Speculative Racism In The Online Music Community - The Virtual Wall In The Room - B(L)og 008

Updated: Dec 27, 2021

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.

What Wall?

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.

Racism 101

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.