‘Oh! Susanna, “ one other music with racist roots taken out of Cedar Rapids colleges


CEDAR RAPIDS – Music academics on the Cedar Rapids Group Faculty District are reviewing their curriculum to rid it of any traditionally racist music or songwriter.

Creating an anti-racism curriculum in all topics is an effort the district has been engaged on for years to make sure that college students see themselves mirrored within the content material they be taught and still have a window into completely different views and cultures, stated John Rice of Cedar Rapids Faculties. govt director of instructing and studying.

Beth Davies, Head of Kindergarten to Grade 12 Music Content material at Cedar Rapids Faculties and Group Principal at Franklin Center Faculty, started working particularly on the music program final summer season, impressed by the Black Lives Matter protests. locally.

Inspecting the music utilized in lecture rooms, Davis stated he discovered songs “proper now” that ought to not be used as a consequence of “racist roots.”

Songs like “Oh! Stephen Foster’s Susanna ”had been initially utilized in minstrel performances. Though through the years the lyrics have been modified, the unique racist lyrics are only a google searchDavies stated.

Many American people songs are additionally flagged as traditionally racist and might be faraway from this system.

The music program will be significantly problematic if the songs comprise racist songs as a result of the scholars memorize the lyrics. she stated.


A guidelines was supplied to music academics to assist them select culturally applicable music, Davies stated.

Academics ought to have a look at the title and ensure it doesn’t use language that makes enjoyable of a bunch of individuals or a tradition, corresponding to a music she has encountered known as “Taco Rocko”.

Lyrics ought to be free from racist or biased language, and if the unique lyrics of a music are racist, they shouldn’t be used. Academics ought to ask themselves, “What was the unique goal of the music?” Davies stated.

The final step is to seek out new music. Academics obtain free on-line assets to seek out music by composers and arrangers from various cultural backgrounds and gender identities.

On-line databases corresponding to Institute for the Variety of Composers; Past Elijah Rock: The Non-Idiomatic Choral Music of Black Composers; and the Latin American Artwork Music Alliance are just some of the assets Davies has for academics.

Academics ought to purpose to incorporate music by composers of shade, songwriters or songwriters who’re a part of the LGBTQ (lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, trans, and queer) neighborhood that academics “won’t essentially come throughout. dominated by white males ”. Davies stated.

Skilled studying classes are deliberate for music academics, and the district will “deepen” this system this summer season to organize for the 2021-2022 tutorial 12 months, Superintendent Noreen Bush stated.

“We’re actually pleased with the work that has already been executed and are listening to an inclusive agenda, however we all know now we have a protracted option to go,” stated Bush.


The district may even work with neighborhood members and historians, in addition to music consultants from Mount Mercy College, Coe Faculty and the African American Museum of Iowa, to create a culturally delicate and inclusive program. Bush stated.

Sean Neilly is the District PK-12 Humanities Content material Supervisor and regularly works to create a culturally applicable program for the district.

The music curriculum is only one instance of the topics the district is reviewing to handle fairness and inclusion.

Academics in Superior Placement courses, the place the curriculum is dictated by the Faculty Board, are additionally exploring methods to incorporate extra illustration of their lecture rooms, Rice stated.

“The selection to show one thing is simply as empowering as the selection to not train one thing,” stated Neilly. “I believe academics perceive very well once they train one perspective, it silences one other, and that is an actual hurt for teenagers.”

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