xenxan asked: Hey, for that "Beethoven can't be black since he's German" debate, someone actually has proof about it. It has some sources too if you're interested. whitepeoplestealingculture(.) tumblr (.) com/post/96652964321/im-confused-about-what-beethoven-was-doing-in-the



I’ve already posted all of those sources on multiple occasions.

This isn’t about “proof”; how we would racially classify someone who’s been dead for centuries isn’t something that can be proven or disproven. What this is actually about is white supremacy and people like this person who say stuff like “can poc stop trying to take credit for the achievements of white people”.

I mean, if anyone had any doubts left on why an American blogger writes about European art and history, it’s that right there. White Americans have been taught that they are entitled to claim European cultural accomplishments of the past, merely by virtue of being born white. It’s very connected to a quote that struck me from this article:

The myth of the monochrome Middle Ages, in which the medieval is originary, pure, and white, transcends geographical and temporal boundaries. It is attached, through supposed biological descent, to white bodies, wherever and whenever they go, even into the apparently non-corporeal digital realms of fan-forums, television and video-games.

I have multiple messages about Beethoven right now, from people asking me to confirm one way or the other what race Beethoven would be considered today. I believe he would be considered mixed-race. That is definitely what people who knew him personally have said in primary documents that survive. But once again, this isn’t something that is subject to words like “proof”:


A last note: “German” is a nationality, not a race. The sheer amount of times that I have had to explain to people that every single human being living inside a political border isn’t going to be the same race should be shocking, but sadly, it’s probably not.

For folks interested in musicians and composers of color in European history, check out the “Music" tag.

This is literally the same exact “debate” issue as the one that I just posted.

I’m not making any claims about Beethoven’s race. What I AM doing is showing various evidence and letting people decide for themselves, and demonstrating how this is important to us because of the racism that exists today in our culture.

There’s the same conflation of nationality and race (as if “German” or “Greek” is synonymous with “white”), the same ideas about races claiming the cultural achievements of individuals, and the same wrongheaded notion that anything about this can be “proven”.

In these cases, history is a mirror that everyone is elbowing and jostling in front of, trying to see themselves. Do I even need to say who’s been trying to make sure it only reflects a white face?