Darius, Bitches!

Recently, Black Country singer Darius Rucker was told by someone on twitter to “leave country to the white folk.” Is country music White and if so should it be?

Some who have commented on this affair, or whatever it is, seem to think that any connection between music genres and race/ethnicity is just coincidental,

“Music is color blind. It should have no boundaries. It’s supposed to unify us, not divide us as a nation.”

“Music has no color.”

This seems a bit phony to me. It’s obvious that Country music is White music. It’s as White as R&B is Black. Pretending otherwise is like denying that Asians are more conscientious than other groups or denying that White people engage more in airy fairy philosophy than others. As far as evidence goes, I haven’t found any specific studies on race and musical preferences although I’ve mentioned one study that links race/ethnicity to more general cultural preferences, as well as personality.

Does this mean that Rucker should leave Country to White people? No. He is of course free to do whatever he wants. It’s undoubtedly embarrassing when White people try to act Black and vice versa, but besides group differences there are also individual differences. Some individuals simply won’t conform to their group preferences. And there is no reason why their contributions should count as less or that they be branded as phonies because of that.

So yes, music has color. We are different. But no, that doesn’t mean that you always have to stick to your racial, ethnic or religious group in everything you do. There is absolutely no contradiction between the fact that Country music is White and the fact that Darius Rucker is a Black and talented Country singer. If you haven’t heard him just listen to the clip above – he is more Country than Taylor Swift will ever be.

 

 

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9 Responses to Darius, Bitches!

  1. I agree that musics have color. However, invasions and cross-invasions seem to have been good for it, and the boundaries are permeable. There is another cultural element here. White people show their openmindedness, or something, by embracing black music. However, they usually choose styles that black people don’t listen to anymore: blues, jazz, early hip-hop…Even 60’s-70’s R&B is played more in UK retail shops than among black people.

    But it’s considered something of a betrayal for a black person to like country music. Funny thing, I think it bothers progressive white people more than it does black people. If you are African-American, you are supposed to remain “authentic” or something.

  2. Staffan says:

    I’m a bit skeptical of all these fusions and crossovers. It feels like a substitute for real creativity. Although somtimes they get it right, like in Bluegrass there is often a sweet combination of Blues and keltic music.

    What little research there is, and psychologists really don’t like to look at racial differences, suggests that White people score higher on Openness to experience. It’s also possible that Black people are more tribal/ingroup loyal.

    Yes, it’s funny how White liberals need for Black people to be genuine, exotic even. They don’t care to admit it, but they watch The Wire like it was Animal Planet or National Geographic. A show about a Black Country singer would be cancelled after the first episode.

  3. Benjamin David Steele says:

    The very areas where country music originated often had lots of black residents. Country music isn’t white. It’s just Southern, especially the western portions. It would be like saying all rock music is black because it originates from early black music.

    In the South, there was always a lot of cultural mixing between whites and blacks. Some historians go so far as to argue that important aspects of even white Southern culture originated with the culture black slaves brought with them from Africa, since at one point blacks were the majority in places like South Carolina and blacks ended up raising even many of the white children.

    • Staffan says:

      It’s White in the sense that it’s something that almost exclusively interests White people. The origin of the music is one thing and its current form is another.

      • Benjamin David Steele says:

        It’s not something I have a strong opinion about. I’m partly Southern as i spent 8th grade through college in the Deep South, but I mostly feel like a Midwesterner and so feel no proprietorial ownership of Southern culture. I’ll leave the debate about who owns Southern music to the Southern whites and Southern blacks.

        The problem is that Southerners didn’t keep their culture to themselves for the simple reason they didn’t remain in their own region. About a third of Southerners left the South during large periods of the 20th century, especially beginning in the 1940s. Blues so often gets identified with Chicago because of this mass migration, and a very large number of white people have taken over this black musical tradition.

        It is hard to stop the cultural mixing. The only way you could do it is by stopping the mixing of people of different cultures. People naturally assimilate the cultures of those who they are surrounded by.

        So, if a black person is around white country music or a white person is around black blues music, they will come to enjoy and even identify with that music. Plus, most black Americans are as much if not more Anglo than they are African (not to mention, most whites are multi-ethnic mutts themselves). What percentage of Anglo genetics does one have to have before they should be allowed to play country music? And who is going to enforce this law?

        Furthermore, can those of German or Czech ancestry in Texas be allowed to play country music? Can Jews or Irish in Appalachia be allowed to play it? Who gets to define who is and isn’t white? If country music is to be judged an ethnic property, that property would belong to the Scots-Irish since that is the biggest influence. Why does no one complain about people lacking Scots-Irish ancestry playing country? Anyway, there are probably few if any pure Scots-Irish people left in America which might be a silly notion in the first place as even back in the British Isles the Scots-Irish lacked any single ancestry as they were a border people.

        At one time, country music interested few white people. As Southerners moved to places like California, country music began to be played by white people who lacked Scots-Irish ancestry or even Southern ancestry. This caused country music to become more popular among whites in general. At one time, some argued that country music was the sole possession of Southern culture similar to how some now argue it is the sole possession of whites.

        It seems a pointless argument anyway. This process of cultural diffusion is almost impossible to stop or at least no one yet has figured out how to stop it, besides expulsion or genocide and even those usually fail.

        There is a similar situation with English dialects. I grew up in the Midwest prior to South Carolina, and spent many years in Iowa. Part of Iowa and a small part of a few of the surrounding states.is the origin of Standard American English or General American. Because of migrations to California, just like the Southerners, this particular Midwest dialect became the standard dialect of radio, tv and movies. Ronald Reagan, for example, was born and raised near where I live in Iowa.

        So, can people like I claim sole proprietorial ownership to Standard American English? Stop speaking Standard American English immediately. How dare someone steal my cultural heritage!!!

        I think you get my point, but obviously you see it differently. Each to their own, I guess. The fate of country music isn’t my issue, even as a white person familiar with Southern culture. There are no end to issues one can fight over. One could spend one’s whole life fighting.

        I don’t have it in me to be like that. It sounds tiresome, especially when there is nothing I can do about it. There is no law against black people playing country music or white people playing blues, and there is unlikely ever to be such a law. i certainly hope there is never such a law for that would be the end of everything that America stands for.

  4. Staffan says:

    “There are no end to issues one can fight over. One could spend one’s whole life fighting.

    I don’t have it in me to be like that. ”

    I guess you’re not Scotch-Irish then : )

    • I’m a standard American mutt. My mom’s family did come from Appalachia and half my dad’s family came from the Deep South. I’ve done a ton of research, but I’m not sure I’ve yet come across any Scots-Irish in my ancestry. I certainly didn’t inherit the culture.

      It’s ironic that Midwesterners like Reagan went to California and played cowboys in the movies. Because of the Southern influx into California, Hollywood ended up playing a pivotal role in translating Southwestern/Southern culture into American culture. What’s up with that?

      I’m a liberal-minded libertarian which means I’m for regionalism, even if it means secession. I think regions should maintain their distinctiveness. My mom, even though she was born and raised in central Indiana, had a clear Southern accent in old recordings I’ve hard. She has lost that now. She even became a speech pathologist and part of her job was to teach kids to speak Standard American English.

      I think that is stupid. As I love regional cultures, I love accents. I don’t want my Midwestern dialect forced onto all Americans. What fun is there in that? I’m fine with assimilation if it is freely chosen, but to force it on an entire vast nation like the US seems like a bad idea.

      But I think it is too late for all that. We are on the road toward the Great Assimilation where all Americans will speak the same, have the same music, watch the same tv and movies. All the same. There won’t be any North or South, East or West, no German or Scots-Irish. We will be assimilated like the Borg.

      • Staffan says:

        I believe culture needs some sort of isolation to bloom. This is getting increasingly difficult in today’s world though. The last major genre of popular music was grunge in the late 1990s. Like similar genres it’s characterized by geography and ethnicity, history and probably other distinctive features. These days we are just recycling old ideas.

        But it’s possible that human nature and our tribal tendencies will resist the global capitalist Borg empire and split up in branches again. In Europe the efforts to create a United States of Europe has met with a trend towards nationalism and anti-immigration. I suspect the empire-builders will fail because the are stuck in the Blank Slate idea of human nature. Resistance is not futile! (Yes, I know – nerd alert – but you started it : ))

  5. TruthSpeaks says:

    I chuckle when I hear whites call themselves ‘country’. Once black people make something sound cool, here come the gentrifiers…true white people from the south refer to themselves as ‘southern’ in order to distinguish themselves from the ‘country’ folks: the blacks. So when I hear this ignorant group of whites claim to be ‘country’ I LOL at the thought tha they are saying to the world, “hey y’all I’m POOR & BLACK from the south. Cracks me up every time!!! The Country Music Awards: The Poor Black People Awards! Country Living: Black People Living…just cause they whitewash it doesn’t mean it’s origins DIE.

    Smh…once upon a time in a land called America, ‘country’ meant you were a poor black person from a southern state. My oh my…how time, money & ignorance changes things. Just like ‘rock & roll’ , country music has morphed into a mostly white musical genre…RAP is next. Starts out black ends up white>>>sorta like Queen Cleopatra and the rest of the Hollywood-ized versions of African history. Funny thing THE SLAVES ALWAYS REMAIN BLACK THOUGH.

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