Masters of Traditional Arts: An Organic Approach to Diversity




Brakefield, Jay F.

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The Center for Texas Music History


"Diversity" has become a popular word across the nation, as Americans continue to grapple with race and other potentially divisive social issues. Yet often, as we pay lip service to inclusiveness, we enforce a numbing conformity reminiscent of the 1950s. As Diane Ravitch says in her book, The Language Police, in the name of sensitivity we are sanitizing the language, producing textbooks, and standardized tests so bland and inaccurate that they serve only to avoid controversy. The theory behind this is that, by changing language, we can shape thought; if children don’t hear demeaning language, they’re less likely to use it. Experts disagree on the validity of this idea, but, as Ravitch points out, such an approach is doomed to failure when many, if not most, young people are also exposed to movies and song lyrics that are as explicit as the school materials are circumspect. One yearns at times for a middle ground between political correctness and gangsta rap.



Traditional Arts, Diversity, National Heritage Fellowship, Texas


Brakefield, J. F. (2003). Masters of traditional arts: An organic approach to diversity. <i>Journal of Texas Music History, 3</i>(2), pp. 1-6.


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