Oberlin Conservatory issues apology after promoting BHM event with all-white performers

Despite the apology, some social media users were not allowing the school to get away with its mistake so easily

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The Oberlin Conservatory of Music made a senseless error while attempting to celebrate Black History Month.

The private school at Oberlin College recently released an apology to its Facebook page for promoting a Black History Month event that only featured white performers. The apology mentions the school’s dedication to diversity.

“On Sunday, February 28th, we posted a flier on social media to promote the last event in our month-long Black History Month celebration. While the program showcased Black composers, the flier featured only photos of the five white performers.

We acknowledge wholeheartedly that this was problematic, and we accept and agree with the many critiques we have received in response,” read the Facebook post.

Statement about final Black History Month concert flier On Sunday February 28th, we posted a flier on social media to…

Posted by Oberlin Conservatory on Sunday, February 28, 2021

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It continued, “As President Ambar wrote in her Declaration of the Presidential Initiative on Racial Equity and Diversity, This commission will work to evaluate our current programming, look broadly across our curriculum in both the College and Conservatory, review our hiring practices, and examine divisional and departmental climates to identify areas for mission-centeredness and policies/practices that elevate our long-standing commitment to equity.”

The school is the oldest continually operating conservatory in the country and located in Oberlin, Ohio.

Some of its notable Black graduates are composer and musician Nkeiru Okoye, who has worked on projects such as Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed That Line to Freedom and composer George Theophilus Walker, who won a Pulitzer Prize for Music for his work, Lilacs.

Despite the apology, some social media users were not allowing the school to get away with its mistake so easily. One user commented on the post, saying:

“You say that it was a mistake to post this event ‘out of context,’ which implies that this image would be considered acceptable in some other context. Wrong. There is no context – no space/time continuum – in which this image would have been okay and I don’t care what sort of mission statement on inclusion that someone wrote a year ago…”

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Back in September, the school committed itself to increase racial equity and belonging. It promised to make changes in six areas “curriculum and pedagogy; programming, repertoire, and performance; admissions and auditions; personnel; climate; and student success,” per The Oberlin Review.

But despite the statement, just over 5 % of the Oberlin College student body identifies as Black. 

Photo: Oberlin Conservatory of Music

As recently reported by theGrio, a UCLA student was recently dismissed from sports teams after several disturbing accounts of him allegedly making racist and sexist comments have surfaced.

Cross country and track and field teams member Chris Weiland has been dismissed from the teams for the comments that surfaced on an Instagram account. According to the Los Angeles Times, the teams’ director issued a statement that Weiland had been dismissed. Weiland had previously been suspended and then reinstated before the video was posted to the Instagram account ‘ucla_is_racist.’

“In January, I decided to reinstate him to the team. However, after team members and the athletic community expressed concern, it became clear that his continued involvement with the team is incompatible with the culture of mutual support and respect we’re fostering,” wrote Coach Avery Anderson in a statement posted to the team’s Twitter.

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