “Spirituals: From Ship to Shore” was led by Salisbury University Associate Professor John Wesley Wright, who is African American. However, the racial makeup of the choir led to protests over cultural appropriation over what one advocate denounced as a “a mockery of my culture.”

WMU music major Shaylee Faught led the fight against the concert and denounced Wright’s claim that the choir was singing for all groups and all cultures. She posted an attack on Wright that said that he “sounded uneducated and ignorant” and that allowing so many whites on the choir made “a mockery of my culture.”

Shayy.marieee@shayy_marieeeDT

So apparently Western Michigan University thinks it’s ok for WHITE peoples to sing negro spirituals while the instructor talking bout “these songs don’t belong to one race”. They sure as hell DO.142K4:40 PM – Feb 20, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy34.2K people are talking about this

The campus Black Student Union also denounced the “appalling” concert with so many whites on a choir and called for the “immediate need for racial re-education on sensitivity training and cultural competence.”

Professor Wright stood by his choir and their music. He insisted that it is the music not the race of the singers that is the important element. He insisted that the choir used their gifts to educate and celebrate African-American songs and traditions.” He added two additional points: one on defense and one on offense. He declared “I do not feel the need to have to defend what I’m doing and I’ve done this for 30 years and to great response.”

Wright also went on the attack and questioned Faught’s “motives and well being,” asking “So has anyone investigated this person?”

That comment rightfully concerned many over a personal attack on a student. However, Faught then responded in kind by saying “He tried to dismiss everything I said. That’s cool. My mental health is FINE by the way but I’m not going to argue with a grown ass man about MY OPINION.”

Putting aside the personal attacks, there remains the original issue of whether whites singing spirituals is an offense and cultural appropriation. I strongly oppose that view. These artists are celebrating different cultures and musical traditions. When I see a non-Italian singing La Traviata or Sicilian folk songs, I am not offended as a Sicilian. I am delighted that my culture is being explored by others. Listening to Marian Anderson was a thrill because she was a great artist and talent, not because she was an African American. When she sang Italian operas, it was not cultural appropriation, it was a cultural celebration.

This effort to bar whites from singing certain songs is an attack on artistic expression and free speech.

123 thoughts on ““A Mockery Of My Culture”: Students Oppose A “Mostly White” Choir For Singing Spirituals as Cultural Appropriation”

  1. We have many problems in this country, with many causes. But is there one root cause? Professor Turley consistently provides us examples of problems that expose how polarized we have become. Is there a root cause of this polarization? Is it politics, lawyers, religion, race, color, creed, economics, health, and so on? Or are all those actually sub-areas reflecting symptoms of a greater cause, that is toxic to all of it? With the rising concern of a pandemic from the coronavirus, perhaps we need the same degree of scrutiny over a different sort of pandemic that has steadily threatened western civilization for generations: EDUCATION

    JT’s post today and these articles below are symptoms of that:

    Now, with the publication of the New York Times’ so-called 1619 Project, the implementation of that mandate is underway. Among its other claims, the 1619 Project contends that, while most Americans believe “1776 is the year of our nation’s birth . . . this fact, which is taught in our schools and unanimously celebrated every Fourth of July, is wrong . . .” (emphasis added).

    Though the historical merits of 1619’s claims have received bipartisan condemnation by scholars at Yale, Notre Dame, Brown, Princeton, and more, a new investigative report by RealClearPolitics reveals that in mere months, 1619 has been “adopted in more than 3,500 classrooms in all 50 states.”
    https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/02/woke-classrooms-school-choice-greater-transparency/
    ______________________________________________________

    New Business Item 19 (2019) ACTION:ADOPTED

    NEA will promote the Black Lives Matter Week of Action in schools during Black History Month in 2020. Beginning in the fall of 2019, using existing communications resources, NEA will specifically call for clear efforts to demonstrate support for the four demands of the BLM Week of Action in schools:

    1. Ending zero-tolerance policies and replacing them with restorative justice practices

    2. Hiring and mentoring black educators

    3. Mandating that Ethnic Studies be taught in pre K-12 schools in age-appropriate ways

    4. Hiring more counselors not cops

    Rationale/Background
    The BLM in schools week is a way to further dismantle institutional racism. Acknowledging and promoting this week also furthers our commitment to supporting the BLM movement in a tangible, student-centered, action-based way. Providing resources in the fall is critical.

    https://ra.nea.org/business-item/2019-nbi-019/

      1. While I agree that Soros is one part of the problem, certainly you’re not proposing Soros is the root. If he no longer existed, would our problems go away?

        1. no, because first of all, he already made his major donations, secondly, there will be other billionaires to take his place once he’s gone, like Little Mikey, making trouble of their own.

          we are blessed that for once we have a billionaire on our side, the POTUS Donald J Trump!

          But he was barely a billionaire before he took office, what probably around 2 if i recall correctly, for comparison purposes, Bloomberg’s given at least 8 billion to charity —

          watch this video for a proportionate representation of Mikey’s billions. he is VERY rich.

          https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2020/02/bloomberg-wealth-compared-trump-democrat-candidates/

          make no mistake,. money matters, just as universities matter. media matters, and money buys influence in universities and mass media. media conditions the masses. it’s critically important to where education goes, all that constant propagandizing flowing over the wires to the teachers, who provide that education.

          so its all related

          1. make no mistake,. money matters, just as universities matter. media matters, and money buys influence in universities and mass media. media conditions the masses. it’s critically important to where education goes, all that constant propagandizing flowing over the wires to the teachers, who provide that education.

            so its all related

            I believe we can agree money, universities (education) and media are never going away. They are all a vital part of civil society. The same can be said for banks, lawyers, teachers, farmers, infrastructure, etc. They are however used in various ways to undermine civil society. This of course is a human nature problem that is also never going away. The framers knew this. They provided us a constitution to negate the influence of the worst parts of that nature, and yet somewhere along the line in this great experiment, we’ve allowed progressivism to take control of the one area vital to the maintenance of it all: Education.

            Lincoln said: The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.

            Everything we “debate” on this blog and everything that has us divided in this country, is rooted in the progressives control of our system of education. This has been a multi-generational transformation designed to create a majority population ignorant of history and unable to critically think. This leads to a culture wholly susceptible to the influence you mention. In turn, they become dependent on their masters and apathetic to the need for change.

            President Trump is pushing in the right direction, but what more needs to be done to turn this industry around?

    1. Dare I say technology? ☎️ that’s your life calling you saying it’s 2020 and your life just got that much more easier and interconnected thanks to some new communication advances.

      1. Thanks WW33. Your suggestion reminds of the following quote: A Lie Can Travel Halfway Around the World While the Truth Is Putting On Its Shoes. Author unknown. That’s certainly a problem unlikely to ever go away. Technology merely expedites it.

        An easy test to determine if something is a root cause is to ask yourself if the problem will go away by removing the presumed cause.

  2. I guess I won’t watch my college basketball team because it is all dark. Doesn’t represent the race percentages of students.

      1. I’ll bet Eric Owens will slay that role.

        Cultural appropriation only works one way. I guess I have to wear a combination of Austrian and Scottish clothing from now on. The UK appropriated Ireland, so they should really give it back. And Canada. And then all the French Canadians should leave Canada and go to France. And only wear Gallic clothing from a thousand years ago, as anything the developed later was clearly stolen from other cultures.

        And Native Americans should give back most metal technology, and the horse. The horse was brought over from the Spaniards. They can only walk everywhere, or else they are culturally appropriating from Europeans. That will be good, as at the Green New Deal will make asphalt roads, vehicles, and anything made of iron obsolete. I am unaware of any way other than fossil fuels to smelt iron. And electric vehicles are still produced and shipped using fossil fuels.

        Oh, wait, I’m combining cultural appropriation with environmental extremists wanting to take us back to the stone age. So many existential crisis freaking out millennials that it’s hard to keep them all straight.

    1. there used to be a website devoted to demonstrating via statistics that certain white players were actually under-represented considering their achievement metrics in pro sports. can’t remember the name, not sure its still out there or not

    2. the “great white hope” Tyson Fury put on a very racist show in the heavyweight boxing title match the other day, again! he won.

      Folks don’t credit that he explicitly said it was not a racial war….perhaps he should have thrown the match, since it’s black history month?

      https://www.businessinsider.com/tyson-fury-says-deontay-wilder-fight-is-not-race-war-2020-2

      of course the loser cried “racism! ”
      https://ftw.usatoday.com/2020/02/deontay-wilder-tyson-fury-referee-kenny-bayless-blamed-excuses-boxing

  3. So how did a life-long avowed socialist and someone who’s never actually won an election as a Democrat get to the top of the party’s mountain?

    The simple answer is that he’s being supported by millions of younger Democratic voters, and those voters have been raised to be Sanders voters, even if their parents don’t realize it.

    Here’s how it happened:

    We convinced everyone college was 100% necessary, and then we made college unaffordable. Since the end of World War II, the chorus of educators, politicians, and journalists making it sound like college was essential for career success only became louder and drowned out any counterargument.

    continued —–>

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/23/bernie-sanders-is-the-front-runner-because-of-how-we-raised-our-kids.html

  4. When I was in college, I attended an African dance and music event. It was performed by a club who was comprised of all white members. I thought it was going to be actual tribe members from Africa. I want not expecting either white or black Americans to be putting it on. While I enjoyed it, and it certainly was not racist, I was expecting something more authentic.

    That said, there is no such thing as cultural appropriation. That would entail taking a culture away from one group, forbidding them to practice it, and then doing so yourself. For instance, if Americans conquered Japan, and our women worse kimono but forbade Japanese women their own cultural clothing, that would be appropriation. It’s a form of stealing.

    That is quite different from sharing.

    For instance, the reason why all of Europe and the Middle East went through the bronze and iron ages was because such technology was shared. The reason why humans all over planet Earth cook their food is because the invention of fire was shared. When Europeans immigrated to the Americas, they encountered a stone age civilization. They had yet to go through any widespread metal working. This is because they were cut off from when such technology was shared. They had fire, because the tribes immigrated here in multiple waves after fire technology was shared. Then they were in their own cultural isolation for thousands of years.

    Fashion and beauty are marvelous mediums to see shared cultures. Mandarin collars, Obi style leather belts, Celtic designs, Scottish tartans, leather, beads, bright African designs. Kohl lined eyes. When a woman sees something she finds beautiful, she copies it. It’s not stealing.

    “Cultural appropriation” and pretending to see racism everywhere are manufactured crisis. We have enough real problems in the world without constantly making up reasons to pretend people are oppressed. There are people without clean water in Africa. Find a real problem and go work on that.

    The very idea is absurd. Should only Germans be allowed to play Bach? No black people allowed on that orchestra? Only Austrians allowed to sing Edelweiss? No lederhosen costumes for you! Should only blonde women have blonde hair?

    How about we stop this madness. The most famous singer of Italian opera was a Greek, Maria Callas. She didn’t have to be ethnically Italian to celebrate Italian opera.

    We are a pampered, bored people if we keep coming up with more reasons to feel put upon, while we have so much food to eat we throw most of it away, live in safety, have clean water (except for Flint, poor people), a computer, a phone, plenty of clothes. The average American lives like a king compared to many other parts of the world.

    1. they’re consistently casting Wagnerian operas with black men playing Wotan. I am thining of Eric Owens i believe, although this one talks about him playing Alberich in Das Rheingold

      I have heard him sing, he’s good, that’s enough for me, but if we go down this cultural appropriation road, then all the singers have to be German anyways!

      Or in the case of Mime, Jewish, according to a certain professor whose name i forget, who wrote a whole book about how antisemitic that character is.

      https://operawire.com/artist-of-the-week-eric-owens-the-all-consummate-artists-ready-for-a-new-production-of-dvoraks-rusalka/

  5. The Colunm Turley Didnt Run Today

    For quite some time I have noticed that Professor Turley runs these ‘Tyranny From The Left’ columns in avoidance of more pressing issues.  They often appear, in fact, when Donald Trump has said or done something inexcusable.  Like ‘yesterday’, for instance.

    Yesterday Judge Amy Berman Jackson held hearings to decide if Trump associate Roger Stone deserved a retrial.  No sooner had that hearing gotten under way when Donald Trump began attacking the  court in tweets.  Judge Jackson noted these tweets from the bench and expressed deep concern for the safety of individuals involved; most notably former Jury Foreperson Tomeka Hart who was present in court for the hearing.

    Stone’s Defense team was demanding a retrial based on newly disclosed evidence that Ms Hart had expressed hostily to both Trump and Stone in old social media posts. But yesterday’s hearing revealed that Stone’s Defense had been provided a list of 60 potential jurors and given at least 3 business days to research each name on said list.  Stone’s team had even hired extra personnel to perform this research.

    Yesterday’s hearing also revealed that Tomeka Hart was questioned before the court during the screening process.  Stone’s Defense team was fully aware that Hart had run for Congress as a Democrat.  And Judge Berman, at the time, had even asked Stone’s team if they had fully vetted Hart.  Oddly Stone’s Defense was content with Hart at that time.

    But in yesterday’s hearing Stone’s Defense meekly admitted that they hadn’t researched Hart to the extent that they should have.  In other words it was ‘their’ failure that allowed a potentially hostile juror to become the Jury Foreperson.  

    Nevertheless testimony taken yesterday revealed that as a Jury Foreperson Tomeka Hart appeared to be thorough and even-minded; even encouraging jurors to take more time when they were already predisposed to find Stone guilty.

    In other words, Stone’s demand for a retrial is frivolous and the entire campaign of outrage by Trump and rightwing media is absolutely bogus!  Stone’s Defense dropped the ball; failing to perform their basic job.  Still however, it appears that Judge Jackson and Foreperson Hart made good faith efforts to carry out their duties.

    Now one has to question Professor Turley’s integrity for casting doubt on Judge Jackson’s court.  It would appear that he was functioning as a partisan observer in previous columns concerning this case.  Turley was in effect fanning the flames of outrage orchestrated by rightwing media.

    1. Seth Peter, quit questioning Turley’s integrity. This is an insult and there is no factual basis for your slander.

      1. Kurtz, Paint Chips Peter hates the name I use when I address him, but he doesn’t mind calling Trump Orange Man or something like that, referring to Trump supporters as Deplorables or something similar, or insulting Turley, an honest man who is center left but believes in the law. Guy’s like Paint Chips dish it out but can’t take it. That is why he is fair game and is someone that need not be treated politely.

    2. Turley has shown again with today’s post that the old look over here works with his base. Turley throwing out the red meat for his Trump supporters is very clear.

      1. did it occur to you slanderers that perhaps Turley articulates his own sincere convictions in such essays?

        I can’t understand if you think he’s dishonest, why you would show up every day to converse. nonetheless, thank you for your input, I appreciate the reparte

    3. Seth, JT is burning whatever rep he had on Barr and Trump. His attack on the jury foreperson was outrageous without all the facts, which he obviously did not have. He is also obviously reading too much wing nut BS and being led down that ignorant path, and this jury nonsense is evidence of that.

    4. ” In other words it was ‘their’ failure that allowed a potentially hostile juror to become the Jury Foreperson. ”

      Paint Chips might actually have gotten this right. It’s the lawyer’s failure. A client shouldn’t suffer because of a lawyer’s inadequacy. An appeal for a new trial can be made and Peter Paint Chips could be a witness.

  6. Cute and dumb. Too bad she got brainwashed in the Left’s indoctrination centers before going to the higher level indoctrination center. Cultural appropriation? What a joke? You eat pasta, you aren’t appropriating my culture; you’re honoring it.

  7. This is a joke, right? Whose game is basketball? Any cultural appropriation there? How ’bout baseball and football? Watch a football game from the 50’s sometime. Let’s talk American TV and film. 12% of the population is forced into 100% of the scenes on TV and in movies. I think it’s illegal to make a movie or show without a minority prominently displayed. Is that “cultural appropriation” or “product placement?” Actually it’s propaganda and indoctrination by the communist party. My favorite version of “cultural appropriation” is when minorities from entirely different continents are insinuated into English and European fairy tales. Next thing you know it’ll be Snow Black. I’m just sayin’.

    You’re beginning to understand what the “death spiral” is related to the actual American fertility rate which, at 1.6, is below replacement at 2.1. More Americans die than are born and America’s population is being imported. Did the Founders put that in the Constitution? I’ll bet the Supreme Court and judicial branch could find it in there somewhere – after their “interpretation” (i.e. criminal usurpation).

    Is there a difference between loving thy neighbor and being compelled to give him your house and property?

    I’ll bet many of the readers didn’t know that California actually used to be part of the United States populated by rational and healthy numbers of American-Americans!

    1. You’re 100% right. Is there anything American minorities say in English (!), wear, eat, travel by, amuse themselves with, enjoy the health benefits of or profit from that is NOT tainted by western European cultural influences? I think not. These complainers are more guilty of cultural “appropriation” than I am by an order of magnitude.

    2. George wrote: “My favorite version of “cultural appropriation” is when minorities from entirely different continents are insinuated into English and European fairy tales. Next thing you know it’ll be Snow Black. I’m just sayin’.”

      And then ‘Snow Black’ will become a gender-neutral non-binary character, because we can’t leave anyone out.

      1. Because the communist party will not allow us to leave anyone out (they have their methods).

        I stand corrected.

        My oversight; my omission.

        Thank you.

  8. Do not give these idiot students a platform to air such absurdities. It’s offensive to me that these idiots and their opinions can hold such sway. Everything is offensive to someone all the time. Get over it and get on with your dam life. And two words for parents: Home Schooling.

  9. This is today’s Leftist culture that divides, creates class struggle, promotes envy and celebrates hate. It IS a mental disease. Thank God our good professor has avoided this contagion. One of the few classic liberals left.

  10. ‘Wright also went on the attack and questioned Faught’s “motives and well being,” asking “So has anyone investigated this person?” ‘

    So has anyone investigated her?

  11. By definition students are seeking education but are not educated. They should be seen studying but not heard. And stay out of the sun as snowflakes melt.

  12. Hey Jonathan,
    For me this begs a question: Just what would Faught’s remedy for this appalling crime be? Is there a black/white ratio for the choir that would assuage her delicate sensibilities. What percentage African DNA would I need to just hum along? If I obtain a certificate from the “radical re-education on sensitivity training and cultural competence” school, will that suffice?
    Maybe Faught has answered these and other questions (she should for the good of all cultures), I wouldn’t know; this is the first I’ve heard of this catastrophe.

  13. I’m black and I’m loud!
    Blazing Saddles: Where da white women at?
    Obama was born in____?
    Congresswoman Waters:. Grew up where?
    Reparations for slavery:. A hundred thousand dollars to each African American citizen who can prove an ancestor was a slave in America.

    All the above things were on the internet just a while ago.

  14. OT: For people like Anon and Peter Paint Chips that are unable to interpret the news:

    From a major ABC new correspondent: ““…We also don’t give him [Trump] credit for what things he does do…I feel terrible about it, I feel that the truth suffers, the voters are poorly informed…our bosses don’t see an upside in doing the job we’re supposed to do; which is to speak truth to power and hold people to account.”

  15. I did notice that protester, Shay.Mariee (or whatever) posted a photo of herself with Caucasian style hair. Cultural appropriation (like ‘racism’) apparently goes only one way. Universities have much to answer for these days; little of it good.

  16. Who are the racists? While pushing for racial and ethnic equality, these groups stake their societal claims based upon their racial and ethnic identities? Seems a bit hypocritical to me . . . .

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