“Classical Music is Racist,” Says Critical Race Theorist

Johan Sebastian Bach (although the gesture is photoshopped)

“My fellow musicians of color: it is time to accept that we are in an abusive relationship with classical music.”

This was one of the opening paragraphs from Nebal Maysaud in the New Music Box blog. Engaging in Critical Race Theory, Maysaud insists that “the everyday racism people of color experience and how it manifests on an institutional level” rears its ugly head in Western culture’s appreciation for classical music. Our love of Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, and Handel proves, somehow, that we’re all racists.

According to Maysaud, “Western classical music participates in the act of destroying culture and replaces it with its own white supremacist narrative” in order for “institutions to uphold their power.”

The Critical Race Theorist writes…

Western classical music is not about culture. It’s about whiteness. It’s a combination of European traditions which serve the specious belief that whiteness has a culture—one that is superior to all others. Its main purpose is to be a cultural anchor for the myth of white supremacy. In that regard, people of color can never truly be pioneers of Western classical music. The best we can be are exotic guests: entertainment for the white audiences and an example of how Western classical music is more elite than the cultures of people of color.

And so, he’s calling for a boycott of all classical music…

It’s time for us to recognize that engaging with these institutions, that contributing to the belief that our participation in composer diversity initiatives is doing anything to reshape the institution of classical music, and that classical music is an agent of cultural change instead of a placeholder to prevent composers of color from forming our own cultures, is ultimately furthering colonization and prevents us from creating artwork capable of real, genuine expression.

He adds…

This mission is entirely against the nature of white supremacy, which seeks to replace non-white cultures with their own fantasies. Therefore, I will not find support in this endeavor.

Of course, lots of black composers and musicians helped to shape the course of classical music. These include Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (who died in 1799 and was called “The Black Mozart”), Florence Price, Scott Joplin, George Bridgetower, and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.

Ultimately, Critical Race Theory isn’t about equality or unity, but it’s about disharmony, disunity, and destruction. It’s a shame, in a day when hip-hop with all of its carnality, banality, and functional illiteracy is pervasive in the black community, Critical Race Theorists seek to steal something from them as beautiful and righteous as classical music.


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