Professor Punished For Not Seeing Racism In Music Theory, Sues University

Gabriel Hays | February 15, 2022
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One Texas professor is suing his employer after it allegedly punished him for disagreeing with the trendy idea that music theory is a construct of white supremacy. Yep, now we can’t even listen to classical music without being accused of promoting wicked colonization and genocide.

What else is new?

Still the fact that University of North Texas professor Timothy Jackson couldn’t even argue against claims that the study of music theory is racist is very concerning.

It was concerning enough for Jackson to file a lawsuit against the University of North Texas claiming that the school had removed him from its academic journal he co-founded and also stopped funding to both the journal and a music program he co-founded as well.

According to, Professor Jackson’s dispute with the university started after he launched a panel to refute the claims of one black professor who complained that music theory is inherently “white.” 

The outlet wrote, “The university took action against Jackson after he held a symposium that promoted differing opinions on a speech by Hunter College of the City University of New York professor Philip Ewell entitled ‘Music Theory’s White Racial Frame.’”

Basically, Ewell’s speech was a complaint on the whiteness of music theory, part of which was a gripe about how so many music theory scholars and professors are white. 

That this is something contemptible and wrong is provocative and probably debatable. One would think that Jackson would be encouraged by his school to offer a counterargument to these points, but of course not in our race-obsessed society. 

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After Ewell published his speech, “Jackson planned to host a symposium with the Journal of Schenkerian Studies that he co-founded at UNT and called on members of the Society for Music to write papers responding to the paper,” reported. The outlet also stated, that the papers published in response to Ewell argued both for and against his complaints. 

That doesn’t sound too extreme.

Jackson also composed his own letter responding to Ewell’s claims, arguing against that idea that music theory is racist towards non-whites. One of his assertions was that it just reflects a lack of interest in classical music on the part of African Americans, at least compared to white people. 

He claimed that both African American men and women don’t “grow up in homes where classical music is profoundly valued, and therefore they lack the necessary background.”

That was enough to set off fellow faculty members and grad students who were more appreciative of Ewell’s point. According to the outlet, “at least 18 UNT faculty members and several grad students,” complained to the school. 

According to Jackson’s lawsuit, the university launched a “formal investigation” into his academic journal and the UNT press which published several of his symposium’s letters. 

Though before Jackson was even given his chance to respond to the investigation’s findings, his lawsuit alleged “he had been removed from the journal and that university funding for the journal and Center for Schenkerian Studies was being halted.”

His lawsuit has requested that UNT give “a declaration from the school that his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated, a request to prevent the Board of Regents from taking action against him, and a request for damages.”

Though UNT has responded calling Jackson’s allegations “baseless.”


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