There is a virtual cottage industry among academics in publishing papers that declare common terms or items as forms of white supremacy. This inexhaustible source for publication expanded this week with professors finding new forms of prejudice in common parlance and drinks. The problem is that if you really need a drink after reading that your referencing “Beethoven” is proof of your racism, you cannot even reach for a beer without reinforcing a separate beverage-based bias.
In column in Slate, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst’s Christopher White declared that referring to composers like Beethoven and Mozart by one name is a form of white supremacy. After all, White explained, it creates a “habitual, two-tiered” method where white composers are referenced by one name while women and minority composers are referred to by their first and last names: “These canonized demigods became so ensconced in elite musical society’s collective consciousness that only one word was needed to evoke their awesome specter.”
White calls for an end to such “mononyms of music history.” I guess I will have to research the full names of Beyonce, Madonna, Sting, Cher, Bono, Pink, Seal, Adele and others.
For many, messing with Beethoven is still better than messing with beer. However, Virginia Tech sociology professor David L. Brunsma, has declared that beer also reinforces white supremacy. His co-authored book, Beer and Racism: How Beer Became White, Why It Matters, and the Movements to Change It, is marketed as a game changer: “From the racist marketing of malt liquor to the bearded-white-dude culture of craft beer, readers will never look at a frothy pint the same after reading Beer and Racism.”
Craft beers are singled out as examples of racism. As explained by University of New Mexico professor Eli Wilson, it is long overdue to call out such beer lovers: “maybe a little bit of guilt: after the 10th beer festival you’ve been to where it is a bunch of pretzel-necklaced white dudes with beards and potbellies, it gets kind of old, you know?”
The ultimate racism recreation is presumably having an actual “Beethoven Beer.”
Brusma also declared on Twitter that Vice President Mike Pence’s usage of the term “the American people” during the vice presidential debate was racist and a dog whistle.
If so, it is a dog whistle blown daily by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris: