It was a masterstroke by the Library of Congress, and current Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, the first woman and the first Black person in the role: Educate the public about the large collection of historic flutes at the Library of Congress, and its role in preserving not just books but objects, by inviting Lizzo to play some of the instruments. And it worked. Before this week, did you know the Library of Congress had hundreds of flutes? Maybe three of you can answer yes to that.
But of course conservatives had to make it all about themselves and their racism. We’re getting to the point where nothing can happen involving a Black person that does not draw a pile-on from prominent Republicans using it to elevate themselves with the Republican base, which eats that up. It’s a vicious circle of bigotry: The likes of Ben Shapiro spew racism because their fan base gets riled up. The Republican base gets more worked up by racism because their party’s prominent voices are telling them it’s an important thing to embrace and a central part of their identity as Republicans. Then, because it’s a way to get attention, the Shapiros and would-be Shapiros ratchet the racism up a little more.
It’s sad, because this was a lovely story, of a talented, successful Black woman—one who studied classical flute in college, by the way—and a national institution coming together to promote history and music. And it got turned into an ugly story about bigotry.
I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.