ERIC Number: EJ960470
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Dec
Reference Count: 31
Sustainable School Music for Poor, White, Rural Students
Bates, Vincent C.
Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education, v10 n2 p100-127 Dec 2011
"Poor white trash" is likely the most enduring and degrading in a long line of "stigmatypes"--"stigmatizing boundary terms that simultaneously denote and enact cultural and cognitive divides between in-groups and out-groups"--such as "redneck," "cracker," and "hillbilly." Some people apply these terms in reference to poor or working-class, usually rural (but not always), white Americans, conceived as strange, backwards, criminal, dangerous, lazy, inbred, diseased, dirty, malnourished, vulgar, promiscuous, ignorant, overly sentimental, and feeble-minded. There is also a tendency among upper and middle-class whites to view poor, rural whites as a genetic and cultural threat. Many poor, white, rural students in the United States are subjected to the "poor white trash" stigma. But the stigma also affects rural, working class students, or rural whites whose household income is above the poverty line. As opposed to conceiving "poor-white-rural" people as a distinct group, it is more helpful, and accurate, to view "poor-white-rural" as a complex intersection of dimensions between class, race, and/or geographical locations. In other words, the stigma that confounds white privilege with poverty and rurality extends well beyond a single demographic. In this article, the author explores, through the introspective lens of his own social-cultural-musical experiences in and out of rural schools, the potential oppression of poor, white, rural school music students in the United States. In the first section, he provides an overview of his family's home and school musical experiences, drawing attention to the clear distinction between the practices, aims, and musical outcomes of these two contexts. In the second section, he interrogates the "common sense" belief that traditional school music practices in the United States are "good for" children in the sense of fostering social mobility. His personal reflections and experiences as a teen-ager serve as an illustration in this regard. In the third and final section, he explores some ideas for how school music could be transformed in ways that might be more applicable, useful, and fair to poor, white, rural students.
Descriptors: Rural Schools, Music Education, Music, Music Activities, Poverty, Economically Disadvantaged, Low Income Groups, Family Characteristics, Disadvantaged Environment, Stereotypes, Social Mobility, Early Experience, Labeling (of Persons), Sustainability, White Students, Disadvantaged Schools, Change Strategies, Phenomenology
MayDay Group. Brandon University School of Music, 270 18th Street, Brandon, Manitoba R7A 6A9, Canada. Tel: 204-571-8990; Fax: 204-727-7318; Web site: http://act.maydaygroup.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States