Is something missing from your music?
Perhaps it’s Critical Race Theory.
If that sounds right, this’ll be music to your ears.
Arizona State University’s ASU News rings in a rhythm ‘n’ race combo courtesy of Joyce McCall, “assistant professor of music learning and teaching.”
“Critical Race Theory Scholar,” the outlet announces, “Joins ASU School of Music, Dance and Theatre.”
Joyce is one of a mere few:
McCall is one of the few scholars whose music education research focuses on race and racism through Critical Race Theory and Double Consciousness Theory, as well as culturally relevant pedagogy.
- One race or sex was inherently superior to another race or sex
- An individual by virtue of the individual’s race or sex was inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously
- An individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of the individual’s race or sex
- Members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex
- An individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by the individual’s race or sex
- An individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, bore responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex
- An individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of the individual’s race or sex
- Meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist or were created by members of a particular race to oppress members of another race.
The professor professed she’s psyched:
“This is my dream job in a sense, because this is an opportunity to do the work that I do and also be able to do it in a place that provides me with a space where I can thrive. I have yet to find that any place else, and I believe that Arizona State University and the School of Music, Dance and Theatre might be it.”
So how exactly does music — a science of sound — connect to anti-blackness and its effects?
To be clear, Joyce deals in “educational equity”:
McCall’s research centers on how race, class and culture impact educational equity in music education. She said she also examines how certain pedagogies such as culturally relevant teaching influence possibilities to engage minoritized racial populations in the music classroom and beyond.
According to school director Heather Landes, ASU’s delighted.
“We are delighted to have attracted Dr. McCall to the ASU School of Music, Dance and Theatre. Dr. McCall brings expertise and research interests that are critical to our path forward as a school focused on access, inclusion and excellence. We look forward to welcoming Dr. McCall, who earned her PhD in music education from ASU in 2015, back to our community as a faculty member.”
America’s certainly searching sectors for skin-related sinisterness, and it appears all stones will be turned.
A few of what the rocks have so far revealed:
And perhaps the most disturbing of all:
As for Arizona State University, it’s going against the “R” word with a full-court press.
As I covered in March, the school’s associate dean penned a 358-page book on wiping out white supremacy.
Here’s how Professor/Associate Dean Asao Inoue put it:
The traditional purposes and methods used for grading writing turn out to be de facto racist and White supremacist. Grading by a standard, thus, is how White language supremacy is perpetuated in schools.
Maybe the same goes for music research.
And now the university’s got a scholar on the case.
From Joyce’s official ASU bio:
Her latest book chapter, “Speak No Evil: Talking Race as an African American in Music Education,” has served as a critical tool in music toward empowering scholars of color and inspiring antiracist work.
As a reminder, per CNN, “antiracism” aims to undermine microagressions such as “I’m colorblind; I don’t care if you’re white, black, yellow, green or purple.”
We’re living in a new world. Not being racist is no longer enough. “Antiracism” is what the doctor ordered.
The same goes for the professor.
And, by extension, the school.
As noted by Campus Reform, one recent ASU communications class assignment read as follows:
For the next 7 days, you need to commit do [sic] at least one practice or idea around doing the inner work of antiracism.
How far will our antiracist audit go? What amount of Critical Race Theory will be enough, as we analyze every element of society?
That remains to be seen, but ASU is doing its part.
Hopefully, they’ll still be able to teach music — in a non-divisive way that all races can enjoy.
But that may not happen across every course.
Here’s the definition of Joyce’s aforementioned “Double Consciousness Theory,” as provided by Cambridge.org:
The theory argues that in a racialized society there is no true communication or recognition between the racializing and the racialized.
Yeah, unity might take a while.
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