A Discordant Note: Symphony’s PC push punishes Cobb students
August 18, 2012 11:30 PM | 4457 views | 28 28 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has sidelined two Cobb high school choruses for their lack of ‘diversity.’ <br>Special photo
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has sidelined two Cobb high school choruses for their lack of ‘diversity.’
Special photo
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Who knew that the most important qualification for performing onstage with The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra was not one’s musical expertise, but the color of one’s skin?

Who knew that the defining characteristic of its performances was not the sound it produces, but the complexions of those who grace its stage?

Indeed, who knew that those who run the Orchestra were so enslaved by political correctness?

The ASO hit a discordant note when it was learned last week that it had given the hook, so to speak, to the student choruses at two of Cobb’s finest high schools, Lassiter and Walton, which have regularly performed with the Symphony in recent years.

The pink slip came not because they couldn’t sing well enough and not because they couldn’t handle the material, but because of their complexions. Or in other words, because they were too pale. The student bodies at the two schools are each more than 75 percent white, a fact no doubt reflected in the makeup of the two choruses as well. The two public schools do not pick and choose who attends, but offer education to one and all. Their student bodies, for better or worse (definitely worse, in the eyes of the ASO), are reflective of the neighborhoods they serve.

The two choruses had performed with the Orchestra for the past four years but announced on Monday to students that the ASO had decided to “go in another direction.”

Lassiter Choral Director Brian Williams and Walton Choral Director Dr. Jana Williams said they’d been told by Symphony officials that it was going to invite choruses from other schools instead. Why? Because the other choruses that were to be invited were “more diverse,” the Cobb officials said.

That’s not how the ASO played it for public consumption, though. Vice President Charlie Wade said there are other top-notch choruses that deserve the opportunity to sing with the symphony.

Featured this coming holiday season will be the chorus from majority-minority Grady High School in Atlanta, he said. We think the Symphony is right to showcase young talent from the metro area, and to “share the wealth” in terms of who it allows to perform on it stage. But making such decisions based on a real or imaginary “color line” is shameful. We wonder how members of the Grady chorus must feel to know that even though they are highly talented, a main reason for their selection — perhaps the main reason — was not their ability, but their color?

The ASO offered a face-saving invitation of questionable sincerity, offering to let a few of the students from the two Cobb choruses sing as usual, but adding there would not be enough space onstage for both full choruses and Grady.

To their credit, the two schools told the ASO that it was everybody or nobody.

The bottom line? The ASO apparently felt its patrons were offended by the sight of so many white singers at past performances. We wonder if it is making similar purges of its string section, horn section, percussionists, etc.

So it looks like the ASO holiday concerts will come off without the participation of the choruses from Lassiter and Walton. Those who run the ASO, it seems, judge its singers by the color of their skin, not by the quality of their voices. And as far as we’ve ever heard, one’s ability to sing is in no way connected to one’s pigmentation.

We don’t think that’s quite the dream that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had in mind.

Comments
(28)
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WoodstockTom
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August 21, 2012
What an outrageous decision. If it was made for the reasons cited, it is reverse discrimination, pure and simple. For the ASO to decide to rotate chorus appearances to give more schools a chance to appear would be one thing. To ban a chorus because of the racial makeup of its members is unforgivable.
Annette Hughes
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August 20, 2012
Can any of you stand by your comments if you didn't use an alias? I'm disappointed by some of these comments.
The Truth
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August 20, 2012
These things always turn into a white black issue. Here is the truth of what we should be striving for.(I'm white btw) What we should be looking for this that the decision was not made based on the racial make up. Or even if it was Lassiter and Walton should have been told that they had their turn and the ASO wanted to allow other schools the opportunity. I think we can all agree if Grady had been performing for several years and the statment was made that we need to find a school with a different make up, that there would have been outrage as well. So please stop hoisting the White and Black flags and try to look at whats fair and how the ASO in the political correctness forgot to handle this in a dimplomatic and frankly smart way.
STOP THIS BS
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August 20, 2012
ALL I HAVE TO SAY IS.LASSITER AND WALTON SCHOOL ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO COULD SING. LET ANOTHER SCHOOL HAVE A CHANCE ALSO. IT IS ABOUT TIME THE ASO OPEN THEIR EYES.
SG68
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August 20, 2012
@ The Truth

OMG!!! I finally agree with you on something!! The problem was all in the way it was handled or more accurately mishandled.

I think this may mean that the Mayans are right and the world is going to end on Devember 21, 2012!!
Mikeisgus
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August 20, 2012
So when it comes time to buy tickets to the symphony, will the patrons be turned away because of their skin color? I suspect NOT.
Since of entitlement
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August 20, 2012
TO: THE WRITER

The ATLANTA Symphony is for ALL of Atlanta and the world to enjoy. Overzealous since of ENTITLEMENT after the schools have already performed there be ONE of FIVE YEARS ago is point enuff. So which METRO AREA HIGH SCHOOL HAS in the LAST ONE or FIVE YEARS.

Your peice sounds VERY CONFEDERATE OF YOU ohh wait, thats just my opinion.
Old Dad
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August 19, 2012
Is this article supposed to be news or opinion?
Dyna Chrome
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August 19, 2012
Us transgendered disabled lesbian dwarf nuns demand a place in the ASO!
Dyna Chrome
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August 19, 2012
Tell the ASO a-holes that their race card is expired. I guess they are afraid the jesse and al show will swoop down on them. I demand to see the racial and sexual breakdown of the ASO , including, but not limited to African, Latino, Eskimo,Indian,Aboriginal, transgendered,lesbian,homosexual,dwarves,disabled,alcoholic,drug addicts,shoe fetishists,panty sniffers,size challenged,illegal immigrants, etc., etc.
anonymous
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August 20, 2012
So, it is only a race card when non whites don't get selected. I think this writer played the race card as well. This slot is not a given and you have to deal with it. There are plenty of excellent groups around Atlanta. Why the big deal? Go see the more diverse groups and then have your say if they are better. Otherwise, stop acting like it is a right to be chosen!! Thank God for the minority of southern enlightened whites-oh I bet they were not born from the south and maybe grew up with other high achieving black kids so they know better!!
Scott b
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August 19, 2012
I wonder how the philanthropists feel about this and I wonder when the symphony itself will start filling the chairs with more diversity.
anonymous
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August 20, 2012
Well, I definately know I will bring my African American kids. Why are people so fearful of change? The south really needs mental health assistance!!
Concerned Citizen
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August 19, 2012
Is there any competition between the schools in question, or is it simply a matter of seeking diversity? Is there some kind of rotation schedule so that all area schools are given the opportunity to perform? Obviously, the audience wants to hear the very best that can be offered.
anonymous
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August 20, 2012
Why is there any question about the skills of the black school. Did you post a blog question this all white group? Stop thinking that should be a question. If you need to do so, then you are not color-bilnd!
Samson Wright
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August 19, 2012
Pogo was right! We have seen the enemy and he is us!
Liberalismisamentaldisorder
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August 19, 2012
This form of polical correctness is a symptom of the mental illness that is liberalism.

I'll vote with my wallet and not attend any event the ASO is involved with.
anonymous
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August 20, 2012
This form of racism is a form of mental illness. It is not a right to be a part of this organization. It is a priviledge and that priviledge is not colored "white'!! Read Charles Murray's (yes, the author that wrote the infamous and ill quoted 'by racist white folks' Bell Curve) "Coming Apart: The State of White America" It examines whites need to project their craziness (self esteem issues thus the need to project greatness and fake inferiority of others) on other groups, especially blacks.

Gravity
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August 19, 2012
MDJ has it wrong: this business of excluding whites in the name of diversity is exactly what MLK had in mind. The "content of character" verbiage on which we are all supposed to dote every January was, and is, a pious fraud.

I have it on good authority that Joseph Hayden himself thinks the Atlanta Symphony couldn't tell a high C from a low D anyway.
anonymous
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August 20, 2012
Please stop quoting only this one little phrase of MLK's speech. In that same speech he also said that white america has written a blank check to blacks and now is the time to cash it in. He did numerous speeched on the hatred of whites against blacks. But for political correctness (you folks love to use those terms!!!) only the fuzzy feel good phrases were chosen.

I mean I know I would not want to be the white kid in the class really learning about the ignorance that comes from the majority posters on this blog that are upset because white kids were not chosen to sing? OMG non pale folks are going to sing right along with the prestigious Atlanta Symphony Orchestra? Did you question why two schools were repeatedly chosen when we have 159 counties full of great school chorus that represent the "actual" America and not some lily white imaginary land?
In fact
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August 19, 2012
Whine all you want, claim reverse discrimination...interesting how the MDJ editorial staff plays the same cards they decry when anyone they deem as "liberal" alleges racial bias.

Let's face it though, the students of Grady's chorus are I am certain more representative of what "is" Atlanta...as locals will admit but without question what those around the rest of the country would view as representative of Atlanta.

In fact, one need only look at the demographics of both Cobb County schools in question, Walton & Lassiter, and recognize that the vast majority of the students are not native Georgians but rather transplants who've followed one or both parents to Atlanta as part of the arc of their careers, many will stay permanently any many others will move to the next location their careers will take them.

Now, this is neither to detract or punish the hard-working students of either Lassiter or Walton choral groups but let's also acknowledge that both choirs more closely resemble the Mormon Tabernacle Choir than Atlanta, a city noted internationally for its deep gospel roots and civil rights movement traditions.
anonymous
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August 20, 2012
OMG, a sane person. God bless you? I was beginning to feel like only KKK reads this. You redeemed the negative thought. : )
Born in... uhhh
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August 20, 2012
My kid goes to one of those schools. He was born and raised in Georgia. If he wasn't, what does that even mean?
Watcher...
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August 19, 2012
Why is the MDJ surprised at the diversity requirement of the ASO?
run amok
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August 19, 2012
Just another example of political correctness or possibly, bigotry, run amok. Disgusting.
CobbGuy
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August 19, 2012
I will never attend an ASO function again. These people have set a new higher standard for being idiots. Should the choirs go out and recruit members who do not attend the school just to "look right"? Are we listening to voice and presentation or are we using a color wheel to find success? Absurd, the schools and all choir members are due an apology if this happened.....
Just Sayin'........
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August 18, 2012
The largest sponsers of the ASO are Delta, Coca-Cola, GE Capital and Turner Broadcasting. Please let them know how yuou feel about the ASO's decision making process. BTW...the last time I went to the ASO, my fellow patrons were not a very diverse crowd either.....just sayin'
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