Quick Takes – The Latest Things That Are Now Racist: Jedi Knights; Baby Carriers; Classical Music

     Another “quick takes” on items where there is too little to say to make a complete article, but is still important enough to comment on.

     The focus this time: EVERYTHING IS TEH RACISM!!1!

     First, a little mood music:

     Carrying on…

     The once vaunted Scientific American is now opining on the “scientific” problem of Jedi Knights be racist.

The Jedi are inappropriate mascots for social justice. Although they’re ostensibly heroes within the Star Wars universe, the Jedi are inappropriate symbols for justice work. They are a religious order of intergalactic police-monks, prone to (white) saviorism and toxically masculine approaches to conflict resolution (violent duels with phallic lightsabers, gaslighting by means of ‘Jedi mind tricks,’ etc.). The Jedi are also an exclusionary cult, membership to which is partly predicated on the possession of heightened psychic and physical abilities (or ‘Force-sensitivity’). Strikingly, Force-wielding talents are narratively explained in Star Wars not merely in spiritual terms but also in ableist and eugenic ones: These supernatural powers are naturalized as biological, hereditary attributes. So it is that Force potential is framed as a dynastic property of noble bloodlines (for example, the Skywalker dynasty), and Force disparities are rendered innate physical properties, measurable via ‘midi-chlorian’ counts (not unlike a ‘Force genetics’ test) and augmentable via human(oid) engineering. The heroic Jedi are thus emblems for a host of dangerously reactionary values and assumptions. Sending the message that justice work is akin to cosplay is bad enough; dressing up our initiatives in the symbolic garb of the Jedi is worse.”

     Apparently White people never carried their babies until they stole the technology from everyone else… according to a “babywearing educator”.

“Modern baby carriers that we see and use today are based on traditional baby carriers that have been used all around the world for hundreds of thousands of years. In fact, early humans may have started making carriers from animal skins, plants and other natural materials about half a million years ago as a necessity to keep their babies safe while attending to daily life. And according to James McKenna, an anthropology professor from the University of Notre Dame who studies mother-infant relationships, these carrying devices were some of the first tools ever created.

“This is why it’s so important to respect the cultures our babywearing knowledge comes from, as this ancestral practice existed long before it was popularized in the West. In fact, babywearing has often been denied to Indigenous and racialized parents and children through the process of colonization and assimilation. It was seen as “primitive,” less culturally acceptable or somehow lesser-than, since historically, European, British and white North American mothers typically used prams and strollers to carry their infants.”

     Classical music and the orchestras that play it are now racist and responsible for the death of George Floyd.

“The classical music profession deemed itself implicated in Floyd’s death. On June 1, 2020, the League of American Orchestras issued a statement confessing that, for decades, it had “tolerated and perpetuated systemic discrimination against Black people, discrimination mirrored in the practices of orchestras and throughout our country.” The League was ‘committed to dismantling’ its ‘role in perpetuating the systems of inequity that continue to oppress Black people’ and expected its member orchestras to respond in kind.

“That response was immediate. The Hartford Symphony Orchestra apologized for its ‘history of inaction to effectively confront the racist systems and structures that have long oppressed and marginalized Black musicians, composers, and communities.’ The Seattle Opera announced that it would ‘continue to prioritize’ antiracism and ‘make amends’ for causing harm. Opera Omaha sent a message to its ‘black community’: ‘We know that you are exhausted and recognize we will never fully understand the depth of your suffering. We know that part of your exhaustion comes from the heartbreak of our silence, inaction, and half-measures.’ Every communication that the opera sends out now concludes with the tagline: ‘We will listen more than we speak, but will not be silent in the face of injustice.’

“Black musicians produced manifestos complaining of their mistreatment at the hands of white administrators and conductors. Weston Sprott, a trombonist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, along with three musicians from three other ensembles, declared in the New York Times that the reason there are not ‘more Black artists in orchestras’ is ‘racism.’ Six black opera singers made a YouTube video about opera racism at the invitation of the Los Angeles Opera. L.A. Opera’s president, Christopher Koelsch, introduced the discussion. ‘I come to you today as the white male leader of this institution,’ he said, staring dazedly at the camera. L.A. Opera was committing ‘anew to self-examination and . . . to do our part to heal wounds that are hundreds of years old.’ Most of the discussion centered on Floyd’s death, but tenor Russell Thomas also told of being rebuked for routinely showing up late and for talking on his cell phone during rehearsals for an unnamed opera. ‘They were putting me in my place,’ Thomas said, though his behavior was the result of his uncle dying in a car accident, he maintained. Only a black singer would be denied ‘a basic amount of consideration.’”


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