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October 29, 2013

Will There Be Government Action Over This?

Or is explicit racial discrimination against white people legal in the age of Obama?

Shokazoba's cancellation from the Hampshire Halloween event Friday night atHampshire College, after one band member said they were criticized of being "too white" to play Afrobeat music, is reverberating on social media.

Shokazoba keyboard player Jason Moses said on Saturday that the entire incident has upset the band, which he said was the target of an online campaign by approximately 30 people - a campaign that led to the band's ultimate cancellation from the annual event.

* * *

Elaine Thomas, Hampshire College spokeswoman, said in a statement that the student organizers of Hampshire Halloween contracted with a number of bands, and that some students "questioned the selection of one band, asking whether it was a predominantly white Afrobeat band, and expressing their concerns about cultural appropriation and the need to respect marginalized cultures."

"The students tried to be clear that they meant no disrespect to the members of the band in question, but wished to raise larger questions and deeper thought within our own community," Thomas said. "Unfortunately, voices unconnected to our campus and to the events of Hampshire Halloween drowned out a reasonable conversation about how to ensure that the entire student community could have a safe and happy evening. As can happen on social media, posts from off-campus individuals trivialized the concerns of our students and made them feel disrespected."

I wonder would the committee have taken the same action if a group of 30 white students announced they felt disrespected by a mostly-minority group performing country, rock, or any other type of music? Or would the students instead have been publicly denounced and subjected to disciplinary action because they demanded an act that was "too black" or "too Hispanic" or "too Asian" be dropped from an event's program?





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Two bands formed in recent times in reaction to this sort of sentiment.

The Average White Band, composed of Scots ("Pick Up the Pieces"), was formed in reaction to the idea that only blacks could do R&B and funk.

Living Color, all black ("Cult of Personality"), was in reaction to the idea that blacks couldn't do rock.

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