Race was invented by liberals

A conservative review of Kenan Malik’s Not So Black and White by Sohrab Amarhi in Unherd:

A little more than a year ago, I was sharing a boozy dinner with a prominent conservative pundit when the conversation turned to matters racial. Reflecting on the unrest that had roiled America in the summer of 2020, my companion looked beyond the immediate controversies to venture what he saw as the “real problem”.

White people, he said, have been “too polite” to state obvious racial truths. Like the superiority of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven over all other musical forms and practices. There is no equality between these glories — white glories — and the simplistic rhythms and disconsonant noises that prevail among other peoples (save for East Asians, he granted, who have admirably made Western classical music their own).

I was repulsed. Not, mind you, because I’m any sort of an aesthetic relativist. While liberality demands that we approach each artistic tradition on its own terms, respecting its inner integrity, there finally are objective standards; and by any measure, the Mass in B Minor leaves the drone of the didgeridoo in the Australasian dust. No, what got to me was the weird racialisation of classical music: the idea that Bach & co. embody the achievements not of Christian or even European civilisation, but of the white race, and that this racial “reality” is supposed to bear (unspecified) political consequences.

Race chauvinism is an all too typical “meme” these days, part of a global resurgence of particularism. Ever since the collapse of the Eastern Bloc shuttered the utopian horizon of socialism, questions of belonging and identity have shoved their way back to centre stage, usually at the expense of the more universalist aspirations that used to animate the modern world.

More here.