University of Iowa School of Music 2021-2022 Magazine
ALUMNI PERSPECTIVE CHRISTIAN LAMPKIN ’21
MA in Flute Performance, MA in Music Education K-12 Instrumental
A s a queer Black Mexican German American, the qualities of equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB) are a recurring theme throughout my life. And as an educator, I consider it my duty to promote mutual understanding and acceptance between social groups to foster global citizenship. There’s been an alarming history of oppression of social groups in Western Classical music, but more of these marginalized musicians are finally entering the rooms where decisions are made. Today, we need to consider the extent to which our traditional practices foster the idea of belonging. For example, how does a student who identifies as non-binary feel about binary clothing requirements for concert dress in a high school music program? Do current ensemble practices cater to the belonging and inclusion of this student? Our society is on the precipice of seeing these concepts change everything we’ve previously associated with music. As musicians, we need to be curious about change, be ready to embrace the unknown, and invite societal challenges to test our levels of creativity and commitment to our passion.
I’m fortunate to teach at South Carolina State University, which is a historically Black university (HBCU). I mentor young Black musicians, and we spend time discussing the challenges of what we call “arenas” of predominately white environments. I make every effort to help these students establish communication skills that allow them to operate in environments lacking diversity in a professional manner. Understanding the white perspective and how they must navigate the waters of non-diverse career environments is integral to how we promote Black excellence. Any conversation regarding EDIB will and should have a significant level of discomfort for many (if not all) people participating in it. In order to move forward in society, however, these discussions must happen. I’ve found that many people who try to discuss EDIB don’t consult their own unconscious bias before they try to rectify social justice issues. Regardless of our race or gender, the act of “self-work” or confronting the ways our upbringings affect our perspectives on all aspects of life is an integral step.
I’m happy to see the appearance of more DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) officers in institutional settings who can provide a common ground for diverse students and faculty. To establish change, creating belonging for students requires all hands on deck.
– Christian Lampkin
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