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February 11, 2010

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Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist

That goes to prove we don't LIVE in a post-racial society like the NYT declared!!

people always ask me if I am half white, because they think it's "impossible" that a 100% Indian, Muslim female could actually be a punk rocker who wears Doc Martens and studs and leather. I find it really offensive and racist.

Josh

This is sort of off-topic, but DIMA's comment made me think of it. I thought it was weird when Santogold's album came out that many critics were saying she was just an M.I.A. ripoff. It was weird because their sounds have very little in common except a nod of the hat to New Wave. Santogold's album had a distinct Carribean influence while M.I.A.s songs have an Indian influence. Their albums have little in common.

What they do have in common is that they're both women of color that are doing unexpected things in music. The actual music doesn't have that much in common in terms of sound or style other than being hip. So comparisons seem entirely race based.

I have the same hairdresser as M.I.A.

Scott Walters

What it shows is that, as is true with all of the arts, we think that people who create art actually believe in what they're creating or else why would they do it? I'm afraid I don't think this has much to do with race at all.

99

Scott, it has to do with race because the opposite is rarely true. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find a situation where it would be true: a white person is asked if he feels a "special connection" to a piece of work, and when he (or she) says "No. It's just work," the person pushes them on the point, as though it's unthinkable. The idea that a black person could feel no special connection to a Negro spiritual is unthinkable to some. And that includes black folks. A white artist wouldn't be asked the question if they were performing a Schubert lieder.

I may have mentioned this somewhere, but I recently saw a play by a black writer about a black family dealing with the aftermath of infidelity. Afterwards, another black person expressed surprise that it would be a scandal, as though the given circumstances of a black family makes infidelity okay.

It's about expectations and how some folks have to work hard to overcome them. Race is a part of that.

Scott Walters

Actually, I believe that white singers in classical music choirs, for instance, are often asked whether they have a special fondness for specific pieces of music. If one of them said, hell no I prefer Metallica but I'm getting 3 credits for singing this stuff, NPR might also be baffled about what to do with it.

Abe Goldfarb

Scott, I think you're actively avoiding the point here for some odd reason. Yes, it would be comical and strange that a white choir singer would be more into Metallica. It does not, however, twang the sense of cultural history that leads us to assume that a black person relates to a black spiritual. It would depend on what the white choir member was singing, yes, but the comparison is not apt.

More apt might be a Jew singing a Hebrew hymn in concert and saying that, no, actually, it's a gig, and he/she's more or less secular. That would be very surprising.

My opinion, in any case.

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