Cultural Appropriation and the Minstrel Show

I find it very ironic that during the Civil War, confederate soldiers would sing songs about black people and their beautiful mulatto girlfriends, while fighting to keep the very institution of slavery. What did then-slaves think about this phenomenon? I would have laughed and shook my head. It’s the same thing when it comes to how country music became what it is today. Instruments we associate with country, like the fiddle, banjo, harmonica, etc. were originally used in black folk music. And popular country singers covered songs musicians used to perform trying to imitate a black person. This is crazy ridiculous to think about — a music genre stereotypically classified as ‘white people music’ was the original ‘black people music’. It doesn’t really make sense to me. Maybe they liked the way it sounded, or wanted to capture a perceived sense of a carefree fun-spirit they thought blacks harbored. What’s even more weird to think about, is African-Americans would also dress in blackface to perform these songs. Maybe it was perceived differently back then, but in today’s world, it looks like they were only perpetuating discrimination and highlighting ‘us vs. them’ factors. I can’t imagine that minstrel shows were the only way a black man could make a living. It just seems so vulgar now, and so ‘out there’ that’s it’s a little hard to wrap my head around.


Like, what even is this?

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