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To hope all things: A relational response to racism in music education

Susan Quindag1*
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1 School of Education, Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia, USA
Submitted: 4 July 2023 | Accepted: 10 November 2023 | Published: 12 January 2024
© 2024 by the Author(s). This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution -Noncommercial 4.0 International License (CC-by the license) ( )

Throughout the United States, critical race theory (CRT) has been integrated and implemented in various school districts and higher education institutions to address and combat racism. As a variant theory of Marxism and critical theory, CRT, however, has many problems. One such problem is that it claims that racism is systemic in society and that society must be fundamentally changed or overthrown through activism. However, a systemic change alone will not combat racism because it is fundamentally a relational/spiritual problem and, therefore, should be addressed by a relational response. This paper explores the research question: What is a relational response to racism? To do so, I describe critical theory’s historical and theoretical roots and why it is inadequate to address racism. Then, I define the relational mindset as “the beliefs that orient us to understand the world through profound connectedness for growth beyond knowledge and action beyond technique” and expound on the words “connectedness,” “growth,” and “action.” To demonstrate a practical application of the relational mindset in music education, I present three indicators to align the objectives of a lesson plan – communication, empathy, and regard. I then discuss the application of the relational mindset to a music lesson on a spiritual sung by the Gullahs, “The Welcome Table.” I conclude the paper with questions to evaluate the veracity of other theories with the relational mindset and a final encouragement for educators when thinking about racism.

Critical Theory
Relational Mindset
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Conflict of interest
The author has no conflicts of interest to declare.
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Arts & Communication, Electronic ISSN: 2972-4090 Published by AccScience Publishing