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

CEDAR RAPIDS – Music lecturers on the Cedar Rapids Group Faculty District are reviewing their curriculum to rid it of any traditionally racist track 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 totally different views and cultures, stated John Rice of Cedar Rapids Colleges. government director of educating and studying.

Beth Davies, Head of Kindergarten to Grade 12 Music Content material at Cedar Rapids Colleges 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 resulting from “racist roots.”

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

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

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


A guidelines was offered to music lecturers to assist them select culturally applicable music, Davies stated.

Lecturers ought to take a look at the title and ensure it doesn’t use language that makes enjoyable of a gaggle of individuals or a tradition, resembling a track she has encountered known as “Taco Rocko”.

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

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

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

Lecturers ought to goal to incorporate music by composers of coloration, songwriters or songwriters who’re a part of the LGBTQ (lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, trans, and queer) group that lecturers “may not essentially come throughout. dominated by white males ”. Davies stated.

Skilled studying periods are deliberate for music lecturers, and the district will “deepen” this system this summer season to arrange for the 2021-2022 educational 12 months, Superintendent Noreen Bush stated.

“We’re actually happy with the work that has already been completed and are taking note of an inclusive agenda, however we all know now we have an extended solution to go,” stated Bush.


The district may also work with group members and historians, in addition to music consultants from Mount Mercy College, Coe School 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 frequently works to create a culturally applicable program for the district.

The music curriculum is only one instance of the themes the district is reviewing to deal with fairness and inclusion.

Lecturers in Superior Placement courses, the place the curriculum is dictated by the School 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 educate one thing,” stated Neilly. “I believe lecturers perceive very well once they educate one perspective, it silences one other, and that is an actual hurt for teenagers.”

Feedback: (319) 398-8411; [email protected]

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