Updated: Apr 8
In some instances, there’s an imaginary wall that divides people online. By examining the most common scenarios where racism is cited; we’re going to look at this virtual wall, whether it even exists, and if so, how it affects the online music community. We’ll also cover the realities of racism and how to deal with it.
Due the nature of this topic, this ones going to be straight to the point. No pictures. Just a traditional dissertation.
You know… the “Wall” ………. Or maybe you don’t know. Maybe you haven’t seen it. Possibly you’ve accepted it. Have you tried to find it? Walk through it? Climb it? It’s there.
All of us online like music right? We all use the same equipment Yah? For the most part, most of this community communicates in English and accepts it as the prominent language for music, gear reviews and online content right? So why does there appear to be a virtual wall that divides people online?
“What’s this wall made out of” you ask?
In one-word; relatability. People in general relate easily to people of their own culture and ethnical background. So in the music community the choice of which creator to follow can be based on cultural and racial familiarity. Unless a content creator is racially ambiguous they will typically attract people who relate to them culturally and in most cases racially.
“What’s racial ambiguity?”
It’s when a person doesn’t appear to exhibit the cultural mannerisms and behaviours of their associated “race”. If you’ve ever been told the following?
“You’re really “insert anything here” for a “insert your culture, ethnicity or race here”.
Yeah, if you’ve heard this said to you. You’re “Racially Ambiguous”. You fall outside of the short-sighted working definition of the imp that’s said this to you. And while they’ve taken the liberty to say it to you. They’re certainly not the only one who views you in this way. Why? Because who in the world has time to understand the nuances of everyone and their associated culture today? We judge people by how their race is generally depicted in the society that we live in or worse, by how they’re represented in the entertainment we consume.
Being racially ambiguous affords you the gift of appearing relatable or better yet culturally neutral. It’s almost as if you’re not even from this planet. You’re a biological canvas for everyone to project their ideals onto. You're outside of the box in a sense and yet you might be locked in one.
Can’t Relate Can’t Explain
This is where I think most of the people in the pool lie. Most have tried to have a look at content that is culturally and tastefully unrelated to what they’re accustomed to. They try to give this foreign content a shot but they just can’t relate; And because of that they ultimately choose the more relatable options available. No problem.
I Just Don’t Care. I Go Where The Goods Are!
Of course there are those who don’t care about any “fantasy wall” and they simply go where their interest take them. They realize that if their cultural customs aren’t represented wherever they go it’s an opportunity to learn and be exposed to something different. Inherently they understand that another culture doesn’t diminish their own.
Close But No Cigar
While I’m certain that racism does exist among people online. There’s really no way to know unless racism is cited and demonstrated. And even when it is, does it hinder us from generally interacting with the subsets of the community that are on the other side of this virtual racial wall?
Supportive But Racist?
The problem begins to look fishy when the extent of the representation seems to be more than just relatability and more of a deliberate action. What would make you feel that way? Well we’ve all seen a video/content that isn’t so good as far as musicianship goes but it has a lot of engagement and support. Another video covering the same topic may exhibit more range of talent and expertise in all areas but yet it hasn’t got the same level of engagement.
The missing thing is preference. The first video may not have everything going on like the second but it relates to its audience better and if that audience has a larger cultural representation online, it will always be more popular. Is this racism?
Selective Race Relations
There is another phenomenon. It happens within the musical equipment review territory. Many reviewers suspect that they are overlooked as candidates for product reviews based on their race. To those reviewers who feel this way. I’d say to you that there’s a good chance that your suspicions are correct. Just as fairly I’d say that they could also be incorrect. My advice and solution however, would be the same. And that is this.
Do Not Engage with that entity any further. Do not spend time complaining about the racism that you think you’re experiencing. Do not use their products. Do not buy their products. Do not support their products. Put your monetary and mental energy some place else more rewarding.
“Well shouldn’t we treat everyone equally?”
If you’ve had the luxury to skip through life without having to make a character judgement for the protection of your safety or advancement in life. Sure!
But if not; Here’s a simple story. If you suspected that you would get burgled if you left the door to your home unlocked; You wouldn’t complain about the unjustness of it would you? You wouldn’t protest, sign petitions or even call any form of authority. You would lock your door! And then you’d probably take yourself down to your local Best Buy and get a home surveillance system to ensure that you’re protected from the potentiality of home robbery. Furthermore, if you were deeply concerned about the sheer amount of thieves in your neighbourhood. Why not just leave that neighbourhood for a safer locale? Under these simple steps you’d probably never even have to worry about being robbed again.
Sure robbers and thieves will continue to exist in the world. Cases of “Breaking and Entering” will still plague the daily operations of the working police officer. But I’ll tell you what; It probably won’t be in the forefront of your mind.
Similarly, this is the way to handle the threat or even the suspicion of racism. You protect yourself against it as to minimize it to such a degree that it would be better for an offender to leave you in peace than to exercise it on you.
As a matter fact; we commonly speak about racism all the time and most of us have no understanding of what it is and where it comes from. Let’s look into the ideology racism for a bit.
The roots of racism are academic and ideological.
It is the legal right for a racist to practice their belief in racism.
“You” will never know more about racism than the group that practice it on you.
Accept that you have experience with racist behaviour with no understanding of racist ideology.
Accept that you will never know who is a racist and who isn’t. Generally speaking, it’s part of racist culture for some to make themselves publicly known while the majority remain sincerely unidentified.
Racism will go away when there is no one silly enough to make themselves available to practice it on.
Racist behaviour will be minimized when the penalty to believe in it’s ideology is too risky.
You can reduce the amount of racist encounters in your personal life today by controlling:
1. Where/Who you work for. If not for yourself.
2. Where you buy your food.
3. Who you rely on for security.
4. Who you depend on for matters of legal action.
5. Where you go for medical matters of any kind.
6. Where you choose to educate yourself.
7. Where you invest/spend your money.
8. Who you divulge personal matters in your life to. (PS. Most matters in your life are personal).
Oh I See!
Yeah man. “Racism” is a tricky tale to pin down. It’s easily identified yet nearly impossible to prove. Everyone’s heard of it, yet it’s very existence can go unacknowledged. Anyone can carry out a racist action without subscribing to its ideology. There’s no formal law in the world that addresses it. There’s no specific punishment for it. It can be applied to any action or no action at all.
And because of the vagueness that surrounds it, racism isn’t worth the hype. Don’t spend your time pointing out that it exists in your life. It’s like saying you saw Mr. Snuffleupagus (that’s a 70’s Sesame Street reference). It’s too difficult to authenticate your grievance. You simply need to ensure that it can’t thrive at all within your life on a cultural or ethnic level. Words, protests, hashtags or petitions aren’t required for that.
Appropriation! What About That?..............
What about when these companies go out of their way to ignore an ethical group only to turn around and appropriate that very group by inserting someone to emulate what that culture signifies? You know, mannerisms, dialect, dress, musical style and techniques…… the list could go on and on.
“Yeah that! What about that Yohance?”
It certainly does happen. All the time. And while it’s both entertaining and recoiling to watch, and while everyone involved in that effort may be staunch racists. The action or appropriation in itself isn’t a racist one. Furthermore, who cares? If you’re one for calling that sort of thing out; Why do you really care?
Chances are you care because the misappropriated appropriation of your culture often gains more attention than its truest representation. And to make things worse. The typical appropriator often goes out of their way to omit the source of their appropriateness. Isn’t’ that something? And so once again we’re back to relatability.
People appropriate (aka bite), so that they can introduce something to their own native culture in a way that the people of their culture would readily accept and see themselves participating in. People who conceal the source of their appropriation typically do so to appear as a forerunner of the ideals that they’re appropriating.
People want to feel included in the things that they take part in. Remember that. Especially these days. You almost can’t sell anything to anyone without making them feel like they can participate wholly in its purpose or functionality. The root of all this cultural appropriation business is that people in general have a problem being themselves. If the grass looks greener on the other side of the wall, folk will venture onto that plot of lawn and uproot it.
Oh. And here’s another reason why you might care. If you’re a gear reviewer. You could most definitely get ignored. And in lieu of you, your more relatable user-friendly presentable culture-clone will be chosen to represent you and your culture.
This may piss you off. I get it. Now what is your plan to protect yourself against it?
I Don’t Know! Tell Me What To Do?
Come on! It’s already been laid out. Here it is plain and simple. If you (meaning any culture, ethnicity, people, race) make no serious effort to protect and preserve the things that are essential to your culture. You will inevitably have it taken from you. That’s all there is to it. How many historical examples do you need before you understand that? Conversely, the things that we revere today are around because they’ve been protected, preserved and maintained at all costs! If you’re one for complaining, there’s a lesson to be learned here.
Complaining gets you nowhere. Did you already forget our home security example?
Cultural appropriation, racism or any unwelcome experience occurs anywhere it is allowed/accepted.
“Easier said than done Yohance!”
Yes, it is. So what! Start now! Aside form complaining; Do you have anything more important to do with your time? Alright I’ll be more direct.
For starters do the following:
1. Make your own gear.
2. Develop your own plugins.
3. Protect your musical innovations and vet anyone who takes an interest in it.
4. Make your own media platforms.
5. Create business entities and hire people who are culturally identical to you.
6. Take immense pride in your musical heritage.
7. Do not glorify any dysfunctionality within your ethnicity or culture.
None of the above are racist, bias, unjust or uncommon. Every thriving culture you can think of does what I’ve just noted. Any observable virtual racial wall that exists has nothing to do with you. Unless you’re living under a rock you will experience this divide in some form or another. There’s no need to spend an inordinate amount of time pondering the obvious. Action and prevention is a practical solution to these sort of social issues.
Even if you’ve never experienced any type of racial grievance in your entire existence. It would still behoove you to keep it that way.
As for race. Race is a created word that functions within the ideology of racism. Unless you yourself abide by the philosophies or actions of racism. You need not worry about being called a racist for making an effort to enrich your culture without depriving another.
No matter how it looks, this world that we occupy is balanced. Not only that, you have a duty to maintain that equilibrium, and that includes ordering things in your life in such a way that injustice is minimized to such a degree that it’s no longer threatening to your well being.
Thanks for reading! Much appreciated! TDS