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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000849.txt from 2003/06

From: "Patricia A. Smith" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Political postings - ON topic?
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 00:52:07 -0400

Anne Bell wrote:

> I've seen offensive titles on several sheet music archive sites and they
>make me uncomfortable. HOWEVER, I believe they should continue to be made
>available. Some now considered offensive were actually written by black
>composers, but more than that I don't feel we should be revising history.
>Popular culture both reflects, and magnifies over time, things that we
>might prefer not to see. My discomfort is a small price to pay for a
>realistic historical picture of one of the most shameful eras in US history.
> I'm less certain (though someone will probably have more information)
>that "le petit negre" was offensive in nature. My french doesn't extend to
>connotations of word choice...
Anne, having performed that piece, and checked my French dictionary, I
do not believe there is such a correlation between the French word
"negre" with its simple meaning of "black" and the racial slur we
Americans are all too familiar with. OTOH, if there was any insult
intended, it could be more subtle, and on the line of cultural
perception of a particular group of people by the composer.

That said, it is a marvelous piece of music, and the group I performed
it with simply shortened the title in our announcments, etc., to "le
petit" in order to avoid controversy.

Patricia Smith

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