Halloween horror

Now that the Great Government Shutdown of 2013 has ended, all eyes are on the heroic struggle to breathe life into the bureaucratic beast known as Obamacare.

The patient remains unresponsive, but technical wizards hired by the same government that brought you “Cash For Clunkers” are confident that by Thanksgiving 2013 the United States of America will have actually created a working website, just like the one at Duck Commander and Abe’s BBQ in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Then, all that remains is coaxing the Obamacare website into communicating with other websites designed to verify your income, lose your identity and generate nuclear launch codes.

Finally … Shazaam! Lucky consumers will be able to see exactly what kind of insurance they are allowed to buy and what it will cost. Unless they can't.

Once the riots are over, Americans will gather at local emergency rooms, sing “Oh, Happy Day” and rush home, lock the doors and pray they never get sick.

For my money, that glorious day can’t come soon enough. It’s time to quit hollering about health insurance and start dealing with more serious problems, like eliminating musical racism on American college campuses.

What? You weren’t aware this was a crisis? Consider this …

While the feds were busy calculating your new insurance deductible, things were spookier than usual at Hampshire Halloween, the official fall bash sponsored by Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass. In a brutal reminder that the spirit of Jim Crow is alive and well, a group of African-American classical musicians was told it could not perform at Hampshire Halloween as promised (and contracted).

Why? Because when the group’s appearance was announced, enraged students (and non-student haters) expressed outrage that the school would allow a group of African-American musicians to enter the campus and perform classical music written by insensitive — not to mention dead — honkies, including Handel, Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms.

Noting that such music is typically played by majority-Caucasian orchestras, protesters said choosing an African-American group to perform music associated with "crackers" represented “cultural appropriation.”

Whatever that is.

In canceling the performance, the school’s Hype Committee, which runs the event, issued a statement saying they meant no disrespect to the black performers. Right.

A member of the black orchestra, a dude named Moses, said, “I feel like were were demonized. It was just absolutely a disgusting experience.”

Amazed? Shocked? Thought we were past that?

Apparently not. With one big exception. The story told here is true except for … skin color. The band that got canceled was an all-white group called Shokazoba. They play something called Afrobeat music. Hype Committee members must have figured that since white people can’t jump, they can’t boogie, either.

Hampshire College spokesperson Elaine Thomas said some students were concerned that letting white kids play Afrobeat music did not show the proper respect for “marginalized cultures.”

“Marginalized cultures?” Huh? Afrobeat music originated in Nigeria, Africa, in the 1960s. Afrobeat is as African as African gets. How can non-Africans playing African music “marginalize” African culture?

I wonder if Hampshire College has notified the 1.03 billion residents of Africa that theirs is a marginalized culture. I hope not. And I’d hate for native Africans at Hampshire College to think they weren’t as important as everyone else. That is, if any "marginalized" African students can pay the tab at a college where 2013-14 tuition, room and board tops $57,000.

Shokazoba was once an above-average white band. Now the group is devastated. Let's hope they don't feel marginalized. On the bright side, they could avoid this problem in the future by playing exclusively for blind audiences.

That may be the only way members of Shokazoba could be certain that listeners were concentrating on the quality of their sound, not the color of their skin.

(Send your email comments to: alexmmcrae@gmail.com)

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