Elsewhere online
May 13, 2016

Head of Music-Education Group Exits Over Race-Tinged Remarks

A national association of music teachers said Wednesday that it has parted ways with its chief executive after he reportedly told a forum on diversity in the arts that Latinos and African-Americans “lack the keyboard skills” to succeed in the field, the Associated Press reports.

The remarks last month by Michael Butera of the National Association for Music Education, which represents more than 60,000 teachers, caused an uproar after they were cited in a blog post by another participant at the Washington event sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts. Other attendees said Mr. Butera remarked on minorities’ keyboard skills and on understanding of music theory in discussing the lack of diversity in music education.

Mr. Butera said on Facebook last week that “the reporting of these comments was a deeply inaccurate portrayal of the dialogue which took place that day.” The association’s new CEO, Michael Blakeslee, said the decision on Mr. Butera’s departure was mutual and that the former leader told the organization he had no racist intent and was addressing a lack of resources available to young minorities that hinders their musical development relative to white peers.