The National Association for Music Education (NAfME), formerly known as the Music Educators National Conference or MENC, has come to an interesting crossroad. As mentioned in Keryl McCord’s article titled Why We Must Have Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in the Arts: A Response to the National Association for Music Education, she provided personal accounts of NAfME’s (former) CEO, Michael Butera’s, actions in a meeting she attended. To those of you who haven’t already read or become familiar with McCord’s article and its content, take a couple of minutes to do so. Now, assuming that you have read it, it’s at the very least interesting, right?
For the sake of not regurgitating McCord’s article word for word like almost everyone in every other social media outlet has done, I have chosen to temporarily move beyond the “shock and awe” surrounding Butera and cut to the chase. Yes, as depicted by McCord, Butera’s alleged comments and actions were at their best horrid, ridiculous, awful, racist, and down right inappropriate. However. I find it even more ridiculous that many individuals in our profession have knowingly endorsed and elevated Butera and others like him into positions of great influence without considering their core values and how they align with the mission and purpose of their organizations and constituents. Butera’s actions are just a slither of a greater whole of racism and unethical tactics that reside in the music education profession and other fields, many of which that are hidden from plain view. But as my grandmother used to say, “That rooster has come home to roost and now everyone is all of a sudden up in arms.” Continue reading