Was Beethoven Black?

Paideia: Music Is a Higher Revelation

Don’t worry, Ludwig–Schroeder from “Peanuts” will always love you.

How crazy is our current era of history going to get before it simmers–or melts–down?

A German pop singer, born in Tunisia, has called upon the mayor of Vienna to dig up Ludwig Von Beethoven to subject his remains (buried in 1827) to a “racial DNA test” (https://www.classicfm.com/composers/beethoven/roberto-blanco-wants-body-exhumed-racial-dna-test/). Uh, it’s to see if he was really… black.

Well, everything is “race” today, isn’t it? Who’s going to be next on the exhumation parade? When will they get around to insisting that Mozart, Michelangelo, Walt Disney, and Dwight D. Eisenhower were black, too? People are going to have to start getting cremated if they want to be allowed to rest in peace.

Okay–what if it turns out that Beethoven had some African blood in his ancestry? Like, so what? Peter Ustinov is descended from a black emperor of Ethiopia, but he’s never made a big deal of it. Again, so what?

Was Napoleon Chinese? Dig him up and check! Where does it stop? Or we could put the shoe on the other foot: was Louis Armstrong really white? Break out the shovels!

As the late Vince Lombardi would certainly have said, if he was really black, “Ethnicity isn’t everything. It’s the only thing!”

13 comments on “Was Beethoven Black?

  1. If you go back a few hundred years, in anyone’s history, there’s a reasonable chance that almost anyone may have ancestry from any number of people groups. If you met me face to face you would think Caucasian, but you’d be only partly right, because there is Asian blood in my family, just a few generations back. I may have inherited some genetic traits that are a bit different from the Northern European traits which make up the remainder on my traceable ancestry, but it’s hardly a life changing thing.

    If you trace some of my British Isles ancestors back, it turns out that they came from Italy. Some of my Scandinavian ancestors were likely Western Slavic, if you go back a few hundred years. While it’s all interesting, I don’t feel that it has any major influence on my life, my character or my creativity.

    1. Truthfully, I don’t care what ethnicity Beethoven was. I like him for his music. Ever hear Beethoven’s 3rd? It’s truly majestic.

    2. If we go back far enough we’re all related, which makes the whole race thing ridiculous. We’re all a part of the human race, we just have different ethnicities.

      Most of many ancestry is European. So far I’ve been able to trace my heritage back to Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Scotland, Brittan, and Germany. I suspect there’s a little Native American in there somewhere, but I haven’t been able to confirm it.

    3. That’s the thing, we are all the same. People from the most diverse backgrounds can produce offspring. We are all of the same kind, mankind. We are humans. The narrative of how the earth’s population spread is far from cast in stone. We have DNA as a tool to track the dispersion of mankind throughout the earth, but chances are we will never know the whole story, until the restitution of all things.

  2. Didn’t some genealogists or anthropologists once trace everyone’s heritage back to a single couple in Mesopotamia or somewhere? Like maybe the Garden of Eden, but you’re not allowed to talk about that.

Leave a Reply