I am very disappointed in the article written by Jasmine Moore called Should we “Look Away?” but I reserve to myself any offense to it. . I am very sorry I missed the performance at Tehachapi High School, hearing “Dixie” again would have made filled my heart with pride. Thousand of popular songs were performed at one time or another in minstrel acts so why, Ms. Moore are you picking on just “Dixie”? Since I am a modern product of this country I have never seen it performed in a minstrel show, I only know it performed as a march or choir piece, and as I am Southern born and raised it is a part of my culture and heritage and I am perplexed when I hear people are offended by a very nice piece of music. It’s probably a good idea our forefathers didn’t include in the U.S. Constitution protections against sensitivities to personal offense or we wouldn't have any American culture at all.
Ms Moore’s words do show an intolerance and ignorance of truth and her facts are wrong. The music and song and the many variations of it have been played and performed for over a century and a half by white and black and mixed groups of races up until the early mid 20th Century. In fact the piece just celebrated its 150th birthday on April 4th. Mr. Emmett wasn't born until 1815 and could not have made comments on the song in March of 1806.
The popular version of the song "Dixie” has no sinister meaning. Have you, Ms Moore, read the lyrics to the Battle Hymn of the Republic, a song performed by religious groups, schools, at public events of all types? It is not a Christian religious song, it was not meant to be, it was written as a poem by a Unitarian humanist, Julia Ward Howe, as a call to arms to kill and exterminate southern people during the Civil War, but I am not offended when I hear it. Do you know the story behind the song "John Brown's Body?" It was originally about a sergeant named John Brown of the 2nd Infantry Battalion of the Massachusetts militia during the Civil War and was used by the unit to poke fun at this funny little Scotsman. When abolitionist heard the tune, they immediately used it to promote the martyred John Brown of the same name, who murdered innocent people and attempted to start a race war by committing treason against his country, but I am not offended when I hear it. Abraham Lincoln, liked the song Dixie, and it is reported he accepted it as a national tune to be used by both sides of the secession issue. In fact Union troops played it as much as the Confederate troops. Ms Moore’s opinion shows the pitiful failure of the current educational system in California and the United States.
I am one of the public and a tax payer, I do not need, I do not expect, or nor do I have the right to demand an apology from Tehachapi High School because of an individual’s offense to the performance of a popular historic American song. The freedom of speech gives us all a voice and freedom from fear of censorship. Let freedom sing.