Diversity and the concert hall – page 2 gastroenterology


I absolutely refuse to feel guilty about being white. That is ridiculous. Also, I’d like to point out to my PC friends that are driving this assault on white men that I am Irish. My ancestors came to America and my great granddad pulled barges down the canals with a rope over his shoulder because, as my grandmother told me, they used "oxen and Irishmen" for that sort of work.

Here in America, not all white people are white. You got me confused with the anglo saxon protestants. I’m Irish Catholic. Its not the same thing, unless you are a racist and all you see is my skin color.I don’t know who you’re talking to but since I’m the only one here who seems to be in favor of some kind of mandated policy that ensures that ethnic minorities and women are guaranteed a more even chance at acquiring jobs; I’ll say that I don’t know where I ever disparaged anyone’s heritage or asked that anyone should feel guilty.

You’re Irish-American and I’m Italian-American. I could tell you a story too about my people who came to America with nothing, and how my grandfather worked construction, and was discriminated against and how I started working at age 14 washing dishes and so and so forth; but that’s not what this is about.

Truth be told, there’s a good deal of mythology around the story of American immigration. While the so-called "Anglo-Saxon Protestants" were sometimes bad to the Irish and Italians, the Irish and Italians were also pretty bad to each other and treated Blacks even worse, because they were all competing over the same jobs; and I grew up in a world of ethnic enclaves where such was still quite apparent even into the 1970s, 80s and 90s. Along this line, I remember a world where when the Irish and Italians weren’t calling each other "dago" or "mick", they were saying some pretty mean things about the Blacks and Puerto Ricans.

I’m not even going to address our long history of slavery and segregation in order to support my point. Our president, Trump, stated that in a Neo-Nazi/KKK rally that there "were good people on both sides", he’s called Mexicans "murderers, drug dealers and rapists" and is still allowing pockets of Puerto Rico to go without power months after the hurricane hit the island.

I’m not asking that you feel guilty or saying that your family didn’t do what they were supposed to do in order to provide a better future for subsequent generations. All I’m saying is that we should afford people jobs as a means towards upward mobility.

I’m not being argumentative, by the way, just want to tease out the logic of this proposal, which is a goal of the BBC Proms, by 2022, according to the article…My answer to your question is that I don’t know; although I think that some effort should always be made to be fair to everyone; to take into consideration one’s own personal bias in a field that has been dominated by white men.

One of my first books on classical music is "Lives of the Great Composers" by Harold Schonberg. It was given to me by my mother one Christmas while I was still a teenager, not that my mother even liked classical music, but I guess she encouraged my interest in classical music because she thought there were worse things a teenage boy could do with his time. Anyway, Schonberg’s book was almost like my classical music Bible. I read it so much that I unwittingly committed some of it to memory and eventually the book fell apart.

When I purchased a new copy of Schonberg’s book, it was a newer edition (the 3rd edition), an edition where Schonberg integrated several women composers into his narrative. I think that Schonberg made a fair judgment that we all should make; not that we must feel guilty or feel as though there’s something defective about white and male, but that since the power has tilted one way for so long, that we ought to take some time to reexamine our own biases.

I made clear in my initial posting on this thread that the foundation of classical music is with dead White European men of a Christian background. This can’t be changed anymore than the foundations of gospel, jazz, blues, rock, hip-hop and rap can be regarded as essentially coming out of the experiences of African Americans.

"Diversity" is essentially an arid argument, in my opinion, wrapped up in ideological and doctrinaire clothing. The best method of creating ‘fairness’ in the workplace/creative world (an emotive word anyway, which I’d expect to hear a child use in a playground) is within the supply and demand chain. If you read about James Damore and his experience with Google (he was sacked) you’ll see that there isn’t a scintilla of ‘fairness’ or ‘diversity’ at Google, just a repressive regime of conformity to the corporate ideology of – ironically – ‘diversity’. Whenever you start the ‘diversity’ argument, or one based on identity politics, you’re certain to lose. It has a self-defeating circularity about it which can be used by your opponents. In short, everybody can play THAT game. And it IS a game.

As to ‘diversity’ in the concert hall; I don’t know if anybody has noticed the fact that 20 million Chinese children are learning the piano, that a South Korean won the last Chopin Competition, that orchestras are filled with people from many nations and that the El Sistema program in Venezuela spectacularly drew international attention to the love of serious music by ordinary, impoverished youth. And they play magnificently.

As to whether we ought to pay a lot of money to go to a live performance and hear a program based on affirmative action; I wouldn’t go myself for that reason. I attend a lot of high-quality live concerts – in fact, they are of such a high quality that I’m less inclined to attend anything which doesn’t feature the world’s very best artists. Most of the time I attend because of the artist or orchestra – the program is secondary. I’ve heard ‘contemporary’ pieces sandwiched into programs of more traditional fare and I can tell you that’s more exposure than Beethoven or Schubert or Bach ever got outside their small coteries.

Western European classical music is as per the descriptor; an art form which arose because of the Catholic Church, the Enlightenment and wealthy patronage. You simply need to be wealthy to be able to afford the "infrastructure" which facilitates such an art form – from venues, to instruments, to music schools. Western European classical music has been a proxy for rising wealth, intellectual and artistic movements and independence of thought. I’m on my knees much of the time thanking god for it!!

…Whenever you start the ‘diversity’ argument, or one based on identity politics, you’re certain to lose. It has a self-defeating circularity about it which can be used by your opponents. In short, everybody can play THAT game. And it IS a game…Agreed, except that the "game" has always existed, at least in the work place. People have always been hired and fired based upon favoritism and nepotism, who they were, where they were from and whether or not they were one of "us" or one of "them". I’m not saying that the whole movement towards diversity hasn’t gone to some ridiculous extremes which should, of course, be duly noted and avoided. What I’m saying, and what nobody here can seem to answer, is how else do you ensure that people are provided jobs most fairly, without some kind of system being in place?

For the record, most of what I see of "diversity" is a crock; PC nonsense concerned with taking down Confederate flags and statues of Robert E Lee, as if that helps to solve anything; and having us all walk on eggshells lest we offend someone.