“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.”


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. I was a gentile travelling in Israel during the Second Intifadah and happened upon an Israeli vocal group singing Christian gospel songs on a hillside at sunset, so I sat down among the gathered audience and listened as the sun went down over the Mediterranean. It was a joyous, once-in-a-lifetime spiritual experience, made even more so because both the singers and the audience shared a vastly different religious and cultural background. Thinking about that evening still brings me incredible joy.

  2. It sounds like there is a faction of Democrats who want the arts to be racially segregated.

    Those must be the same people who racially segregate dorms and graduations.

  3. From “Paul Robeson”, wikipedia.org:

    “Robeson performed in Britain in a touring melodrama, Voodoo, in 1922, and in Emperor Jones in 1925, and scored a major success in the London premiere of Show Boat in 1928, settling in London for several years with his wife Eslanda. While continuing to establish himself as a concert artist, Robeson also starred in a London production of Othello, the first of three productions of the play over the course of his career. He also gained attention in the film production of Show Boat (1936) and other films such as Sanders of the River (1935) and The Proud Valley (1940). During this period, Robeson became increasingly attuned to the sufferings of people of other cultures, notably the British working class and the colonized peoples of the British Empire. He advocated for Republican forces during the Spanish Civil War and became active in the Council on African Affairs (CAA).”

    Paul Robeson suffered for misappropriating white privilege. It was inexcusable to punish people for cultural misappropriation then, and it still is now. Anyone who wishes to forbid someone to sing a song – any song – on the grounds of their race or ethnicity is a racist and a segregationist.

    Racism and racial segregation are never excusable, no matter who thinks otherwise. You can’t advocate racial segregation and forbidding singers from singing certain songs without being a racist and a segregationist.

  4. So no black people can eat mexican food cuz it is appropriation
    i guess little miss Always Offended would like all white folks to not eat at local black restaraunts since that is appropriation

    her stupidity, ignorance and self righteous offense are beyond the help of an university

  5. Black musicians have made billions of dollars selling Hip Hop and Rap, jazz, religious and spiritual songs, the Blues, the Motown Sound, and other types of music to white people, who are only allowed to buy and listen to it, but apparently, not to sing it. Please don’t even hum it, unless approved by a certified African-American who has been oppressed for 400 years. Someone like Rachel Dolezal.

    1. What if a group of white students demanded that Will Smith’s “The Wild, Wild West” and Denzel Washington’s ‘The Equalizer” and “The Manchurian Candidate” be banned from campus.screenings because they misappropriated roles orignially written for and played by white men?

      Most reasonable people would says these folks were not only racist, but perhaps in need of psychological help. Professor Wright wasn’t making a personal attack by asking about the motives and mental state of Ms.Faught. A white student making profanity-laden Tweets about a faculty member would be having an uncomfortable chat with Campus Security in most universities.

  6. First the US agreed not to kill Ghaddafi in exchange for Ghaddafi paying a few billion $ for downing a civilian jet. Ghaddafi paid, followed soon by Hillary hiring local “moderate Islamics” to behead and anal rape Ghaddafi (you know, to improve US national security and spread democracy ’round the globe). Followed by Libya now having open slave trading on the street.

    Would it be “cultural appropriation” if the US imported slave trading from Libya?

  7. Talk about appalling………..No one has mentioned Cherokee Princess Liz Warren mocking our white privilege culture by running for president as a pant-suited blonde white woman! Oh the humanity!!

      1. David Benson, aka the utter foolish one,
        Admitting that you post utter foolishness is a good first step, and an indication that you are making progress.
        Keep working at it. There is a glimmer of hope for you.

        1. There isn’t any for those too stupid to understand the point as well as so cowardly to use the handle “Anonymous”.

  8. 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!

  9. Did you say “cultural appropriation?”

    President Donald J. Trump just culturally appropriated the whole of India:

  10. Presumably the songs are of a Christian origin. Therefore anyone other then people of middle east origin would be appropriating another culture.

  11. Wonder what this Black student thinks about Blacks with straightened hair or hair bleached blond?
    The same idiots who think gender is a social construct, which it isn’t, are too stupid to realize culture IS social construct.
    Is Black child adopted by Japanese stealing their culture?

    1. oh janice you know they mock the lye process, all the way back to Malcom X, who used to make such remarks all the time.hence the 70s “afro” hairdo

      but the core transmission device for culture is the family. which in most cases is related by blood. so in spite of adoptions, generally, culture does have a relationship to biology as well, even though it is indeed mostly formed by social institutions

      and yet, it is also a fantasy to pretend that biology is not in play with society as well. hence the field of “sociobiology” or as its is now known, “evolutionary psychology”

  12. So….she doesn’t know the difference between mockery and homage. That speaks volumes about today’s college education.

  13. I went to all white schools in the 1940;s and we sang “OLD BLACK JOE” and other “negro” songs. Never thought any thing about it because we liked the songs.
    They have to have something to complain about as not blacks are living in equal status with whites and others.

    1. we sang “Bad bad leroy brown” a few times in my integrated 5th grade school and the black kids loved it. today that would be “implicit racism” and prohibited

      oh yeah here’s another….” I”m a long gone, im a long time gone, like a turkey in the corn, with my long johns on.. ”

      next up: JAZZ and ROCK AND ROLL banned for play by white musicians because these are, according to musicologists, “black idoms…”

      at least white folks will get OPERA jobs back … maybe?

  14. What culture, exactly? Blacks speak English (sort of); that’s blacks’ appropriation of the white culture! They wear clothes and shoes instead of loincloths; that’s blacks’ appropriation of the white culture! Blacks even commit more than 70% of all violent crimes in the US in their attempts to appropriate the white culture’s other valuable assets, such as cash, jewelry, credit cards and iPhones. Cultural appropriation is far more rampant among blacks that among whites!

  15. Maybe America’s greatest enemy is “Tribalism”? Many of us don’t identify as the “American Tribe”. It’s tearing the nation apart.

    1. The Left’s most damaging lie is the claim that “diversity is our strength.” It is NOT our strength, but a fatal weakness; unity of purpose is our strength! If we don’t retain a national identity as Americans, with a common set of traditions, culture and values, we will become Balkanized and will no longer be a single, coherent nation. Without common beliefs and culture, the US will merely be a lawless territory in which no one agrees upon our most basic values.

        1. e pluribus is at best an ideal.

          at worst a shibboleth, a fantasy, roughly as meaningful as other cherished notions that are easily disproven

          I wont go into depth on that

          the core binding factor in our very um “diverse” American society is economics. and not a lot else. maybe the English language.

          economics is very real however, and potent.

  16. The student who complained (Shaylee Faught) should think about refraining from flying on airplanes, since the Wrights and human flight pioneers were white. When she steps onto an airplane, isn’t she making a “mockery of my culture”?

    1. Blood banks (which make blood transfusions possible and practical) were pioneered in the US by an African-American physician, Charles R. Drew. We don’t want to go down this road of politically-correct apartheid which characterizes healthy cultural assimilation as a crime..That only helps those of all races who want more hatred and anger.

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