Posted by Rick Denney on July 01, 2003 at 11:42:53:
In Reply to: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: isn't this is a good thing? Re: VPO posted by Bill Nazzaro on July 01, 2003 at 08:05:28:
Bill, when you use the term "thinly veiled racism" you are implying that the racism is real and being partly revealed by the statements that are made. I think you are wrong. The comments to which you referred can easily be said by a person who sees an imbalance in the way culture is exchanged, and in the way that exchange is demanded and offered.
Some groups demand to made part of every other culture's activities, but then exclude members of other groups from their own cultural activities. This causes resentment even if the exclusion is buried deeply, just as those groups accuse it of being deeply rooted (i.e., why they use the term "racism" to describe it). That's why I asked about Austrians playing in a traditional Japanese music groups. Nobody minds that there are no Austrians in such groups, but some apparently mind that there are no Japanese in the VPO.
The members of those other cultures claim that the world is too Euro-centered, yet the music groups they want membership in are European groups playing European music. You can't have it both ways. If European is relevant to Europe just as, say, Chinese is relevant to China, then there should be no more desire for Chinese to participate in European activities than for Europeans to participate in Chinese activities. Thus, those who complain that there is no Asian involvement in groups like the VPO are making European culture universal. Then they turn around and complain of European cultural hegemony! (By the way, the Europeans do it with Americans, too.) It's like, "We hate the way European orchestral music is considered globally relevant while our own Asian culture is not considered relevant outside Asia, but we want to be in those groups playing European orchestral music!" Do you not see the inconsistency here?
Granted, music is in many ways universal, but I daresay that most orchestras that play European orchestral music have plenty of musicians who have a different cultural heritage. If the VPO wants to be an aural and visual museum of a particular culture, style and repertoire, then I don't think it really keeps non-Europeans from pursuing European music, even in Vienna.
Again, you can't have it both ways. If you demand to be a member of another group's culture, you have to be just as open with your culture as you expect them to be with theirs. If you want protected corners of your own culture, then you have to grant those corners to that other group. That's just a variation on the Golden Rule, it seems to me.
Rick "who sees imbalance, not racism" Denney