I remember a white classmate who had a very strong reaction to hearing a tape of Navajo Code Talkers singing ‘The Marine Corps Hymn’ in their own language. His eyes widened and his jaw dropped, and all he could say after a few minutes was, ‘It’s downright spooky!’ He had almost as strong a reaction to the Black Lodge Singers (a Native singing/drumming group famous on the powwow circuit) even though the song I played was in English.
It was pretty obvious to me that something so completely unfamiliar to him simply scared him. He just did not know how to react because it was so utterly alien to him. I’ve seen African art and variations on it such as Afro-Carribean art. It doesn’t strike me as at all threatening, but the style is quite different, say, for someone who might be used to Rennaisance-style art. I think that, being in the majority, some whites are simply so used to being ‘the norm’ by which everything else is judged, that anything that challenges that worldview, even unintentionally, can bring a strong reaction.