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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

The Sacramento Bee Advocates Racism

As a player of "flutish" instruments and "sacred music", I felt compelled to write this letter to the local penny-stock newspaper.

I was disappointed in the Sacramento Bee's Parroting, without judgment, of the following racist statement by the otherwise excellent Sacramento Musician Mary Youngblood:

From the 12/18/09 Sacramento Bee:

"She's also become a bit of an activist. One name on the list of nominees for the 52nd annual Grammy Awards, which takes place Jan. 31 at Los Angeles' Staples Center, has her up in arms. Michael Brant DeMaria is a contender in the Native American music category for his album "Siyotanka."

"We have a situation this year," Youngblood says, shaking her head. "A non-native is nominated, and it dishonors the category. Right now the Indian community is reeling, and I'm kind of at the forefront of that. I don't mind speaking out about this not being right.

"The rules don't say you have to be native, but we have just always honored that. There are so many talented Indian people out there who live their culture, and now this. I feel pretty strongly about it. We're a small community, and it's just not right.""

Ms Youngblood is advocating that only Native Americans be recognized for playing Native music. To quote Ms Youngblood, her brand of racism "is just not right". Using her racist principle, perhaps classical music should be recognized only when created by white Europeans, and perhaps Jews should be banned from performing Wagner,etc.

This is racism in its most vile extreme and it is wrong. It is equally wrong for the Bee to tacitly approve such hateful speech.

The Bee should print an apology for tacitly endorsing such hateful racist speech.

This kind of racism needs to be left behind with the rest of the 20th century.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


maryann said...

It is true Michael Brant DeMaria is a contender in the Native American music Category and the man is Italian decent. We do have many wonderful native, duhhh why put a non-native in that category? Nothing against Italians...but geez give us a break here !! Mary Youngblood is right in what she states and it is far from racist.

Steve said...

To accept your comment, one must also accept that only Europeans should be allowed to get a Grammy for playing European music.

After all, we have many fine European musicians, so duhh, why put a non-European in that category.why

Are you willing to take back Yoyo Ma's Grammies?

Please do not waste your teim responding, as this blog will not serve as a pulpit for the publication of racist opinions.

You may want to ask yourself how "exclusion based on racial origin" might be called not racist. Beats me. But maybe you understand the definition of racism better than the U. N.?

Anonymous said...

This discussion reminds me of the uproar about Marion Anderson performing for the DAR in the '50s - after all, she was Black - or, as was said then "Negro" - and what right did she have to perform white European music. Guess some things never change. Janis Joplin was a damn fine blues singer, blond hair not withstanding; thank goodness for the cross-pollination that happens through art and music. Steve, you are right and keep fighting the good fight against those small-minded bigots who would limit our artistic expresssion based on our genetic code.

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