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BS: Racial No-nos

Azizi 19 Nov 05 - 02:10 AM
Azizi 19 Nov 05 - 02:21 AM
Azizi 19 Nov 05 - 02:33 AM
The Shambles 19 Nov 05 - 02:45 AM
Cluin 19 Nov 05 - 03:16 AM
Azizi 19 Nov 05 - 03:26 AM
Azizi 19 Nov 05 - 03:34 AM
Azizi 19 Nov 05 - 03:40 AM
The Shambles 19 Nov 05 - 04:31 AM
Cluin 19 Nov 05 - 04:37 AM
Ebbie 19 Nov 05 - 05:04 AM
The Shambles 19 Nov 05 - 05:18 AM
The Shambles 19 Nov 05 - 05:23 AM
GUEST 19 Nov 05 - 07:30 AM
The Shambles 19 Nov 05 - 07:47 AM
Ron Davies 19 Nov 05 - 07:53 AM
Ron Davies 19 Nov 05 - 08:10 AM
GUEST,David Hannam 19 Nov 05 - 08:12 AM
GUEST,A 19 Nov 05 - 08:34 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 19 Nov 05 - 08:37 AM
Bobert 19 Nov 05 - 09:25 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 19 Nov 05 - 09:42 AM
paddymac 19 Nov 05 - 09:57 AM
wysiwyg 19 Nov 05 - 10:22 AM
dick greenhaus 19 Nov 05 - 10:43 AM
GUEST 19 Nov 05 - 10:49 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 19 Nov 05 - 11:35 AM
GUEST 19 Nov 05 - 01:23 PM
Don Firth 19 Nov 05 - 02:35 PM
robomatic 19 Nov 05 - 02:57 PM
Ebbie 19 Nov 05 - 02:59 PM
Peace 19 Nov 05 - 04:39 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 19 Nov 05 - 04:56 PM
Ebbie 19 Nov 05 - 05:00 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 19 Nov 05 - 05:31 PM
Bobert 19 Nov 05 - 05:53 PM
The Shambles 19 Nov 05 - 06:24 PM
Peace 19 Nov 05 - 06:31 PM
Peace 19 Nov 05 - 06:36 PM
Azizi 19 Nov 05 - 06:58 PM
Sorcha 19 Nov 05 - 07:19 PM
Azizi 19 Nov 05 - 07:22 PM
Azizi 19 Nov 05 - 07:25 PM
hilda fish 19 Nov 05 - 07:29 PM
Biskit 19 Nov 05 - 07:29 PM
artbrooks 19 Nov 05 - 07:29 PM
Azizi 19 Nov 05 - 07:42 PM
Peace 19 Nov 05 - 07:58 PM
Azizi 19 Nov 05 - 08:02 PM
Azizi 19 Nov 05 - 08:16 PM
Bobert 19 Nov 05 - 08:19 PM
Biskit 19 Nov 05 - 08:30 PM
number 6 19 Nov 05 - 08:36 PM
Azizi 19 Nov 05 - 08:51 PM
Azizi 19 Nov 05 - 08:59 PM
Azizi 19 Nov 05 - 09:06 PM
Azizi 19 Nov 05 - 09:15 PM
Amos 19 Nov 05 - 09:16 PM
Azizi 19 Nov 05 - 09:25 PM
Janie 19 Nov 05 - 09:40 PM
Biskit 19 Nov 05 - 11:30 PM
freda underhill 19 Nov 05 - 11:45 PM
Bard Judith 19 Nov 05 - 11:51 PM
katlaughing 19 Nov 05 - 11:51 PM
number 6 19 Nov 05 - 11:57 PM
number 6 20 Nov 05 - 12:06 AM
hilda fish 20 Nov 05 - 12:16 AM
number 6 20 Nov 05 - 12:21 AM
Peace 20 Nov 05 - 12:45 AM
Maryrrf 20 Nov 05 - 12:59 AM
mg 20 Nov 05 - 01:05 AM
The Shambles 20 Nov 05 - 02:31 AM
GUEST,KT 20 Nov 05 - 02:34 AM
George Papavgeris 20 Nov 05 - 05:39 AM
George Papavgeris 20 Nov 05 - 05:45 AM
Ron Davies 20 Nov 05 - 07:25 AM
*daylia* 20 Nov 05 - 08:07 AM
Azizi 20 Nov 05 - 08:18 AM
Azizi 20 Nov 05 - 08:56 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 20 Nov 05 - 09:02 AM
Azizi 20 Nov 05 - 09:13 AM
GUEST,A 20 Nov 05 - 09:40 AM
Azizi 20 Nov 05 - 10:26 AM
wysiwyg 20 Nov 05 - 10:38 AM
Ron Davies 20 Nov 05 - 10:46 AM
Terry K 20 Nov 05 - 10:54 AM
Azizi 20 Nov 05 - 10:58 AM
KT 20 Nov 05 - 11:39 AM
*daylia* 20 Nov 05 - 11:51 AM
bobad 20 Nov 05 - 11:52 AM
Big Al Whittle 20 Nov 05 - 12:02 PM
GUEST,A 20 Nov 05 - 12:19 PM
s&r 20 Nov 05 - 12:22 PM
Azizi 20 Nov 05 - 12:43 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 20 Nov 05 - 12:46 PM
Azizi 20 Nov 05 - 01:05 PM
bobad 20 Nov 05 - 01:17 PM
Azizi 20 Nov 05 - 01:27 PM
Jeri 20 Nov 05 - 01:47 PM
Jeri 20 Nov 05 - 01:51 PM
GUEST,AR282 20 Nov 05 - 01:58 PM
Amos 20 Nov 05 - 02:31 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 20 Nov 05 - 02:53 PM
Peace 20 Nov 05 - 03:09 PM
GUEST 20 Nov 05 - 03:13 PM
Peace 20 Nov 05 - 03:20 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 20 Nov 05 - 03:47 PM
Peace 20 Nov 05 - 03:49 PM
Cluin 20 Nov 05 - 04:03 PM
GUEST 20 Nov 05 - 05:59 PM
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Peace 20 Nov 05 - 06:38 PM
Once Famous 20 Nov 05 - 06:45 PM
Cluin 20 Nov 05 - 06:58 PM
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Janie 20 Nov 05 - 07:10 PM
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Peace 20 Nov 05 - 07:14 PM
Big Al Whittle 20 Nov 05 - 07:15 PM
Janie 20 Nov 05 - 07:46 PM
Peace 20 Nov 05 - 08:27 PM
number 6 20 Nov 05 - 08:47 PM
Peace 20 Nov 05 - 08:51 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 20 Nov 05 - 08:57 PM
number 6 20 Nov 05 - 09:01 PM
Peace 20 Nov 05 - 09:04 PM
number 6 20 Nov 05 - 09:06 PM
Azizi 20 Nov 05 - 09:28 PM
Bobert 20 Nov 05 - 09:48 PM
Peace 20 Nov 05 - 09:52 PM
mg 20 Nov 05 - 09:56 PM
Bobert 20 Nov 05 - 09:59 PM
wysiwyg 20 Nov 05 - 11:15 PM
Kaleea 21 Nov 05 - 01:18 AM
The Shambles 21 Nov 05 - 04:31 AM
GUEST,catsPHiddle@work 21 Nov 05 - 05:49 AM
The Shambles 21 Nov 05 - 06:17 AM
GUEST 21 Nov 05 - 06:23 AM
*daylia* 21 Nov 05 - 07:46 AM
Azizi 21 Nov 05 - 08:25 AM
GUEST,A 21 Nov 05 - 08:31 AM
Bobert 21 Nov 05 - 08:40 AM
*daylia* 21 Nov 05 - 08:42 AM
GUEST 21 Nov 05 - 08:44 AM
Wolfgang 21 Nov 05 - 11:29 AM
Peace 21 Nov 05 - 11:45 AM
M.Ted 21 Nov 05 - 01:40 PM
Peace 21 Nov 05 - 02:08 PM
GUEST,A 21 Nov 05 - 02:20 PM
Peace 21 Nov 05 - 02:43 PM
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M.Ted 21 Nov 05 - 03:29 PM
Cluin 21 Nov 05 - 03:50 PM
GUEST,A 21 Nov 05 - 04:09 PM
Peace 21 Nov 05 - 05:43 PM
The Shambles 21 Nov 05 - 05:48 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 21 Nov 05 - 06:01 PM
Peace 21 Nov 05 - 06:36 PM
The Shambles 21 Nov 05 - 06:55 PM
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Jeri 21 Nov 05 - 07:22 PM
M.Ted 21 Nov 05 - 07:28 PM
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Bobert 21 Nov 05 - 07:46 PM
M.Ted 21 Nov 05 - 08:20 PM
Peace 21 Nov 05 - 08:22 PM
GUEST,A 21 Nov 05 - 08:29 PM
Peace 21 Nov 05 - 08:34 PM
Peace 21 Nov 05 - 08:43 PM
M.Ted 21 Nov 05 - 08:55 PM
Peace 21 Nov 05 - 08:59 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 21 Nov 05 - 11:16 PM
Bobert 21 Nov 05 - 11:24 PM
Peace 21 Nov 05 - 11:25 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 21 Nov 05 - 11:47 PM
Biskit 22 Nov 05 - 12:03 AM
Bobert 22 Nov 05 - 12:22 AM
Big Al Whittle 22 Nov 05 - 12:49 AM
Biskit 22 Nov 05 - 01:55 AM
Azizi 22 Nov 05 - 02:11 AM
Azizi 22 Nov 05 - 02:29 AM
Azizi 22 Nov 05 - 03:17 AM
The Shambles 22 Nov 05 - 05:31 AM
GUEST,A 22 Nov 05 - 06:01 AM
Azizi 22 Nov 05 - 08:11 AM
artbrooks 22 Nov 05 - 08:52 AM
Bobert 22 Nov 05 - 08:54 AM
The Shambles 22 Nov 05 - 09:06 AM
George Papavgeris 22 Nov 05 - 09:14 AM
GUEST 22 Nov 05 - 09:50 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 22 Nov 05 - 10:02 AM
M.Ted 22 Nov 05 - 10:19 AM
The Shambles 22 Nov 05 - 10:32 AM
greg stephens 22 Nov 05 - 10:53 AM
Peace 22 Nov 05 - 11:03 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 22 Nov 05 - 11:35 AM
Paco Rabanne 22 Nov 05 - 11:50 AM
Azizi 22 Nov 05 - 12:10 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 22 Nov 05 - 12:11 PM
George Papavgeris 22 Nov 05 - 12:36 PM
CarolC 22 Nov 05 - 02:07 PM
greg stephens 22 Nov 05 - 02:41 PM
Azizi 22 Nov 05 - 02:53 PM
greg stephens 22 Nov 05 - 03:10 PM
mg 22 Nov 05 - 03:49 PM
Biskit 22 Nov 05 - 04:48 PM
Azizi 22 Nov 05 - 04:53 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 22 Nov 05 - 05:15 PM
Peace 22 Nov 05 - 05:35 PM
GUEST,Martin Gbison 22 Nov 05 - 06:10 PM
Peace 22 Nov 05 - 06:27 PM
Biskit 22 Nov 05 - 07:34 PM
M.Ted 22 Nov 05 - 07:39 PM
Peace 22 Nov 05 - 07:42 PM
The Shambles 22 Nov 05 - 08:47 PM
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LilyFestre 22 Nov 05 - 11:30 PM
Biskit 23 Nov 05 - 12:23 AM
Peace 23 Nov 05 - 12:26 AM
Azizi 23 Nov 05 - 12:29 AM
The Shambles 23 Nov 05 - 02:06 AM
Cluin 23 Nov 05 - 08:35 AM
GUEST,A 23 Nov 05 - 09:55 AM
Peace 23 Nov 05 - 10:08 AM
*daylia* 23 Nov 05 - 10:29 AM
GUEST,A 23 Nov 05 - 10:47 AM
Peace 23 Nov 05 - 11:02 AM
Biskit 23 Nov 05 - 11:03 AM
*daylia* 23 Nov 05 - 11:14 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 23 Nov 05 - 11:23 AM
The Shambles 23 Nov 05 - 11:26 AM
The Shambles 23 Nov 05 - 12:17 PM
Peace 23 Nov 05 - 12:35 PM
*daylia* 23 Nov 05 - 12:49 PM
GUEST,A 23 Nov 05 - 12:58 PM
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stevenrailing 23 Nov 05 - 01:12 PM
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wendyNY 23 Nov 05 - 01:30 PM
GUEST,A 23 Nov 05 - 01:33 PM
CarolC 23 Nov 05 - 01:48 PM
GUEST,David Hannam 23 Nov 05 - 01:51 PM
The Shambles 23 Nov 05 - 01:56 PM
CarolC 23 Nov 05 - 02:28 PM
Peace 23 Nov 05 - 02:41 PM
Biskit 23 Nov 05 - 03:44 PM
Goose Gander 23 Nov 05 - 05:17 PM
The Shambles 23 Nov 05 - 06:37 PM
Peace 23 Nov 05 - 11:22 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 23 Nov 05 - 11:38 PM
hilda fish 24 Nov 05 - 02:06 AM
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greg stephens 24 Nov 05 - 05:39 AM
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Subject: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 02:10 AM

It's my guess that the music instructor who recently made the news because he or she included the song "Pick A Bale Of Cotton" in the school's folk music recital hadn't a clue that the lone Black student in that school's recital or anybody else [including the parents of that student] would be offended by that song.

But, as an African American, I consider the choice of that song in 2005 and in the context it was presented as a "racial no-no". As I am defining it here, a "racial no no" is something that a White person says or does that is likely to cause trouble for him or her with African Americans or other people of color and/or other people who are concerned about racial political correctness.

There is no doubt in my mind that racial correctness goes both [many] ways. However, my purpose for talking about racial no nos in this thread is to suggest that there may be things that White people say or do that can get them in trouble with African American people.

I purposely used the referent "African American" because in my opinion the referent "Black" is too wide a term. While there may be extensive overlapping, it seems to me that what African Americans may consider a racial no no may have been in the past and may still be now acceptable or a minor issue for other Black people {meaning, Black people from other nations and other cultures in other parts of the world}.

It seems to me that "context rules" when your talking about what is or is not culturally competent. And "context" includes who, what, where, when, how, and why.

What was cultural appropriate for African Americans-non-African Americans in the past may be be a racial no no now.

Of course, what we [African Americans] do & say to each other may get us into trouble with each other depending on who we are and what we do or say and how we do or say it.

But I'm more concerned in this thread with the fact that White people may honestly not have a clue that some of the things they say and do might be culturally incompetent [which is another way of saying "politically incorrect"] with regards to race.

Some people here could care less. Others may totally disagree.

But there may be some people who are curious about what is likely to be a turn off to African Americans [in other words, what tick us off, or what get us on a set].

These are my opinions. I acknowledge from the onset that there will be people who mildly or vehemently disagree with the subject of cultural competency itself or with the examples of racial no no that I cite.

Needless to say, I'm interested in reading others' comments about this topic.

****

Note: PC-where is thy sting?-Pick A Bale Of Cotton Ban is the thread that prompted this one.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 02:21 AM

Racial no-nos

1. the use of the N-word in most public settings
   {especially those with children} except in the context of
   higher level educational discussions & study of history and
   culture and even there, tred carefully making your purposes clear.

Outside of historical & cultural study and discussion, it seems to me, that folk songs that include the "N word" such as "Run N---g Run, the Pateroller Catch You" are toxic unless another word is substituted for the "N word" {though I admit that changing the title to "Run Children Run..." and not explaining the background of the song means that an opportunity is lost to teach about the realities of slave conditions in the American South}.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 02:33 AM

Racial no no

2. Use of African American slave dialect [such as that used by the
   African American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar]in most public settings
   except in the context of higher level educational discussions &
   study of history and culture and even there, I would suggest that
   Whites or non-Whites tred carefully and make your purpose for
   including this creative work or folkloric material clear.


BTW, by "higher level educational discussions & study", I'm talking
about in depth discussions & studies that are more than superficial, short overviews that are engaged in by children [of average intelligence] who are 5th grade and older {I'm admittedly being arbitrary in the grade I select}.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 02:45 AM

I hope you will accept that what may the case in the USA will not be so anywhere else. In the UK - it is still thought marginally OK to call a any footballer a cunt or indeed any black footballer a cunt but certainly a 'racial no no) to call them a black cunt.

You would hope I you accept that the word black refers quite legitimately to a colour and that its use could also cause offence to someone. Also that any word could cause offence to someone.

For this reason - is it being proposed that we all pretend that some words have never been invented or used? Or is it better to try educate us all to true the history of these words and why they may unitentionally offend some others?

Could it be that by taking such issue with the use now of mainly the words themselves - you provide the very ammunition for those who would still chose to use them to intentionally offend and worse?

Perhaps there are worse things than the possibilty of uninentionally offending another by the careless use of a word?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Cluin
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 03:16 AM

What about use of the word White?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 03:26 AM

More on racial no no #2

The recent controversy with the inclusion of "Pick A Bale Of Cotton" in a school recital seems to have focused on two facts:

-the association of cotton picking with Black American slavery [notwithstanding the fact that some enslaved Black people never picked cotton, and nonwithstanding the fact that some White people still have memories of picking cotton]

-the song's uptempo tune seems to minimize the backbreaking work associated with picking cotton, and play into the widely grinning Stepin Fetchit pickinniny stereotype promoted by slavery apologista.

I want to speak to the second point and suggest that the "Oh Lordy!" phrase in the refrain "Oh Lordy, pick a bale of cotton/Oh Lordy! pick a bale a day" is what turns me off.

I see this as an example of Black slave dialect or old downhome expressions that-if included in songs-are liable to get contemporary Black folks riled up.

Someone on that "Pick A Bale Of Cotton" thread reminded me that African American R&B singer Little Richard had a hit song "Lordy Miss Claudy" [in the late 1950s?]. I believe another African American R&B singer Lloyd Price also recorded this song {Lordy Miss Clawdy} maybe before Little Richard did. But that was then, and this is now. After all the 1950s is more than 50 years ago.

And-in my opinion, those "Lordy! Lordy!" expressions are likely to be interpreted as being too country [with "country" rightly or wrongly being seen as less than "citified].

Songs that explore the country hick vs sophisticated city resident are a whole nother area of consideration for folklorists. But for the purpose of this thread what I'm suggesting is that it's not only songs and literature that is written in Black slavery dialect but it's also the inclusion of certain Black "downhome" expressions that can get a person in trouble.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 03:34 AM

More on the subject of African American slavery dialect-

I believe that African Americans for the most part aren't purists when it comes to singing spirituals.

Although I've seen spirituals written in real heavy duty dialect from slavery days {full of 'des' and 'dose'}, I submit that we don't sing those songs that way.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 03:40 AM

Given that it's 3:35AM and I've got to be at work at 8AM this morning, though I'd love to respond to Shambles' post, I'm gonna wait until later to do so...

{See how complicated the subject of dialect is..."I'm gonna" is fine in most informal conversation but "I'se gonna" is a no no}.


Later!

Azizi


BTW: typo correction from one of my earlier posts to this thread:
apologista=apologist


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 04:31 AM

Perhaps you could explain why it appears not to be thought a racial no no for a black person to use the word 'Nigger' and to refer to themselves and other black people as this or themselves use terms such as Bad Assed Nigger?

I appreciate your choice to use of 'the N word rather than using the word in full and I chose to use the word Nigger in this discussion not to offend you or others intentionally or otherwise. It is a word that I would not normally use in any other context but it the word you are referring to and one that still appears in many songs.

I think your intentions are probably very good but this is opening one huge can of worms. And as the thinking on and around this issue remains very confused - perhaps any attempt to impose your thinking upon other people and in different cultures is best undertaken when the general thinking behind it is less confused than at present and at a time when there is less chance of these attempts being counter-productive?

I respect your right to express your opinion of banjo music that you have expressed in the past (mainly because of its historical associations) but as a banjo player I hold a different one and will not stop playing the banjo - at the risk of offending you. Does that place me in the wrong? Will your next racial no no - be the playing of banjos?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Cluin
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 04:37 AM

"Will your next racial no no be the playing of banjos?"

That right there is called hyperbole.
It's an old weapon of master debaters and like many of those old strokes it gets in the way of intelligent discussion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Ebbie
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 05:04 AM

Roger, you say "I think your intentions are probably very good but this is opening one huge can of worms. And as the thinking on and around this issue remains very confused - perhaps any attempt to impose your thinking upon other people and in different cultures is best undertaken when the general thinking behind it is less confused than at present and at a time when there is less chance of these attempts being counter-productive?"

And that strikes me as being disingenuous in the extreme. Just when do you propose will be a less "confused" time? And how is it to become less confused? We are adults here, and imo this is an excellent time to learn something. Azizi may be confrontational - indeed, I hope she is - but she is NOT hostile. Let's sit down and shut up for a bit.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 05:18 AM

Not sure where polite disagreement can be thought hostile. Perhaps those who thought-up and enforced the idea that black people should occupy different seats on buses would not have been thought hostile by some?

In my book the attempt by one racial grouping to impose their thinking upon another - is about as hostile an act as you can get - short of actual physical combat. For it will probably lead to this evenually - if it is not addressed and changed.

Any attempt for one individual to claim to speak for any huge racial grouping is also of concern - whatever that grouping may be. For the thinking within that grouping will be very disparate.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 05:23 AM

As Azizi said in the first post.

Needless to say, I'm interested in reading others' comments about this topic.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 07:30 AM

We shouldn't re-write history, we should teach it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 07:47 AM

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=76375#1359216

Azizi from the above thread.
Also, since I mentioned my dislike of banjo music, as a means of showing respect to my ancestors, may I also take this opportunity to post that the banjo is an instrument that comes from Africa.

I think that listing one's personal dislikes is one thing – dressing them up as being anything other than this or as representing some form of consensus and calling them a racial no no – is perhaps something else. I also find the idea that you show any positive respect to anyone (alive or dead) by taking a negitive action like taking a dislike to any form of music - a rather worrying one.

Many fine things - other than banjos - come originally from Africa. Because they may be stolen away and badly abused does not make them (or any music they may produce) any less fine.

Words may fall out of use - and for all our sakes let us hope that some words like 'slavery' will do this quickly along with the terrible practice it describes and along with other words associated with it - but words like these will never be un-invented. And that is perhaps just as well...........


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Ron Davies
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 07:53 AM

Are whites allowed to quote Mark Twain if reading from one of his books?

Are you aware of some of the lyrics of Henry Clay Work-- ("Year of Jubilo", for instance)--and aware he was a very strong abolitionist?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Ron Davies
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 08:10 AM

I'm also one of those who believes a great teaching opportunity was missed by not singing Ledbelly's version of "Jump Down, Turn Around" at the concert--yes--teaching at the concert--by placing the song in context.

And anybody who feels an 11-year old is a baby is being patronizing--and has no idea how sophisticated a lot of 11-year olds are these days.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST,David Hannam
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 08:12 AM

I have said this before, man will always offend man. Being offensive is part of human nature. We are not clearly talking here about racial crime, (both ways) we are talking about 'no no's'! These no no's are a stifle on human nature.

Yes someone will call a black man a 'n*****' and wrongly so too, yes someone will abuse a white man for being white, wrongly so too, but should the increased danger of criminal prosecution be introduced to curb offensive behaviour? I'm not telling, i'm asking?

When in an argument, i call my opponent 'fat obese s***'? He in turn calls me a 'big nosed 'd**k', lol, or vice-versa, so what is the answer? Imprison either on the basis of making 'inflammatory remarks designed to offend'?

Sensitivities between the varying ethnicities are a product of liberalism, and white liberalism at that, gone mad!!! In truth, the Sikh doesn't mind whatsoever that Briton's would celebrate Christ at Christmas? But white liberals cater for a myth surrounding the minorities that they have created. A myth based in repression of the host peoples culture, and a complete lack of understanding that most people, from whatever background simply want to get on with their life, and really couldn't care less if people want to celebrate Christmas. I refer here of course to various councils banning the word 'christmas' in public celebrations!

Nursery ryhmes - Blah Blah Black Sheep? Do black people really care, i suspect they don't!


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST,A
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 08:34 AM

I guess I must be naive. The song "16 Tons" ("I loaded 16 tons of #9 coal.....") which was a direct comment on white miners never gave me cause for contemplating racial overtones.

I am white, I have personally known 11 "African-Americans" and 7 were white. Dual citizenship for all 11. I do not consider myself an "European-American". As I said,I must be somewhat naive.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 08:37 AM

It's more than context that affects the impact of words. It's the company. That's why some blacks (whoops... African Americans... none of my black friends use the term African-American, by the way) apparently use the N word amongst themselves. While I have never overheard a black person use the N word, I suspect that it may be used for humor, or attempted shock. I can't imagine anyone I know using it in my absence.

A word that still has powerful emotional impact among some blacks (but not all) is "boy." I remember vividly, standing next to a black friend of mine many years ago, and a rather arrogant white woman coming in the building and saying to him, "Boy, go and get the package out of my car." He really bristled, and I don't blame him. I was angry about it to. She could just as easily have asked me, and she certainly wouldn't have called me "boy." That's a word I try to be very, very careful not to use, because it can be very hurtful. Never mind saying that it shouldn't be hurtful. Hurt happens.

As far as situation and company, we all get a kick when my friend Frankie says, when he thinks I'm really rocking the guitar, "play that guitar, white boy!" I'm not offended because I love Frankie and I know that he loves me. And yet, I'd never say "Sing that song, black boy." That's a totally different saying which has the association of black men being considered less than men. It can summon up memories of degradation and discrimination, so as far as I'm concerned, "boy" is a MAJOR no-no.

All this said, the black community is no more homogeneous than the white community, or any community. There are some in any community who take great offense at the mildest statements, and others who are comfortable enough with themselves that they don't interpret every off-hand comment as an insult. You can see that here in Mudcat, and it usually has nothing to do with race. Some folks get all uppity if you disagree with them, and you have the choice of either trying to assure them that you meant no offense, or confronting them for being so insecure and defensive.

My rule of thumb is if it offends even one out of ten people, it's best to try to come up with some equally expressive word or phrase that isn't offensive.

I appreciate this thread, Azizi. You've said before that you don't claim to speak for the black community. Probably worth reiterating it... and also acknowledging that you are speaking about African-Americans rather than "blacks" because you are talking about a group of people with a shared heritage of slavery and prejudice in this country.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Bobert
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 09:25 AM

Noqw this thread is prolly one that I should keep the heck away from we all know that the Bobert will step into jus' 'bout any danged mess that's out there, this thread bein' one of 'um...

Ahhhh, first of all, I am somewhat guilty of havin' picked up a great deal of "slave" talk back in my 20's and into my 30's and those speech patterns an' phrases is very much part of who I am and what I sound like... Ahhhh, lets me explain... When I was like 'round 23 I went to work as a GED teacher in the Richmond (Va) City Jail.... Now, back then there weren't hardly no white folks in that Jail so fir 5 hours a day 5 days a week I was purdy much completely surrounded by black folks... Even the guards were black...

I also was workin' at a drug treatment half way house teaching GED and runnin' counselin' groups and bei8ng "Staff on Duty"... Well, Staff on Duty (SOD) was like a lot of hours... Every other weekend I would go on right after the jail gig on Friday and be there until Monday mornin' when it was back to jail... Now, the half way house waas right in the middle of one of Richmond's ghettoes and most Saturday nights I would be up 'til 3 or 4 in the mornin' talkin' with residents and strret folk... Sometimes I'd just sit on the sidewalk at the corner of 2nd and Calhoun St. while hookers 'n pimps 'n rippers & runners would be hustlin and on those nights I would have a lotta conversations with latta black folks that most white folks didn't ven know existed...

It was during them years that I learnt up (an' internalized...) a lotta dialect that some might consider "slave" talk... I learned real quick that black folks in these settings freely us3e the word "nigga" as a endearin' term when talkin' to one another and I also learned that it din't have nythin' to do with one's color because the folks I worked with would call my white butt "nigga" as freely as they would call a black friend "nigga"...

Now, I had been brought up in a "liberal" familee and leraned at an eary age that the word "nigger" was not a word that we used... Yeah, my mom was involved in the Civil Rights movement and we had a lotta contact with black folks so I just knew that phrases such as "nigger or colored" wasn't part of our vocabulary... So even when I was called "nigga" by black folks I could never bring myself to use the word back but used the word "brotha" (prolly same diffrence but...)

Now, after my stint with the drug program, I got a job as a social worker and this work kept my white butt workin' in the black areas of Richmond... At age 39 I made a career change but after some 16 years of spendin' almost all my wakin' hours among Southern black folks, I can away deeply influenced by both culture and speech...

Now, throw in my in music, bouncing 'round folk music styles and most recently, Southern country blues, I can honestly say, yeah, there's prolly way too much "slave" talk in me *but* I have never thought of the way I talk to be offensive...

...until, perhaps, now...

I'll keep an eye on this thread, however, to see if there are changes that I "sho nuff" need to make...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 09:42 AM

As for Pick A Bale Of Cotton, which I always associate with Leadbelly, the thought of Leadbelly singing it to perpetuate the image of the happy darkies living as slaves is downright hilarious. Leadbelly never struck me as someone who was trying to present a sanitized version of anything. He's the man who sang to Irene, "I'll GET you in my dreams," not I'll see you. I always thought of Pick A Bale Of Cotton, when Leadbelly sang it as more of a bragging song, just as his ridiculous When I Was A Cowboy... "come a yickee, come a yickee-i-ay." I would think that song, like Pick A Bale Of Cotton could be done with an explanation of what back-breaking work it would be to actually pick a bale of cotton. Who knows how big a bale of cotton is, or how much it weighs, or how long it would take to pick a bale of cotton? If that was explained, the whole concept of jumping down, spinning around and picking a bale of cotton would be seen for what it was... a boast. In that context, I could even see a link with rap and street bragging.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: paddymac
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 09:57 AM

I've only met one person with no nose, and that was as a small child (me, that is). I don't have a recollection of the color of the person's skin, or even their sex. I was so absorbed in them not having a nose I didn't notice much of anything else.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: wysiwyg
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 10:22 AM

My experience in cross-cultural matters is that flexible intelligence, respect, relationship, and reflection are necessary for positive communication and effective cooperation (and just about anything else!). I will the information Azizi offers to the information I have gained from other voices in other times, places, and relationships, and continue to strive for positive communication and effective cooperation.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 10:43 AM

Actually, the comparison between Sixteen Tons and Pick a Bale O' Cotton is a good one--both poke a bit of fun at a back-breaking job by use of wild exaggeration of one's prowess.

And yes, there were black miners and white cotton pickers.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 10:49 AM

I wonder why I'm not surprised that football players would use such an offensive word as "cunt". Words of two syllables or more are probably too much for their limited IQ.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 11:35 AM

I thought of the comparison between Sixteen Tons and Pick A Bale Of Cotton, too, as they both seem to be an exagerated claim of strength.
The difference is that if you are doing the work because you are a black slave, rather than a very poor white abused black, at the end of the day the whites didn't have to deal with segregation and the degradation that went with being black in the South. There is an enormous difference between being owned and being free, even if the work is equally hard.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 01:23 PM

Bobert, that was a helluva' long post to simply imply that you may have racist tendencies.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Don Firth
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 02:35 PM

Not contributing at this point, but reading this thread with great interest. Anonymous GUEST, I think your remark to Bobert is way off base.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: robomatic
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 02:57 PM

A lot of past items in life come to mind. I lived for two years in a primarilly black dorm at school. Learned a lot, mainly that black folk are like any other folk. Later on I lived in an international house where the lesson was expanded to most of the world. I think that context counts for a lot, context for me including the other people present as well as what's being talked about and conventional usage in that group. I also believe in enough honesty and courage to go up and tell someone when you've been offended, and why. Otherwise, they may not know, which in my experience is the majority of cases. As an old Chicano acquaintance put it, "if they're smiling when they say it, I smile, too. If they're not smiling when they say it, my hands may come out of my pockets."


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Ebbie
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 02:59 PM

And I agree. Guest has totally misread him.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 04:39 PM

I have a few observations to offer and maybe a few remarks to make.

Azizi has never been hostile on this or any other thread she's posted. She is a serious researcher and seems to know lots about Black (African-American) history. Her contributions to threads above the line have been scholarly and educating, IMO. So, when one of the few 'people of colour' on the Mudcat starts a thread by saying "As I am defining it here, a "racial no no" is something that a White person says or does that is likely to cause trouble for him or her with African Americans or other people of color and/or other people who are concerned about racial political correctness", I want to sit back and have a good look.

I could tell y'all about living in south Harlem, working with many people of colour over the years, stuff I did to contribute to the civil rights movement, friends and situations that demonstrate I am not racist. However, I cannot tell you about being a Black man in North America because I am not Black. I can speak to my perception of the 'Black experience', but that would be words filtered through the thought processes of someone who has lived the 'White experience'. Azizi knows I use the words Black and White instead of other descriptors, and she's talked to me about that. She also knows you can take the boy out of the country but . . . .

In Grade 3, I went to the washroom one day and Wayne was there at the same time. Wayne was/is black. We found a quarter. ONE quarter: twenty-five cents. In a district where 'share' was not a word that had much currency (it was a verb, but its transitivity changed from moment to moment in that one could share or some other one would decide whose stuff would be shared with whom on one's behalf), we decided the only fair way to decide who kept the money was by going eeny-meeny-miney-mo. I started the little rhyme and got to, "Catch a nig...". That incident took place about fifty years ago and I can remember it today with a clarity that stuns me. I have seldom seen a look of hurt in someone's eyes that came close to the look in Wayne's. I learned at the age of seven or eight that words have incredible power to hurt. So too did Wayne.

At the age of 17 in New York City I had the pleasure--honour might be a better word--to be the warm-up act and emcee for a fellow named Len Chandler. Photo of Len taken in 1969 at a folk festival. . (A right click on the pic will show the site it's from.) Many of you will know Len or at least know of him. He wrote some fantastic songs. Anyway, he asked me who I liked as a songwriter. One of the names I tossed out was Stephen Foster. Len went up one side of me and down the other--this was in 1966. He wanted to know what I found so touching about 'Massa bein in de cole cole groun'. He later taught me his song, "To Be a Man."

I guess what I'm saying is this: The thing at the school in Berkley was ill-considered. Given a context as was noted by Azizi would have provided a raison d'etre for doing that particular song. As it was, they stepped on their cranks. And, Azizi, I recognize that I can learn what is not good to say, and maybe that is part of what sites like this are for. Good thread. Thank you for starting it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 04:56 PM

I'm with you, Peace:

I have a general problem with people who say really destructive things and then if someone is hurt, they blame the person for being too sensitive. If I say something that offends someone, I want to be told about it. Then, I want to give very serious consideration to my actions so that I may guide my tongue in the future. I too find Azizi non-confrontational and I value her presence on Mudcat. I think she is a fair woman and can accept that there are other points of view than hers... even in the black community. I know my sons, who have a great love of R & B (for example) have no trouble with Lawdy Miss Clawdy. Admittedly, it could be rewritten to be Goly Gee Miss Jennie Lee :-)

I appreciate people making me aware of things I say or do that may hurt someone.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Ebbie
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 05:00 PM

Peace, your experiences and the messages you internalized from them are part of what make you the special person you are.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 05:31 PM

For what it's worth, the exclamation "Lordy" is not exclusively an African American expression. It is a rural southern expression. I heard my white maternal grandmother (and numerous other members of her generation) use it thousands of times.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Bobert
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 05:53 PM

Ahhhh, GUEST, yeah, while not prejuding white folks I am more carefull with them than I am with black folks... I've never been screamed at, fired, sued, assaulted or ruipped off by a balck person but have experienced all those negative things from white folks...

That make me a racist? Maybe, depending on how one defines racisim...

BTW, this is a general feeling within me not a specfic feeling 'cause I'd a million times rather be in the company of Jerry Rassmussen than I would Mike Tyson...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 06:24 PM

I have no wish to offend anyone, either intentionally or otherwise but I also don't want to be made to feel guilty for little reason or to watch others posting here made to feel that they possibly have something to apolgise for. If I did intentionally wish to offend anyone - they would always be aware of this intent.

For were I - by something I may have said - unintentionally cause offence to someone who seriously considered that disliking banjo music was a duty to their ancestors - no matter how much I may respect them or their ancestors - I probably would not worry too much about causing them offence......

For I probably would consider their's to be an over-sensitive reaction and a personal problem for them to come to terms with. I may also consider that they could be guilty of milking a situation and of risking the creation of needless division on racial grounds by seeming to be approaching almost every issue from a racial aspect at the slightest excuse. Something that if done consistently by someone from a different racial grouping may no doubt lead to accusations of racism?

Are the things listed here so far as racial no nos - comming as any real surprise to anyone posting here? If they are - perhaps those people have been living a rather sheltered exsistence or are lacking in any form of common sense or imagination? For this is hardly rocket science - is it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 06:31 PM

"unintentionally cause offence to someone who seriously considered that disliking banjo music was a duty to their ancestors"

You have offended me egregiously. Noon. Tomorrow. Your choice of weapons.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 06:36 PM

"For I probably would consider their's to be an over-sensitive reaction and a personal problem for them to come to terms with. I may also consider that they could be guilty of milking a situation and of risking the creation of needless division on racial grounds by seeming to be approaching almost every issue from a racial aspect at the slightest excuse. Something that if done consistently by someone from a different racial grouping may no doubt lead to accusations of racism?"

The above statement just made me realize how asinine you truly are.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 06:58 PM

I'm just returning from work that was not as back breaking as picking cotton, but heavy duty in its own way. Before I list what I consider to be other racial no nos, I would like to comment on some of the posts thus far.

During the 1990s one African American slogan that was widely known was "It's A Black thang. You wouldn't understand." This slogan was directed to White people. It articulated the position that there were nuances of Black culture that were unknown and not understandable to White people and that was good.

I disagree with this position. My view is that "It's a Black thang. You should understand [especially if you desire to understand].

If misunderstandings occur about Black culture, and we [Black people] don't try to explain where we are coming from, then shame on us.

I want to reiterate that I believe that understanding is a multi-lane highway. There are certainly situations where Black people are guilty of misunderstanding the nuances of White culture[s]. However, for the purpose of this thread, I chose to limit my discussion to those things that White people may not understand about Black..excuse me..African American culture.

It would be easy in this thread to get caught up in the meaning and appropriateness of the racial referents "African American" and "Black" that I've used rather than focus on other points raised by this discussion. As a point of information, usually I switch from one of these terms to another. However, in my mind, "African American" is usually more formal than "Black". And yet another formal term for Black people is "people of African descent". [And yes I am referring here to people of [Black] African descent].
And 'people of color' is a term that includes Black people and refers to all those other races and ethnic groups [such as some Latinos/Latinas] who are not White.

But in the context of this thread, I wanted to make the point that I was limiting my comments to a subset of Black people-those who are African American.

I am aware that we [African Americans] are a heterogeneous people. There are Black people living in the United States who first generation are from the Caribbean, Canada, South America, Latin America, West Africa, North Africa, East Africa, South Africa, and elsewhere. There are also African Americans who have Gullah ancestry, and/or are Creole, and/or are Native American, and/or are part White, and/or are part Asian.

I am NOT speaking for all these folks. I am sharing my own views about those things that tick off African Americans given my experience as an African American who was raised in the East and never lived anywhere beyond the Allegheny mountains of Pennsylvania.

Just as I ask you not to fixate about my use of "African American" instead of the more inclusive "Black" in the context of this thread, I ask you to pardon the inconsistency of my using "White" instead of the more formal [and archiac?] European-American or the sometimes used term "Anglo-American".

Of course, if you wanna focus on terminology instead of the points others raise and I have attempted to raise in this thread, do your thing [or "thang" if you prefer].

In my earlier posts to this thread, I chose to focus on the racial no nos that had to do with music. I did so since this thread was prompted by the "Pick A Bale Of Cotton"controversy.

There are other points I want to make about racial competency and music, and will do so once I take a couple of deep breaths and get my second wind.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Sorcha
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 07:19 PM

And, an aside from 'black'...my full blood Apache friend strongly objects to Native American....he is an Indian.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 07:22 PM

Point of clarification:

This quote: "Also, since I mentioned my dislike of banjo music, as a means of showing respect to my ancestors, may I also take this opportunity to post that the banjo is an instrument that comes from Africa."

is an example of poor writing skills. It would have been better for me to have written that sentence this way:

"Since I had previously mentioned my dislike of banjo music, it behooves me to show respect to my African ancestors by sharing the information that the banjo is an instrument that originally came from Africa."


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 07:25 PM

BTW, Peace, I second what Ebbie wrote in her 19 Nov 05 - 05:00 PM post.

Thank you for sharing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: hilda fish
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 07:29 PM

My problem overall, is that I keep on not being polite. I can't discuss academically something that ultimately, through demeaning a part of the human race for what they can't help, how they were born, gives permission to kill. Yes, murder, genocide, kill, and it is still going on in the most unacceptable of ways. They little words, the so-called non pc are the tiny bricks in the bridge across to the side that says all these BLACK folks (and many of us aren't BLACK, we are Indigenous or whatever) aren't quite up to us on the evolutionary scale, less than, and so on. There is BLACK and there is WHITE because, colonialism, slavery, and so on DID HAPPEN. As an Indigenous person (we are called BLACK!!!) in my country I could weep as I watch the effects of the little words, the little songs, the little acts, which are discussed oh so respectfully, academically, and politely, brand our babies before they are even born, steal hope from our young, condemn our young mothers and fathers to despair, and finally break the backs of the elders, and we who are a community of elders. Thankyou Azzizi for always being so polite, so respectful, intelligent and sensitive. I too love and respect the HUMANITY in us all, but I will not be polite as I watch my people dying and through the use of words, songs, etc. WHITE people give permission for it to happen. I am sick of it and I will not be respectful or polite. It is not only wrong, but unbearable in this world that we all share. "Pick A Bale Of Cotton" is a horrible song not because of how it sounds, but because of what it celebrates. How sick to look at it any other way. "Tomorrow Belongs To Me" is the song of the former Hitler Youth that still reverberates among the young fascists of today. Do we get children to sing it because it is "anthemic" and "choral" and has a significant European history. I don't think so. Why?? Because it previewed unacceptable slaughter and has come to represent it and that is not so hard for people to get their heads around. Yet talk about anything to do with what lays the foundation stones for genocide and everyone gets very academic and defensive and blah blah blah. I have looked at my people cold and dead and have held African American people as they keened with grief, I have walked with Native Americans as they numbered their dead youth, I have been in Brussels as a Sudanese woman asked "who will know the names of my children as their bones mingle with the fish in the deep sea?" Ånd I'm not polite. The bottom line is that people are dying because of words like these and it is a shame that a school would even have this song on their list. Think peoples, it is not the white nations of this world who are starving, it is not the white nations of this world who have unacceptable infant mortality rates, it is not the white young generations who are in prison and in despair, in totality. We are all human and we are all suffering one way or another, but it is MY young people who are dying, not my white friends, it is MY dead sons who to this day I cannot say "they are gone" without the anger, and fury that racism engenders. The thing is that people DO know. Recently someone in my country said, "but I didn't know" and the answer was, "F*** it's been on the front page of newspapers all around the globe so don't give me that sh**" Should I apologise in advance for this rave? I'll save it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Biskit
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 07:29 PM

Nothing really to add,..just reading/listning with great interest. I really enjoyed your first post Bobert, I may really like you after all
as to your second post, well,... guest already showed themselves to be an asshole that reads half a post and draws whatever conclusions from that. and Peace! my goodness! how un-peace-like in your reaction to The Shambles.
Peace! Through Understanding!
~Biskit~


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: artbrooks
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 07:29 PM

There are many things that have been introduced into the greater American cultural process from other places and other peoples, and Africa and Africans, enslaved or otherwise, have certainly contributed their fair share. However, I think that throwing all of these things out or saying that only people of a certain racial background and skin of a particular shade of tan/brown (BTW, there are very very few people who have skin that is either "black" or "white") can use them is a bit out of line. Eliminate the banjo? This is an instrument that may owe its origins to the banza of the African slave (which probably looked more like a balalaika), but has both evolved physically and has become integral to many kinds of folk music.

Azizi mentioned use of African American slave dialect as one of the racial no-nos. What, exactly, is that? "Sho-nuf"? "Massa"? "Lawdy me"? As a light tan person of (mostly) Northern European descent, raised on military posts in the northern and western US, these are expressions that I'd associate with other light tan people of Northern European descent from the deep South. The medium and dark brown people of African and mixed European and African descent that I knew growing up mostly spoke what I'd call standard Midwestern English.

The Black Americans that I know and most respect are those who have been able to both acknowledge their own history and integrate into the larger American culture. They know the difference between someone who does not share their heritage using "their" expressions either honestly or disrespectfully. I heard a Navajo tell an Ole and Lena joke last week. Was she purposely insulting Norwegians? I don't think so.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 07:42 PM

Hilda Fish, I love your fire.

And I am not as cold as you may think.

Thank you for tellin it like it is.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 07:58 PM

Biskit: Peace is a goal, not a fait accompli.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 08:02 PM

Racial no no

3.failure to recognize that-regardless of the realities that White people also picked cotton- and regardless of the fact that enslaved African Americans also worked in tobacco plantations and did other manual labor, skilled labor, and artistic work-in the United States "picking cotton" is shorthand for African American slavery.

Therefore, American folk songs about picking cotton are going to be considered songs about African American slavery.

And regardless of whether a Black person wrote or popularized these songs, in the early years of the 21st century, uptempo songs about picking cotton are going to be considered disrespectful of enslaved Black people.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 08:16 PM

Racial no no

4. Playing banjo music to celebrate Black American history and
   culture would be considered offensive to many African Americans
   as we {perhaps more than White Americans} consider this
   instrument to be part of the caricature of the watermelon eating,
   pop eyed Southern widely grining slave who was happy in his
   servitude.

See this excerpt from this article:

http://www.berkshireweb.com/rogovoy/concerts/trishka.html


"Perhaps more than any other instrument, the banjo lacks respect, as much for the style of music it is typically associated with as for its peculiar sound....

That instrument was brought to these shores by African slaves, who used it to accompany their own social gatherings. The banjo made its first leap into white hands via minstrelsy, the popular, mid-19th century entertainment which first brought African culture to white audiences. By the turn of the century, American blacks were viewing the banjo as "the instrument of slavery" while in white culture it had made the transition to high society. Tuxedo-clad musicians used it to play light classical, ragtime and marches.

The banjo continued its cross-cultural journey in the hands of African-American jug-band musicians such as "Banjo Joe" Cannon at approximately the same time that Tennessee comic entertainer "Uncle Dave" Macon was popularizing string-band tunes such as "Turkey in the Straw." ...

In mid-century, bluegrass players including Earl Scruggs and Ralph Stanley codified the three-finger, "clawhammer"-style of playing which is probably most familiar to general audiences today. In the 1960s, playing with Bill Monroe's bluegrass group, banjoist Bill Keith used the instrument to play fiddle lines, while Pete Seeger was exposing the instrument to mainstream audiences during the great folk scare of that decade."


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Bobert
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 08:19 PM

Well, MiziAzizi, there's also songs that are post-emancipation yet very much written and sung during the Jim Crow years, many of them blues songs...

Yeah, it might not have been about slavery but as a black man or woman livin' in the South during the heighth of Jim Crow weren't much better, and fir some folks a lot worse...

Shoot, still ain't in some areas... I was down outside Como, Mississippi two years ago with Tweed and Rev Slick an we were way back in the boonies where black folks was livin' like therir grandparents woulda lived... Lotta o' folks with no electricty, even and workin' on farms fir next to nuthin'...

Spend an afternoon at Ms. Mary's house playin' music on her porch wid some other folks and her kids runnin' 'round and she din't have no electricity...

Even got some piccures of her place over at Tweedsblues.com under "Como Cronicles" wid a piccure of me playin' on her porch...

Just thought that needed to get throwed into the mix...

Bobert

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Biskit
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 08:30 PM

Peace,
True, peace should be the ultimate goal,.. through understanding of different cultures and people. Understanding is best accopmplished by the intelligent exchange of ideas, understanding that there will be cultural differences, and accepting them if they do no harm.
While I respect Azizi's choice to not like banjo music, I'm lost as to why not liking it would show respect to her ancestors, since the instrument originated in Africa, and was played by Africans... Is it because it was also played by white folks? some of them owning slaves from Africa, How could the Banjo be held accountable for the sins, or graciousness of the person playing it? I'm sure many of the folks fighting and dying to abolish the practice of treating people as real property played the banjo too. Just as I always sign my posts, Peace! Through Understanding,...I'm just trying to understand..Azizi??
Peace!Through Understanding
~Biskit~


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: number 6
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 08:36 PM

Thanks for this thread Azizi.

"We shouldn't re-write history, we should teach it." .. I can't agree with this more. Teach the Truth.

"The thing is that people DO know." .. People do know, but they choose look the other way ... the recent tragedy in New Orleans is testament to this.

Words are more than just words, songs are more than just songs. We all have to be responsible.

Political Correctness should not be a tool for the end means of political agendas .. it should be a tool for human decency.

sIx


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 08:51 PM

And for an example of Black dialect talk, check out----Bobert!

Seriously...

Yes, I know that Bobert is what we call a blue eyed soul brother..
which is not the same as a Black wannabe [or wannabe Black].

So does this mean that there is little difference between White Southern dialects and what people refer to as Black Southern dialect? I don't know. I'm not a linguist. But there certainly seems to be a lot of similarities to me.

But my point in bringing up the topic of Southern dialect in this thread is that-rightly or wrongly-I believe [outside of higher education discussions/study]one sure way of turning off Black people in the early 21st century is to sing a minstrel song or share a poem that is full of Black Southern dialect.

"Southern dialect" talk is associated with slavery and Black people have been taught to be ashamed of their slave ancestry

Dialect is associated with someone from the rural area which equals "country" which equals "hick."

Take African American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar for example. Dunbar is best known for his writings in dialect because that is what the White folks would buy. Because he is seen as a dialect poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar is no longer respected by contemporary Black Americans and even poems praising Black people such as "When Malindy Sings" are seldom recited now. Here is that poem:

WHEN MALINDAY SINGS

G'way an' quit dat noise, Miss Lucy-
Put dat music book away;
What's de use to keep on tryin'?
Ef you practise twell you're gray...

You ain't got de nachel o'gans
Fu' to make de soun' come right,
You ain't got de tu'ns an' twistin's
Fu' to make it sweet an' light....

Easy 'nough fu' folk to hollah,
Lookin' at de lines an' dots,
When dey ain't no one kin sence it,
An' de chune comes in, in spots.

Source: http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/poets/a_f/dunbar/malindy.htm

-snip-

Although I like the spirit this poem, some of its words are difficult to understand. For instance, what is the meaning of:
"When dey ain't no one kin sence it,
An' de chune comes in, in spots." ???


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 08:59 PM

Tacial no no

5. If you want to entertain Black Americans, forget the "Mammy" songs.

There are some Southern dialect words that I think are offensive by to Black people [in the United States] and maybe elsewhere just because they've been tarred with negative connotations & stereotypical images so long, they may be incapable of ever being redeemed. "Mammy" is such a word.

In my opinion, another song that would have gotten that school choir in big trouble with Black folks, is the song "Shortnin Bread".

Of course, they could avert that trouble if they changed the words to "Mammy's little baby loves shortnin, shortnin" to
"Mama's little baby etc".

Needless to say, using any Shortnin Bread verse that has "the N-word" would also be a no no [see Racial no no #1].


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 09:06 PM

"Tacial" is not a new word..but it is a typo.

*****

Racial no no

6. Dressing up in rags, Aunt Jemima long dresses with aprons, and head scarfs tied in front as a bandana, and for the Uncle Tom/Unble Ben's men [wear what?? pants and rags???] while singing "Negro folk songs" or "Negro spirituals."

I hope I'm reaching here...I mean nodody would do this, right?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 09:15 PM

Racial No No

7. Putting cork or otherwise blackening up one's face [and wearing Afro wigs???-shades of another Mudcat thread!] while playing the banjo and/or singing minstrel songs


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Amos
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 09:16 PM

I would suggest that both Hilda Fish and Azizi are bright flames and very much on the side of the angels in this matter; Hilda recognizes with uncompromising keeness the use of some language to undermine or weaken classes and kinds of people by innuendo or tacit positioning.

However, there is (I think) a very clear and important difference in intent that must be taken into account. I have often sung "Pick a Bale of Cotton" with my wife and daughter on long road trips, in three part harmony, and I have often song "Wade in the Water" and "Keep Your Hand on the Plow" as well.

In every case I was singing to celebrate the song, and the music of it, and kick-ass spirit behind it. The idea that doing this is in some way a negative reflection or comment on African Americans, their grace, capability, or dignity, is laughable to me. It is possible that when you don't take intent into account carefully you end up holding onto hyper-sensitivities that are elective and arbitrary rather than being tokens of the context that actually deserves your wrath.

I cannot change the history of this country, but I could and did take action to change the state of civil rights in the 60's, and I have worked closely with people of every color under the sun from tar-black to red and yellow, and so far, after forty years of doing so, don't seem to have given any of them the impression I thought less of them, or was trying to pigeonhole them, because of their color.

The biggest thing any one person can do to counteract bigotry and prejudice and pigeonholing is to be alert to differences, and understand when things seem similar why they do, and seek to counteract the avid "associationism" of the unthinking side of our natures.

That would also include deciding to take offense at things and actions that are similar to, superficially, but in fact very different from instances of bigotry or racially-motivated condescension. Which might well include singing "Go Down Moses", "Jacob's Ladder", "All God's Children Got Shoes", or "Pick a Bale of Cotton", all of which I consider joyful musical treasures, not racial epithets.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 09:25 PM

Racial No Nos

8. [outside of or along with educational study/discussion]
   showcasing songs or poems that lament being Black.

Such as this 'classic':

Cold empty bed...springs hurt my head
Feels like ole Ned...wished I was dead
What did I do...to be so black and blue

Even the mouse...ran from my house
They laugh at you...and all that you do
What did I do...to be so black and blue

I'm white...inside...but, that don't help my case
That's life...can't hide...what is in my face

How would it end...ain't got a friend
My only sin...is in my skin
What did I do...to be so black and blue

(instrumental break)

How would it end...I ain't got a friend
My only sin...is in my skin
What did I do...to be so black and blue

[Recorded by Louis Armstrong July 22, 1929 with his Orchestra.
He also recorded the song in 1955 with his All Stars.]

http://tinpan.fortunecity.com/riff/11/frame/b9.html

-snip-

What??? "I'm white...inside...but, that don't help my case"

"My only sin...is in my skin
What did I do...to be so black and blue"

I've been told that in African tradition, art should not be solely for art's sake. What does this song say to Black children, youth, and adults? And what does it say to non-Black children, youth, and adults about the virtues of not being Black?

I DESPISE this song.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Janie
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 09:40 PM

Hmmmm....pondering...pondering....

It is about understanding and respect...and that has to flow both ways. All of us have cultural and/or ethnic and/or historic, etc., etc., etc. paradigms. And All of us have distorted vision, or an inaccurate roadmap of reality, because our paradigms function as lenses and are never clear or colorless.

I value what you are courageous enough to share, Azizi. And you also have your own distortions with which to deal.

My hope would be that conversations such as this can help all of us see more clearly. Each of our points of view are valid within our own paradigms. Scary.

Janie


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Biskit
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 11:30 PM

Thank You Janie!
still wish you'd 'splain that whole banjo thing Azizi,
Peace! Through Understanding
~Biskit~


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: freda underhill
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 11:45 PM

I'm currently working closely with Muslim Australians. these issues come up, and it's interesting seeing how people interact. Some people like to shake hands, some don't, some are into the hijab, some aren't. The debate about who "should" do this or that is pushed here by the radio shock jocks - usually lecturing Muslim Australians about what they "should" do.

as with any community, there's a range of people, views and approaches. where it gets tough is people analysing each other and their motives - if someone's intention is good, but they make some social booboo, i don't focus on that but just keep connecting. and they are usually good enough to do the same with me.

it's illuminating to hear people's stories - and songs. that's where it all comes out.

freda


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Bard Judith
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 11:51 PM

I'm surprised by my own naivete:

The words I heard/learned for the "Pick a Bale" song when I was a child (off a taped-from-a-record borrowed-cassette) were

"Oh, Mandy, pick a bale of cotton, oh, Mandy, pick a bale a day..." No 'Lordy', which to us would have been an irreverence that would have drawn disapproval from my conservative fundamentalist parents.

And the high-energy, pulsingly rhythmic styling of the music reinforced my innocent conception of the words as a 'bragging song': "Me and my partner, we can pick a bale of cotton...me and my wife, we can pick a bale a day...Jump down! Spin around! Pick a bale a day!"

We had an enormous 'tuck garden' as we were growing up; all of us children used to have to take our turn at the hoeing, cultivating, weeding, harvesting, etc. that was associated with the expanse, and we would sing this, along with many folk work songs such as 'Sixteen Tons', 'Working on the Railroad', 'Halifax Line', 'Leave 'er Johnny', etc. I remember us singing the lines from Belafonte's 'Day-O' quite pointedly at my father when we thought we had been down there long enough: "Work all night till the morning come! Daylight come and I wanna go home...."

I hadn't thought about/ remembered the 'Pick a Bale of Cotton' song for many years until the recent post to the forum. An 'of course!' moment may not happen as frequently for me these days, but they do still occur.


And I was also shocked to discover that a counting rhyme I have used equally innocently for years with the words 'catch a tiger by the toe' apparently had a far different noun (and intent) in its original inception.

So - am I guilty of racism and reinforcing stereotypes? Or merely ignorance? Is 'ignorance of the law' - or in this case the background, history, and etymologies involved - no excuse? And should I find another counting-out rhyme when arbitrarily choosing children for the games I play daily with them?






[I'm sure Azizi (at the least) will answer (the last question at the least!) because I know she has a passion for children's rhymes :) ]


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: katlaughing
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 11:51 PM

Azizi, thanks for this thread. Just scanning it right now, will read it in more depth when I have more time. One comment I would like to make:

I had the distinct pleasure of having dinner with Morris Dees, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a few years ago, in Wyoming. We were discussing the different ways in which ethnic groups were described. He said the NYTimes turned down an essay of his, one time, in which he refered to other Americans, not by their racial background, as in African American or Asian American, but by what he believes to be more accurate, that is American of African or Asian descent, or whatever other ethnic background they may be. Here's a published op/ed piece of mine which reflects what he said. I hope you don't mind my posting it in this thread:

Check your pejorative at the door

   The term, politically correct, meant to nurture an environment of tolerance and equality, has itself become a "dirty word" in reference to those of us who would be inclusive and just plain nice. In that light, then, I am using a new term: "ethically conscious" instead of the much maligned PC.

   As one who has studied the power of the spoken word for a long time and worked on bias crimes legislation for the past six years, I find nothing wrong in changing the language to reflect an enlightened consciousness. I believe one of the beauties of language is that it can change and be added to.

   I have also adopted what I consider to be the ethically conscious language of Morris Dees, of the Southern Poverty Law Center. He refers to other Americans, not by their racial background, as in African American or Asian American, but by what he believes to be more accurate, that is American of African or Asian descent.

   Our subconscious is not objective. Like a computer it takes in anything we feed it and, believes it to be the truth. That's why advertising works so well.

   If we don't change what people hear, especially what children hear, how can we hope for an improvement of society for all people? Take a child and use negative language around him, day in and day out, and it will have a detrimental effect. If we don't speak up when we are offended or hurt, things will never change; injustice will be served and none the wiser, or better off.

   I am not advocating control of anybody's speech or mind. Privately, anybody is free to declare whatever they want. What I am concerned about is in general society. On the eve of the a new century, let alone a millennium, there are still people who would welcome societal approval of once again posting "no coloureds allowed" in their businesses' windows.

   As a friend of mine recently noted, "The hate mongers are governed by the same laws that govern the rest of us. If we fight them, and we must, we do so within reasoned application of the law, diligent law enforcement, and organized social pressure; we must all practice responsible, considerate behaviors. Our words and deeds must be those of sensitive adults who display acceptance and open minds to all people."

   When those who harbour hate for a race, gender, or whatever, are expected to be polite or ethical in the language they use in society, it means one more person, who may have been the object of their hatred, escapes the degradation of spirit, feelings of despair, and, even anger such terms may cause. Collectively, we can demand a more enlightened rhetoric to pervade our daily, mass consciousness. It does have an effect. If we don't work towards a change in mass consciousness, towards the upliftment of all humankind, then what are we even doing here?

   With corporations, educational institutions, and government entities having their own ethics committees and training programs, it seems the politically correct thing to do in declaring ourselves ethically conscious or "EC" in keeping with the goals of a better world for all.

© 12/09-99 OoBraughLoo Press All rights reserved

Thanks,

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: number 6
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 11:57 PM

Thanks for that post Kat.

I've been reading through this thread, certainly one of the best here in the Mudcat .. very good, thought-provoking.

sIx


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: number 6
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 12:06 AM

"ethically conscious"

Ones who are victims of prejudice, discrimination must persevere in educating the non-victims.

sIx


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: hilda fish
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 12:16 AM

"All of us have cultural and/or ethnic and/or historic, etc., etc., etc. paradigms. And All of us have distorted vision, or an inaccurate roadmap of reality, because our paradigms function as lenses and are never clear or colorless." Absolutely and I would never dream of denying people their identity, culture, vision or dreams, - I only demand a bit of intelligent analysis of the society we are living it. It's not too much to ask really. The songs we sing and the poems we recite, the marks we make, all reflect our politics both individually and culturally. Having said that, and it is important, I have to say it is not what I am firing up about. Discrimination, racism and genocide come from INEQUALITY - come from the poltitics we choose and the means we take either consciously or unsconciously to express these views, not from a particular cultural, ethnic or historic paradigm per se. It is not individualised although the solution can be. For example, to say that we are all human, despite our colour, (as is often said) denies BLACK history as we, as the 'other' would never say that - it is a political statement, a statement of a political relationship in the world that very much encapsulates whether one is of the dominant (read white). We (BLACK - includes all those who know who they are) know who we call 'brother' and 'sister' and that is about first of all recognising our common oppression, our lack of equality in OUR worlds, which are often side by side with that other world which deludes itself often with making the dream of equality a reality by simply saying "what we need is a great big melting pot" (what about THAT one Azzizi?) We can all be held accountable historically for what we would like the world to be, but then we'll be dead, and what the world actually is, will be inherited by the generations as yet unborn. "Here is your gift from us baby spirit - hope you live to enjoy it". It is interesting where there has been strong collaboration between say, artists of Indigenous and non-Indigenous backgrounds, or Afro-American and white European background, or Latin American and white American background (and on and on) - where two sides of the equal/unequal coin meet and communicate on creativity. The first thing that is most often covered is exactly that - how equality or not works for them. And in most cases they do hold themselves accountable to not only historical creativity and cultural history itself, but to current race/class politics. I've loved observing these collaborations and the results of them, the best ones I've seen have been between Irish and Indigenous people. Mick Dodson here in Australia said that "all we want is social justice, the chance to put bread on the table, a roof over our heads, get the children educated, have the dog not treat you like a stranger, have the neighbour not have the word 'coon' in their language." It is the last that kills. It is not individual as genocide is not individual - it is a poltical act in the same way that mental illness among minorities is not a medical problem but a political problem. I am wondering if I am making sense here. Now, it is Eastern and Middle Eastern people who have become UNEQUAL and it is awful. But welcome to the club. We'll show you how to duck the club and steal the food and bury your babies, handle prison, discrimination, and people treating you like you are the invisible dog. Meanwhile all, what about a rousing - I was going to say "Pick A Bale Of Cotton" but I like the idea of "Forever Young" better.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: number 6
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 12:21 AM

"I like the idea of "Forever Young" better."

... me too.

sIx


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 12:45 AM

Words have the ability to hurt, condemn, inspire, rekindle hope and instill pride.

"At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. Oh! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation's ear, I would today pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be denounced."

from Frederick Douglass. Complete speech here.

However, Hilda's writing above (both pieces) brought to mind an exchange I had with a friend two decades ago. Joe had asked me what I perceived to be the greatest problem facing the world. I replied, "Nuclear weapons." I asked him what he thought. He replied, "Poverty." I asked why he thought that to be more 'urgent' than nuclear weapons. He said, "Because for poor people, the bomb has already dropped."

Indeed. Racism, poverty, institutional hatred: They are political acts. Sadly, indeed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Maryrrf
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 12:59 AM

Interesing to come across this thread. I have just come from an amazing concert by Rhiannon Giddens and her musical partner Dom Flemmons. Rhiannon is at the forefront of the Black Banjo
movement and was one of the first organizers of the Black Banjo Gathering
. She is an amazing, multitalented young woman, as at home picking the banjo or playing the fiddle, as she is starring in a lavish opera production, singing an Appalachian ballad, or belting out a blues number. Oh and here's a link to her band Sankofa Strings . And here's an article that appeared back in May in the Richmond Times Dispatch about Rhiannon


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: mg
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 01:05 AM

hilda fish said "Think peoples, it is not the white nations of this world who are starving, it is not the white nations of this world who have unacceptable infant mortality rates, it is not the white young generations who are in prison and in despair, in totality." But unfortunately some at least very recently have been starving, have had horrible infant mortality rates, and some would deliberately get put in prison so they would get something to eat. REmember how awful the stories and pictures were coming out of Romania just a few years ago//literally naked children..or covered with soot from the tire factories..the infant mortality in places like russia and estonia was horrifying..i don't know what it is now..hopefully better..the old people with nothing but potatoes and maybe a spot of tea...there are infomercials actually right now about aid programs for them...the children in places like pakistan 9sorry my keyboard is really sticking..and afghanistan and iran..you could not tell a good many of them from american children..and many are very very hungry and sick..and at least a few years ago when i still had the energy to fight school boards etc. they had to claim themselves as caucasian in the registrations...so there is no shortage of misery probably anywhere in teh world..which just means we have to expand our notions of where it is and look for solutions where we can find them....mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 02:31 AM

Should anyone her care what racial grouping I come from or what they may intentionally or unintentionally say to offend me in reference to my racial grouping?

Should I also supply a list of what these might be?

Should everyone else posting here also supply a list?

There are real problems facing all of us - we can make special cases for our particular racial groupings and demand that others make some sort of effort to try and make-up for some of the terrible things of the past and present. I feel this approach - no matter how understandable - simply binds us all to the past and will not allow any of us to move on to find better ways of living together.

The banjo is just an instrument - a tool if you like - and the music it produces and how we judge this music is a matter of taste. I suggest it is less what music that has been played upon it but what we all now choose to play.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST,KT
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 02:34 AM

Like Judith, I too, learned the song asa child, with the lyrics, "Oh, Mandy...." My interpretation of the song was always one of joy. To my understanding, it was, like much of the music that came from that time, a testimony to the incredible strength of human spirit, which allowed those who were singing, to find joy, despite the conditions which caused them to be there. That interpretation caused me to have nothing but respect for those who were actually in those fields.

I think this thread is an invitation to be sensitive....sensitive to the feelings of others, but also sensitive to the idea of intention. As important as it is to be sensitive to others' feelings with regard to language, it is equally important to be sensitive with regard to the intentions of others. Although I never have done so, imagining myself teaching that song to children, there would be nothing but reverance in doing so. That would be an important part of the teaching.

I'd like your opinion about something, Azizi. At my regular gig, I am often asked to sing "Amazing Grace." Knowing the story of how John Newton came to write the song, I have given a lot of thought to whether or not it is appropriate to share that story with the audience prior to singing the song. My intention would be to educate those who were unfamiliar with the story, but would not want to offend anyone of African ancestry in doing so. What do you think?

KT


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 05:39 AM

Peace, I love you man, but I think you might have been a little too harsh on Shambles for is 19 Nov 05 - 06:24 PM post. Despite his legendary inability to be clear and concise, I kind of understand where he's coming from. Someone said further up that context is important (and it is), and the same holds for backgrounds. Roger's background shapes a lot of his perspective, and so does mine. Neither of us grew up in the US, we only know some of the pressures that have existed in these matters second hand (films, books, friends). We lived in a different world to yours, with different pressure points.

Now, if a Turk calls me "giaour", the term for "Greek slave" in the Ottoman days, I know he's joking, and he usually is.

I don't want to offend anyone - neither does Roger, I am sure of that. And I try to be sensitive to such issues and choose my words accordingly. But I also cannot help feeling increasingly oppressed by a sense of political correcness that (in my view) is tending towards becoming a cause by itself. The sensitivity is real, I accept that, and some PC rules are needed to help; but the real balm for relationships is true acceptance (not just with words) of the differences in each other, to a point where they no longer matter.

I repeat - some PC rules are needed. But I argue that excessive political correctness, instead of breaching that gap, can highlight it and so become a barrier to achieving true "comfort" with each other.

I don't pretend to know any answers. I sympathise with those who are sensitised by the past. But I would also ask for sympathy for those who strive to ignore such differences altogether, and find it oppressive having to learn new rules for behaviour (year on year), that seem unnecessary to them. I think Roger is one such, and so am I. It isn't ignorance or callousness - it's trying to go "one better".


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 05:45 AM

I meant "bridging", not breaching, of course..


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Ron Davies
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 07:25 AM

Henry Clay Work again--

As I said earlier, he was a very strong abolitionist. But he wrote in the style of his time.

Marching Through Georgia, as you know, salutes the defeat of the South and the end of slavery. Yet some of the lyrics are unquestionably offensive today:

"How the darkies shouted when they heard the joyful sound
How the turkeys gobbled which our commissary found
How the sweet potatoes even started from the ground
While we were marching through Georgia".

You already have big trouble singing that song in large parts of the South (still)--Sherman is not their favorite person.

Now it appears there are also large portions of the North where you'd best not sing it.

This seems the height of irony.

I submit you should be able to sing it (at least in the North) if you explain before singing it what I said above---that Work was a very strong abolitionist, but wrote in the style of his time---and that times have definitely changed.

Otherwise is this song not to be sung at all--or bowdlerized by changing words?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: *daylia*
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 08:07 AM

I don't like or use offensive or "racially-sensitive" language myself - I never have. Spent many years trying to offset and eliminate what my own kids (most unfortunately) learned at school and in the playgrounds. BUt I refuse to waste energy keeping tabs on my speech 24/7, never letting some innocent word like "black" (?) slip out, in case someone might take offense!

I figure if people insist on being offended when obviously no offense was intended, if they have a habit of overlooking the context of my words in their zeal to point a PC finger, well - that's their problem. Not mine.

A couple questions:

As a little kid, I'd learned the rhyme Peace mentioned this way: "Eeeny meeny miney mo, catch a FARMER by the toe ..." I ask you, is "Farmer" any less bigoted than the "N" word? Is my version more acceptable because it makes no reference to the color of the farmer's skin?

I think not! Maybe a more enlightened version would be "Catch a folkie by the toe"?   :-)

Another question: I'm sitting here at my computer, "invisible". Most of you don't know me from a hole in the ground, can only guess whether my skin might be red, pink, brown, yellow, white, black or purple with lime-green polka-dots. If I were to post something like "oh please don't keep me in the DARK!" or "after all that hassle yesterday my mood was pretty BLACK", or even dared to quote a few lines from "Cotton Fields" (CCR) or "Ole Black Joe" or "Nobody Knows De Trouble I Seen" - would certain sensitive PC souls be lining up to find out what colour my own skin might be before they decided to take offense and accuse me of bigotry?

I'm into peace and freedom for all, no matter what colour they are or social background they hail from. This includes developing enough peace of mind and self-assurance that I don't take offence where obviously none was intended, and practicing freedom of speech for all.

daylia


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 08:18 AM

My intent in starting this thread was to share my view on what things turn White people may innocently or purposely do that are offensive to African Americans.

I am grateful to Hilda Fish for deepening the discussion to the politics of inequity.

It is my opinion that this politics of inequality not only is responsible for education, employment, housing, health care, child welfare, public welfare, juvenile justice, criminal justice, and other forms of unjust laws, regulations, and treatments for people of color and the poor of any race.

I believe that this politics of inequality is created and maintained by propaganda, including such tactics as divide & conquer by appealing to societal propagated racial & religious prejudices. In doing so the powerful monied people [who are almost all White] stay in power.

I agree with mg who wrote that there are many poor White people in this world. I believe that these people suffer as a result of this international power system.

I believe the ones with real power could care less about the race or color or ethnicity of poor people. Green is the color they worship.

But though it may be minor in the scheme of things, I believe that it is still important to alert people who are well meaning to those things that members of one race may find offensive.

When it comes to tearing down self-esteem, what someone may consider minor often leaves lasting pain.

I know this and, regardless of your race, I'm sure that some of you have had experiences that confirm this.

Can we make a difference?

Yes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 08:56 AM

Thanks Maryrrf. I'm glad to know that there are people of color who are re-claiming the banjo. There are new generations of African Americans who may not automatically equate the banjo with US slavery or artificially blackened faced minstrel music. I think it is wonderful for them [and for us oldtimers] to have new or re-created banjo music {or music that includes the banjo] that better appeals to our aesthetics.

I particularly applaud Rhiannon Giddens for coming up with the name "Sankofa Strings". "Sankofa" is an Akan {Ghana, West Africa} adinkra pictorial symbol and proverb which means "It is never to late to go back and reclaim that which you have left behind." Since the late 1980s, or earlier African Americans have widely adopted the word "Sankofa" and one of its pictorial symbols [a bird standing with his head looking backwards] as a symbol for our connection with our roots. BTW, multicolored kente cloth, another symbol that African Americans have adopted to express our pride in African culture, also comes from the Akan people. African Americans pronounce "Sankofa" like this {sand-KOH-fah}.

As an aside, I think if the word "Sankofa" hadn't conformed with African American sound aesthetics,it wouldn't have been so widely received regardless of its meaning. Part of that aesthetics is a strong preference for words [including personal names] that have two to three syllables and end with an "a". Check out the large number of Arabic and contemporary African Americans female names that have an "a" at the end [for example "Aliyah" {the Arabic 'h" is usually dropped or not pronounced}. Other examples of 'a' ending female names given to popular with African Americans are "Maisha", "Aisha" "Chantiqua", "Taneka". "Kenya" is a Kikuyu {East African} word and nation name that is quite common among African Americans as a [mostly] female name, simply because of its two syllable formation and the "a" ending...


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 09:02 AM

I agree with that George, and, further to your last paragraph, I find myself wondering why the one word that is conspicuous by its absence throughout this thread is "forgiveness".

Terrible things have happened to many groups of human beings throughout our history, and in all parts of this planet. This we all know, and for most of us they engender feelings of horror, regret, and shame.

Having said that, it is also true that none of us are responsible for the actions of people who mostly died before we were born. We can only look to our own actions in the here and now, and strive to find a better way to build relationships in the future.

Those who cannot let the past be past, and hug to themselves the bitterness and anger that they quite naturally feel, can be a major stumbling block to future unity. Alternatively they can choose to say "I forgive", and move forward.

When someone treats me badly, I CAN choose to hate him forever, but I choose not to, because I believe that doing so will damage me much more than him.

If one truly forgives, IMHO, one is less likely to perceive insult where none is intended. There will always be those few who DO intend hurt and insult to those they see as different, but I look forward to the day when the watchword is not "look what your ancestors did to us", but rather "look what we can do TOGETHER".

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 09:13 AM

Thread drift [somewhat]

My intention was to include a link in my last post that showed examples of kente cloth.

Here is one such link:
Kente cloth

I also meant to say that the various colors used in those cloths connect with the adinkra proverbs. African Americans have used this cloth [which traditionally is reserved for funerals and special occasions] for umbrellas, wrapping paper, place mats, and all sorts of mundane things. Kente cloth neck banners with the cross symbol are also very popular with Black ministers. Either traditional kente cloth banners ["stoles" sp?] or multi-colored with with Black university Greek letter sorority or fraternity names are also very popular with African American college graduates.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST,A
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 09:40 AM

The "naive" one has returned. (me)
After re-reading this thread and particulary Azizi's opening post, I find no problem with the discussion.
What I do find interesting is the constant reference to "Whites" saying things that are offensive to "Blacks". I was in Elementary school grades with Black kids, on to High School and College and did not pay attention to ethnicity, only how we treated one another.

I don't understand Boberts speaking "Slave Talk" as I did not grow up in the 1800 hundreds. I have some black aquaintances and friends but not because I talk and act like them (I am White) We do "the handshake" because they instigate it and I consider that a honor. I am still very clumsy at it. NOT with it but at it.

To my point - the reference of White making negative comments that may offend Blacks is overshawdowed in my surroundings by the comments that Black politicians make about other Black politicians. I bring up the political aspect as it is the only negativity I experience.
Examples;

A councilwoman in Detriot emceeing a "roast" that named the Black Mayor "Sambo sellout of the year."

Maryland Repub. Lt. Governor Steele, candidate for the US Sentate, being pelted with Oreos the past couple years. By Blacks, he is Black.

In Ohio, Sec. Of State Blackwell being called "Whitewell" by Al Sharpton. Blackwell is Black.

In the case of Steele (Maryland) A Black Democratic blogger refers to Steele as "Simple Sambo" and caricatured him in minstrel makeup with the caption "I's Simple Sambo and I's running for the Big House."
Marlyland State Sen. Lisa Gladden, a Black Democrat, defends the attacks on Steele as "Party trumps Race."

The above is my secondhand experience with racial overtones. I have not had any firsthand experience that I can remember over the past 30 years.
Comments, Azizi? Asked for in a very humble way although perhaps a naive way.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 10:26 AM

katlaughing, thanks for sharing your op.ed article. I love your way with words! And Morris Dees is a wonderful, courageous man who I greatly admire.

That said, in my opinion, since Americans are notorious for our preference for shortened terms, I think that "Americans of African descent" and other such referents will not gain currency in place of shorter terms such as "African American" or "Asian Americans".

****

Peace, thanks for that excerpt and link to that speech by Frederick Douglass, another courageous and eloquent man.

And Peace, one of these days you have to show me how to make blue clickies. Mine always turn up red.

****

Bard Judith,

I facilitate a group of children who meet weekly in an after-school program that explores the creative & performing arts potential of traditional & contemporary African American children's rhymes.
At the end of those sessions, the children often play team games. I have heard children use the choosing it rhyme "Eenie meenie minie moo/ catch a tiger buy the toe/ if he hollers let him go/ eenie, meenie, miney mo". I don't think these children [ages 5-12 years] no that the "N-word" was once used with this rhyme. I haven't shared that with them since I don't think that that would be appropriate in those sessions with mixed age groups.

I also used the same choosing it [or elimination] rhyme when I was growing up in Atlantic City, New Jersey in the 1950s. Except that I remember adding this ending "Out goes the rat/out goes the cat/out goes the lady with the see-saw hat".

And daylia, I never heard the word "farmer" used instead of 'tiger' in this rhyme. And yes, of course, using the term "farmer" with no use of the offense "N-word" is better. Wouldn't you think so?

I do think that 'black' being used always as a negative is hurtful. I think that the rhyme "Sticks & stones may break my bones/but names will never hurt me" isn't true. Words do hurt.

And obviously I think that there are times such as now when it adds context and information for posters to share racial/ethnic and gender identifiers.

****
Ron Davies,

I'm just being introduced to the work of Henry Clay Work.

As to "bowdlerizing a tune by changing words", "bowdlerizing" is a new term for me too. The meaning of words change with the times. Sometimes replacing a now offensive word "works", and sometimes it doesn't. I guess it depends on the word and the song.

****

El Greko,

You wrote "some PC rules are needed. But I argue that excessive political correctness, instead of breaching that gap, can highlight it and so become a barrier to achieving true "comfort" with each other." As to excessive political correctness, it depends on what the meaning of "excessive" is. Unfortunately, those in power are mostly the ones to determine the meaning of "excessive".

****
GUEST,KT,

"Amazing Grace" is a often sung in African American churches. Some Black people know its history and some don't. Yet, despite, its history many African American [including me]have a high regard for the tune and words to this song. Maybe people use this as a sign that God uses whoever He desires to do His will.

****
Don(Wyziwyg)T,

I hate institutional systems that perpetrate inequality. I hate those who often behind the scenes people who keep those systems strong. I don't hate those people who are well meaning but don't realize the hurt that can be caused by certain words and actions.

Yes, sure I forgive people who think nothing of calling Black people N---gs. And I want to alert people to the fact that there are some things that we think are offensive that White people do. As I have said before, this doesn't mean that other things or the same things would be offensive if Black people did them.

And even though people may not publicly or privately call people
N---gs, political, mass media, educational, health care, welfare, housing etc systems are still in place that treat Black people and other people as N---gs.

Those systems perpetuate inequity. And because of them, if the world still exist, our children may be having these same conversations 20 years from now.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: wysiwyg
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 10:38 AM

Ummmmmmm....... Isn't it interesting that the whole paradigm of the thread appears to be based on narrow subsets of only two of the world's flavors?

One frame of reference I needed to learn about quick, once, was the stuff that goes on between peoples often lumped together as "Hispanics." In planning outreach for a Spanish-language mass in the Chicago area, friends were quick to inform us that we would need to know how to avoid giving not only GENERAL offense to the people we perceived as one group, but PARTICULAR offense to the many, MANY peoples lumped into that group-- peoples who don't get usually along with the other folks they're lumped with, and whose individual cultures and histories with one another and with dominant/conquering groups are vastly different.

Hopefully, people can learn to generalize underlying principles of respect, as opposed to memorizing sets of rules specific to each group. :~) That's part of what I meant in my earlier post, "flexible thinking."

We need to THINK, and let our behavior reflect that.... otherwise it's too easy to perpetuate racism inadvertently, by assuming and communicating, "Noticing that your skin is darker than mine, I'm assuming you're African American, and so therefore you expect me to xxxx."

I think most of us don't want to exchange rigid, negative stereotypes for rigid rules of behavior based on others' assumed heritage....

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Ron Davies
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 10:46 AM

I think it's obvious that no song should be written now with the word "darkies" in it. But "Marching Through Georgia" is a historical artifact,-- written by a man very much in favor of emancipation. It seems that the song could be sung, as is, with that explanation.

No?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Terry K
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 10:54 AM

Well I'm buggered if I'm going to go around treading on eggshells for fear of offending someone. If anyone is offended by anything I say or do, I suggest you turn the other cheek and get on with your life, just as I and everyone else has to do just about every day. Life's not perfect, never will be. Tough.

Just as an aside, religious people tend to offend me deeply - religous differences being the root cause of most of the world's ills; will I ever stop them doing it? - not a chance, so I have to put up with it. Doesn't mean to say I like it, but I have to accept that some people still do want to hang on to dangerous nonsense like that.

So if I was to want to pick a bale of cotton and some people didn't like it? As a very great man once said "Tell me all your troubles, I'll tell you who to call".


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 10:58 AM

I agree with Jerry Rasmussen who wrote upthread that
"There are some in any community who take great offense at the mildest statements, and others who are comfortable enough with themselves that they don't interpret every off-hand comment as an insult. You can see that here in Mudcat.."

I don't interpret ever statement off-hand or not as an insult. I often 'play past' {meaning ignore} some statement. But I also look for learning opportunities or create them-like this thread.

I have often said-and I repeat it here-that I am learning alot from being a member of Mudcat.

Besides for the knowledge that is shared here, there's another reason why I treasure Mudcat. There was a time in my life when I was desperately looking for good White people to conteract accounts of chattel slavery that I was reading, and accounts of the killing and maltreatment of Black people in the United States during the Civil Rights era, and the accounts of other atrocities perpetrated by White people toward people of color in the United States and throughout the rest of the world. I also needed and wanted to know that there were good White people out there to counteract the hurtful personal experiences with racism that I had.

That time has largely passed for me [meaning I'm not that desperate now]. But it is still good for me to have affirmation that there are people like you guys and gals out there.

I would imagine that there are some White people who are guests or members here who need to know that there are Black people who do not conform to the negative stereotypes that they have been consciously or unconsciously been taught.

Maybe Hilda Fish and I serve that purpose for those folks.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: KT
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 11:39 AM

Azizi, my question was not about the song itself, but the explanation of its origins. Would the explanation of the origins be offensive to you?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: *daylia*
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 11:51 AM

I never heard the word "farmer" used instead of 'tiger' in this rhyme.

Azizi, I like 'tiger' best of all.   :-D    May have heard it that way once or twice, but I didn't know the rhyme is of African origin. Thanks!

And yes, of course, using the term "farmer" with no use of the offense "N-word" is better. Wouldn't you think so?

Yes. And on the other hand, I just realized why the use of the word 'farmer'in that rhyme IS 'bigoted' (intended to slight/ridicule/harm a particular social group).

I learned that rhyme from my mother; she learned it where she was born and raised, in and around Edmonton Alberta. In the heart of ranch country, on the prairies of Western Canada.

In this cultural context, the substitution of "farmer" in the rhyme reveals certain urban/rural class divisions; social tension between the wealthy, educated, politically powerful urban classes and the rest of the prairie population (mostly poorer, "uneducated" farmers).

I do think that 'black' being used always as a negative is hurtful. I think that the rhyme "Sticks & stones may break my bones/but names will never hurt me" isn't true. Words do hurt.

Yes they do, and healing the damage (real or perceived) can be far more difficult, take much longer than healing a physical injury.

Thanks for the info, insights and food for thought, Azizi.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: bobad
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 11:52 AM

"atrocities perpetrated by White people toward people of color in the United States and throughout the rest of the world."

Indeed, as atrocities have and are being perpetrated by white people toward white people, by black people toward black people and by black people toward white people. No one group has a monopoly on the perpetration of atrocity.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 12:02 PM

its sort of odd for us English folk reading all this thread and the one that preceded it.

Most of us learned this song from Lonnie Donnegan. done in a million miles an hour, amphetamine fuelled skiffle style - and . Of couse we'd seen Harry belafonte do it - but it was Lonnie's version that blew our minds.

Similarly I don't think any of us had heard Parchman Farm before John Mayall sung it - again very fast! We obviously prefer our chain gangs to have a sort of hyperactive feel to them.

you have to respect peoples feelings and try not to hurt them. god knows its only music. there are enough serious things to get steamed up about - it just amazes me that there isn't a thread about more obvious injustices - the way there is a large unrepresentatively large number of black people on death row say - as opposed to getting angry about a song of very questionable offensiveness - and certainly not included as an act of malice.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST,A
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 12:19 PM

I was looking for a reply to my minor post and came across the ....."catch a Tiger by its' toe" mention.

Azizi, why would you even think about the possibility of calling it to the attention of the young people? They have obviously become accusomed to the "Tiger" terminology which could be attributed to their Parents/Grandparents outgrowing the use of the "other" due to education, enlightement and just plain proper behavior.I think most have come a long, long way and hope everyone else, regardless of color, is able to do the same thing.

The major problem here in the Midwest where I am most familiar is Black on Black crime with racial slurs basically unheard of.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: s&r
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 12:22 PM

all about Bowdler

Stu


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 12:43 PM

bobad -
I agree that "No one group has a monopoly on the perpetration of atrocity." And I'm not in to playing the mind game of which race committed the most atrocities lately or ever, or which atrocity was the worse lately or ever.

****

KT,

As I shared with you by PM, if a singer wanted to share the background of Amazing Grace by way of a brief introduction to this song, I can't see how that would be offensive, unless the singer went on and on and didn't get on with the song.

****
GUEST,A

Unfortunately, alot of urban Black kids have heard the word
"N----g" used in rap music or otherwise. I have casually mentioned to elementary children who I work with that "the N word" was used to put down Black people and that some people who don't like Black people may still use it. As far as I'm concerned, this is on a need to know basis.

Now that I think about it, I do recall saying to a group of older kids {3rd-5th graders} that the "eeny meenie miney mo" rhyme used to use the word N---g {I said "the N word"}. I then but people realized that saying that word wasn't nice, and so they changed it to "tiger".

As far as I'm concerned, you pick your teaching moments. What you say when you say it and how you say it {and to whom} are all important. context context context..

Which also speaks to daylia's comment about the use of farmer in that rhyme. Because I'm an city girl and know nothing about Alberta, Canada, I didn't know farmer used in that rhyme was a putdown. So maybe "tiger" is a better choice, but tigers may not think so ;o)


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 12:46 PM

I have worked blue collared jobs in the past with black/Afro Americans, some who became friends, and could never understand their own use of the word nigger towards each other and yet the resentment of it if if it came some other race. It either smacks of a double standard or a self-esteem issue.

Us Jews were slaves for a long time, also. You do not hear Jews referring to themselves or each other as kikes in any inter-cultural way.

Azizi, if I said I have white pride, would I be a racist? Am I supposed to feel guilty for that? Do you think Jesse Jackson would think so?

I'm glad you consider bobert's mimicing of blackspeak complimentary. I am not even black and I don't. I find it just a put-on and an act.

Azizi, I do respect you. But do you have to be so obsessed with your own blackness that you would have to write and start a thread like this? Should we all write and start threads on what offends us?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 01:05 PM

GUEST,A

Do some Black people use racial slurs? Yep. I never said we didn't.
{clarification-I don't]. But I did write that I was limiting my discussion...and basically I wanted to share that what White people don't know may hurt them {or cause them to hurt others}...

And I limited my points to racial no nos in music [since this is a music forum though I understand that I posted the thread in the BS section].

There are a whole host of non-music racial no nos that White people may or may not know with regard to Black people. But I don't have the energy-at least at this time-to go there.

It's too bad we don't have more people of color who post here [Black, Latino, Asian, Indian/Mative American, First Nation, who ever]. It would have been interesting to see how the conversation would have flowed.

And if someone wanted to start a thread on Racial no nos that Black people should know about so as not to be offensive to White people, I certainly would read it and comment if the spirit moved me to do so.

****
s&r thanks for the info re: bowdler

****

weelittledrummer,
you wrote "there are enough serious things to get steamed up about - it just amazes me that there isn't a thread about more obvious injustices - the way there is a large unrepresentatively large number of black people on death row say - as opposed to getting angry about a song of very questionable offensiveness - and certainly not included as an act of malice."

I'm not angry. This thread is not limited to Pick A Bale of Cotton. And I never said that I thought that singing it-in the context of that school recital that got all the publicity- was an act of malice. As a matter of fact, I said just the opposite on this thread or/and? on the other thread that specifically focuses on that song. And do I think that song is offensive, given that context-yes.

And weelittledrummer, as I'm sure you know, you can start a thread just as easily as I can about "more obvious injustices".


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: bobad
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 01:17 PM

"And I'm not in to playing the mind game of which race committed the most atrocities lately or ever, or which atrocity was the worse lately or ever."

Neither am I, I'm simply trying to keep the atrocity meter in perspective.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 01:27 PM

GUEST,Martin Gibson,

you wrote:
".. you have to be so obsessed with your own blackness that you would have to write and start a thread like this? Should we all write and start threads on what offends us?"

I do reject the premise that I am obsessed with my own blackness or anyone else's blackness.

If you are the real Martin Gibson, you have started threads on what offended you.

I believe that it is important to know one's roots & culture [to use a Bob Marlyish phrase]. Knowing about the accomplishments of people who look like you is part of building a healthy self-esteem. It is also important to learn the bad things members of your race/ethnic group did in the past and are doing in the present.

I don't think it necessarily racist for a White person to have White pride-it depends on the amount of that pride a person has and what other beliefs that person has [for instance, are they a multi-culturalist-after all, it seems to me that person can have pride in their group and still be a multi-culturalist-for instance they can believe that there are many different definitions of physical beauty..

And it seems to me that its not just the amount of racial pride that a person has but what he or she does with that pride..
for instance does the person go around wearing white sheets and burning crosses or beating up & harassing people who are of different races or religions then they are?

If so- well then their pride has become negativity.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Jeri
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 01:47 PM

I think that the list of don'ts serves to keep the prejudice going to some extent.

Don't sing 'jump down, turn around'. It's a personal prejudice which you're attempting to have Mudcatters believe is group prejudice. I can see many African Americans objecting to the song. I can see many African Americans objecting to images of Black banjo players. Everybody knows banjos are played by toothless, drooling white guys who live up in the mountains and sodomize outsiders. The problem is, if you keep beating the stereotypes into people's heads, you just make sure they're perpetuated.

Regarding, 'slave' talk, I was called by an African American telemarketer the other day, and it was very hard to understand him. I wanted to tell him his Black dialect was getting in the way of communication, but you can't just tell somebody that when you don't know him, plus it's a cultural heritage. I don't think of it as 'slave' talk, it's just a modern dialect that people learn because of where they grow up not what color they are - or are we talking about something else? Jive? Ghetto? People who grow up in the same neighborhoods tend to sound similar. And what's the difference between rural southern Black and White, and how do you know Bobert's a 'blue eyed soul brother' but Joe Blow isn't? How do you know he wasn't talkin' good ol' boy?

When I try to figure out why I dislike the premise of this thread, the answer I seems to be that it assumes the audience is a bunch of ignorant white Americans who might accidentally call somebody an N-word ("Oops, that bothers you? Really!? Sorry, it just slipped out."), and who have never been off the mountain, or out of the trailer park. So I have a problem with being assumed to be an idiot. "But I'm more concerned in this thread with the fact that White people may honestly not have a clue that some of the things they say and do might be culturally incompetent [which is another way of saying "politically incorrect"] with regards to race." Now, I've done some stupid things, but I think I know how to be polite to people and show respect. I shall try to remember that the blind leading the blind might actually get somewhere if they communicate to one another. There are some things that piss off white people too, but I'll save that for later. Here's my answer to all of this:

I'm going to behave in a way I think is right. If I get mad, my argument is going to be about something they've done or said and not that person's individual charachteristics. If I say something that appears prejudiced, think about why I REALLY said it, and then ask me. I refuse to be nervous about referring to African American songs or African American banjo players. I do NOT have any intention of stereotyping, and if you see a stereotype, it's yours, not mine.

This is a site about folk music, complete with it history, whether good or bad. We need to remember the good and take joy in it. We need to remember the bad and talk about it. We need to examine our own reactions, and ask "why?" When you think a dialect is 'owned' by a race, think. If anyone actually believed I could tell a guy I'd never met was Black because of how he talked on the phone, think. When you see an image of an African American banjo player, and think "we {perhaps more than White Americans} consider this instrument to be part of the caricature of the watermelon eating, pop eyed Southern widely grining slave who was happy in his servitude.", ask yourself who sold you that stereotype, why you bought it, and why you want to pass that stereotype on. Ask yourself when it's going to be OK for an African American to play banjo. My guess is the answer would be "when enough African Americans think "stuff your stereotype - I can do what I want." When they decide to break a 'don't' rule or two.

While I think discussion is good, I don't care for the level of this one. Azizi and the rest of you mostly clueless white people (now that would make a great band name, eh? Azizi and the Clueles White People. There was 'NWA', now there's 'CWP'. I'm trying to be funny here) can carry it on. Sometimes people don't behave the way society think they should because they're anti-social or merely socially incompetent. Sometimes, it's because they've thought about whatever the rule is and made their own decision for their own reason. Assuming you know what those reasons must be or just assuming people are stupider than you aren't good things.

I try to ignore stereotypes. You can tell me about the ones you'd like me to know of and honor all you want, I'm ignoring them. You go ahead and play a banjo no matter what race you are, you eat watermelon at picnics, you play blues, you wear green on St Pat's, you celebrate African American Heritage Month, you move to my neighborhood, you listen to rap, you listen to country music, you do what you love, what inspires you. If I give you any indication I'm judging you against a stereotype, call me on it because THAT is something I can learn from. I'll try to stick to my racial yes-yes, indeed my human yes-yes's: respect people, be nice, be willing to either compromise or acknowledge the other person's dissatisfaction and get past it. I try to envision what a decent person might be like in the best of all possible future worlds, and be as much like her as I can manage.

I've gone on for a LONG time here, but someone trying to teach me manners just bugs me. Also, it's been a while since I've been on the proverbial 'high horse' (I swear he didn't inhale) and I wanted to enjoy the ride. If anyone continues on from anything I've said, I hope it will be to discuss this: What's the difference between teaching people to respect other people's feelings about stereotypes and teaching people to respect the stereotypes?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Jeri
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 01:51 PM

Sheesh... manifesto. That thing shoulda had chapters!


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST,AR282
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 01:58 PM

I have to laugh at threads like these.

Racial content, racial no-nos. Gimme a break.

All this is is a "how-not-to-offend-blacks" thread. Shows you how utterly far behind the times Mudcat is.

FYI, race not only is no longer a strictly black and white thing--it NEVER was!!!!!

You are NOT the only people that matter.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Amos
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 02:31 PM

AR282:

Seems you're pretty handy with the stereotypes yourself, amigo.

You think there's a "times" of some kind, a leading wave of enlightenment where these issues are no longer relevant to ordinary lives?

I suggest you've slipped into an elitist mindset that protects you from ordinary confusions and the issues of people's lives. Hope it makes you comfy. Warning: such cocoons are fragile in the presence of live two-way communication.    Do not expose to live dialogue.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 02:53 PM

Amos

Your life is much more on the Internet than real life, you have lost touch with what is live and what is Cyberspace. Live dialogue here and face to face are two different animals. Get real.

Azizi, it is the real me, just too lazy to log on. My posts about what offend me are a defense against pure anti-semitism which truly exists here at Mudcat.

It has nothing at all to do with music and does not warrant your comparision.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 03:09 PM

"Having said that, it is also true that none of us are responsible for the actions of people who mostly died before we were born. We can only look to our own actions in the here and now, and strive to find a better way to build relationships in the future."

Good words, Don. I often teach exchange students in my senior English classes and one of the films I use is "Schindler's List". There has never been a backlash against German exchange students because to the Canadian students it's 'ancient history'. Heck, they often ask me what it was like to live without colour TV, electricity--and exactly how DID we keep the dinosaurs away from our caves. Your remark prompts me to ask then what does keep the spiral of discrimination going. Does this mean that discrimination is now institutionalized? Part of the social fabric and there's bugger all we can do about it? (Not confrontive here, just asking.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 03:13 PM

All salient points in Jeri's post.

Race, like any other distinction, is about keeping us separated from one another.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 03:20 PM

It's not just race--as you well know. I'm sure you're up on Irish history, and religion did it there; well, that and economics. Sure kept the Irish apart, and they are a single 'race'--much as that's possible in the jet age.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 03:47 PM

For the record, Joe, Frankie and Derrick in the Gospel Messengers keep pressing me to play banjo with the group. They don't seem to think that I am trying to bring up images of happy black slaves on the plantation, or that I have a Master Complex. In the black churches I worship and perform in with such regularity, and in friendships within the black community, I rarely (I'm being honest and giving the benefit of the doubt, because I can not remember a single incident) hear anyone mention the black/white thing. And, I don't believe that they discuss it when I'm not around, and just clam up when they see me coming.

I'd like to think that most of us white folks already realize that we shouldn't use the "N" word, sing with burnt cork on our faces, or wear raggedy clothes to look like a slave, while singing slave songs. I have always found the folk community to be very warm and open, accepting people of all races, shapes & sizes. It gets a little dicier if your believe in God or are a Republican, but even there, I find folkies to be gracious and accepting. If anything, as a generality, I find the folk community more likely to bend over backward to be sensitive to people who are different than they are.

And while there are lessons to learn by looking backward, you have to look forward too, or you'll trip over the coffee table.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 03:49 PM

"And while there are lessons to learn by looking backward, you have to look forward too, or you'll trip over the coffee table."

Too true.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Cluin
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 04:03 PM

I see Azizi's intention in starting this thread as a means passing on information about what might be considered offensive to some people in some situations, from her perspective. The particulars of that she has--and will further--elaborate on. That's valuable. More knowledge is a good thing.
What you do with that knowledge is up to you. She's not telling you how to speak... she's just informing you of the ways your speech might insult. You can never make the assumption that others always possess that knowledge already.

So if you want to racially insult African-Americans, you now have a few tips.   ;)


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 05:59 PM

Race, economics, class, ethnicity, religion...they're all distinctions. With the singular purpose of keeping certain groups, bounded by those definitions, separate from each other. How about one distinction?

Human.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 06:25 PM

Quite frankly, I am sick of people telling me what and what not to think and say.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 06:38 PM

I don't think that's the purpose of this thread, Martin. Azizi ain't tellin' anyone what to say or think. She's just stating her opinion for people who might be interested.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Once Famous
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 06:45 PM

Yeah, I know. I'm interested, but not really influenced.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Cluin
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 06:58 PM

Well I'm sick and tired of everybody being sick and tired.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 07:00 PM

Well, no matter how we all look at it, this thread has grown to over 100 posts in less than 36 hours. So, agree or disagree, folks are interested.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Janie
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 07:10 PM

One thing this thread highlights is the importance of experience and cultural or ethnic history in shaping how and what we perceive or DON'T perceive. Traditional music is one oral tradition used to transmit cultural heritage and experience. Each of our legacies are both gift and burden. When a dominant group has largely shaped the institutions of a society, those who most closely resemble the stereotype of the dominant group will be the most blind and deaf to how those more distant from the dominant group may experience or perceive the actions and effects of social institutions. And visa-versa.

    Most of us can probably identify in some way with being part of a group with less power, a group that experiences institutional descrimination. For myself, those are the experiences of being a woman, being over 50 in the work place, and being from West Virginia. From that I can at least try to imagine what it would be
like in America to be a person of color on top of the rest.   

    Prejudice and descrimination are not synonomous. Prejudice on the part of those with power leads to descrimination. When one is part of a group which has been (and continues to be to one degree or another) descriminated against, that very real experience can make some people in that (those) group(s) people hyper-sensitive and can sometimes lead some persons of the group to experience something as descriminatory when it is not. Conversely, people who are blind to their prejudices, and especially those who are both blind and in a dominant group, can be hypo-sensitive and fail to recognize when they are descriminating against some one.

    Unintended consequences are consequences none-the-less.

I say---let's keep talking!

Janie


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Janie
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 07:11 PM

Sorry to be so convoluted--don't know how else to write it.

Janie


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 07:14 PM

I worked in Canada's Northwest Territories. There were eight placements as to who would get hired. I was last on the list in the eight categories. That law was brought in and I left the Territories. The list/categories was based on race and sex. FYI.

Discrimination happens in lots of places and it is ugly.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 07:15 PM

Its a good song though.

if they didn't hear it at school and they weren't fortunate enough to have folksinger parents when would kids get to hear folk songs? Its part of their national culture, and a lot of folksongs have to with murder, cruelty, drinking, sailing in bad weather - all activities which are bad for you.

the school has some sort of responsibility to disseminate the national culture


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Janie
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 07:46 PM

Peace,

   I think we are into a bit of thread-drift here, but not terribly so.

    I am a social worker--a pretty archtypical social worker. I recently told how impressive a candidate for a job I was, and was pretty much informed they had to finish interviewing, but I had the job. Well, I waited. And I waited. And I waited some more. Finally, I got a phone call from the woman who had wanted to hire me. She was very embarrassed, and therefore a bit indiscrete. She told me that her boss was insistent that they hire a "person of color" to the position.

    Now, this was not just me going for a better position. Our agency is divesting all services and will be administrating only. This was one of the few additional adminstrative positions that opened. It would have meant I remained employed, and even more important at my age, within the government retirement system. (I am the breadwinner in our family.)

    My personal interests and the well-being of my family ran smack dab into my values around social justice and the need for affirmative action. Talk about pondering. I had to go back to school and study a right smart while on that one. I am still struggling with this lesson, but ultimately have decided I need to put my money where my mouth is.
   
    Have I been personally harmed because of affirmative action? Yes. Was I descriminated against? No. Why? I was not less valued because of stereotypical assumptions about my worth or fitness. I was an individual loser on the road to institutional change that will ultimately, I believe, benefit my community. It is a bitter pill to swallow, but one I am willing to try.

Janie


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 08:27 PM

I understand where you are coming from when you say the above, Janie. I hope it works out for the folks in the Territory. I do not harbour any ill-will as a result. However, it was discrimination because I was valued less BECAUSE I am a White male. Calling it 'social change' in the long run doesn't change that as a fact. Wheter it actually leads to better education in the NWT is still to be determined. I hope it does.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: number 6
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 08:47 PM

Peace ... you are a White Male... many other doors are open to you ... for those that were on the 'top of the list' ... in all probability, that was the only door that they could get in.

sIx


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 08:51 PM

Maybe. But, it was still discrimination. Telling me I am being discriminated against because someone else was discriminated against and this new form of discrimination will benefit that person or those people doesn't change anything from my point of view. FYI.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 08:57 PM

Azizi, I have tremendous respect for your eloquence and your obvious concern and respect for others, and I recognise the sincerity of your views.

You say that you have no problem with white pride, and I believe that to be your honest POV.

However, there is a problem with white pride for me, and it is this. I feel very uncomfortable with publicly stating that I am proud to be a white British citizen, because I have in the past been accused of being racist when I have done so. It seems that white pride is considered anti black by many black people, while black pride is an inalienable right.

If I were to post a similar thread suggesting words and ideas which, used by black folk, would be likely to cause offence or distress to whites, the response would, IMO, be very different than what has been posted to this thread.

I have noticed that sensitivity to perceived insult varies according to the group. It would be impossible to make a film in which the N word was used by a white character to a black character, because it would raise a storm of protest, and quite possibly (and rightly) be banned from showing at cinemas. However, there are a number of films and TV programs made as late as the 1980s (and still being repeated on satellite & cable TV) in which the words honkey, whitey, or cueball are used by black characters to whites, and these do not as far as I can see raise any protest at all.

Now it may be that we just aren't that upset, or it may be that we feel that we would be seen as racist if we objected. I don't know which, but it is a fact, and speaks to my earlier comment that we would all be better employed in thinking ahead rather than dwelling on the unpleasant actions of people long dead and for the most part unlamented.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: number 6
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 09:01 PM

But is it really discrimination ... culturally it would makes sense. My son after finishing university applied to the Toronto Fire Department .. he was turned down as he was blonde and 6'2" .. culturally Toronto has changed, would he have been the best fit?

sIx


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 09:04 PM

I can't answer that for you, sIx. You can change the words around all you want. It doesn't change the facts around for me. Sorry, buddy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: number 6
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 09:06 PM

Understandable Peace ... it's a hard call these days.

sIx


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 09:28 PM

This world is not as I would want it to be.

If I had a magic wand, there would never have been and would now cease to be any discrimination or any hatred. My magic wand would whoosh away depression, sickness, poverty, and untimely death.

I wouldn't want the world of my dreams to be pollyanna-like since that would soon become awfully boring. We'd stagnate in a world of sweetness & light. But how I wish this world were better than it is now and has always been!

For some time I've wondered if the only thing that would unite humans would be the arrival of extraterrestrials who meant us harm.
But maybe even then these beings from "outer space" would have to be so different from us that we humans would join together without regard for our racial, ethnic, religious, and national differences.

Does something like this have to happen in order for us all to get along?

I hope not.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Bobert
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 09:48 PM

Oh, there we go, Mizi...

Not only do we have all the existin' knotheads but no we have green people??? Awww, jus funnin'...

Yeah, sometimes it takes an external threat for folks to find what it is that bonds us...

Yeah, I get that one... Think 'bout after 9/11 an' evryone in the US was right pissed off at Osoma, er his buddies...

Problem is that there ain't 'nuff Osoma's to go 'round and we ain't go no "boogie-man" factory to manufacture them so I reckon green people will do jsu fine...

Maybe not, but Iz perfectly willin' to try a healthy dose of green people, if that's what it take....

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 09:52 PM

There's a green dog on another thread. Therein is the answer, maybe.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: mg
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 09:56 PM

back to the point about songs being offensive because they are combining tragic history with an uptempo beat. That is just plain how a lot of songs are sung...very very common in the Irish tradition...in 1847 Paddy's on his way to heaven..if he left one kid he left eleven while working on the railway...or my back is nearly broken from the clear day light to the dawn and i know i'llnever be able to plow the rocks of bawn.
3
or in Peter mberly assuming you sing the right..yes there is a right and a wrong here...tune..i was hit by a big log and died tra la la..

enlist bonny laddy and come awa with me to the crimean?? wars,,,or come sail to high barbaree..to execution's dock i must go i must go..put my head upon the block...or the6y gave us a pension of 2 pence every day but we will nevertheless make the rafters ring..

I love those songs..no one is trying to offend anyone..it is courage in the face of terrible wretchedness...mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Bobert
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 09:59 PM

(Hmmmmmmm??? Think Bruce might be on to somethin' here...)

Now back to the serious discussion... Me and Bruce is sorry...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: wysiwyg
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 11:15 PM

When the ETs come after us, it will unite us all right-- under a war umbrella where we soon sell each other out anyhow, because it will turn out there were NO e.t.'s at all, just a manufactured threat as an excuse to warm up the ole guns for profit, as usual. The temporary cooperation will merely give way to renewed mutual blaming for whatever can distract us from the truth about the need for the "war." Cuz after all is said and done, we are still merely human-- and BTW, as further evidence of same: notice how hard it is to talk about ETs at all without "naming" their color!

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Kaleea
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 01:18 AM

I always heard arguments re whether the Banjo came from China or Africa. Silly me, I thought it was China.
There are many kinds of racism which many people do not realize. I frequently have known people who call any Native American male "Chief," or a female Native American "Squaw" (which means cunt), or say, "How," or make jokes about wearing "war bonnets" (the long feathered headress normally whas been of Spiritual significance, not about killing), or rain dances, or hatchets, etc. I also hear people speaking to Irish Americans with a poorly done "Irish" lilt, or asking about leprechauns, or assuming all Irish Americans are drunks. We may not realize that, just as someone from any country in Europe is European, anyone who is native to North or South America is an American but not necessarily a citizen of the U.S.A. I have heard some anglo people here in Southern California (& Arizona & New Mexico & Texas) comment that Hispanic people should "go back where they came from" and not realizing that Hispanic people were here before anglos.
Because most of us are Musicians who are actively involved in Traditional Music, we are more often faced with choosing songs from days when racism was the rule than the average Musician. Many of us are likely to perform these songs for young people. We can choose songs which are appropriate for young people to learn in order to help them understand our history. In a teaching environment one might use songs which one might not use in an average concert setting. When we sing songs for a G-rated audience, most of us are respectful enough to not include songs with profanity. This is not censorship, this is using wisdom.
We can also help others to be more respectful of people who are different from themselves by setting an example for them to follow. We Traditional Musicians can do this with our Music. I believe that most of us have the ability to use good judgement. Whether we use this good judgement is up to us.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 04:31 AM

My intent in starting this thread was to share my view on what things turn White people may innocently or purposely do that are offensive to African Americans.

I am grateful to Hilda Fish for deepening the discussion to the politics of inequity.


I am not sure if Hilda Fish thinks that only certain racial groupings are or can be angry about the politics of inequality. But I am not sure if such potentially divisive expressions of anger are helpful in addressing it - however understandable that anger may be.

But I agree that there is a difference between measures that are really addressing this inequality and the political correctness that started this thread.

Perhaps it should be recognised that political correctness has served its purpose? That it was never going to have any affect on those who wished things to stay as they were and intentionally wish to cause offence and stir-up trouble or those that did not care?

That the blunt weapon of increasingly imposing political correctness will not at the same time address both innocently caused offence and the purposeful one?

That continuing with it (without a general consensus) is pushing at an already open door. The effect of which upon those who are already desparate not to use the wrong words and cause offence is just to make them even more confused and twitchy. To make these people worry worry about things like asking for a black coffee or listening to banjo music - is not helping to address matters of serious ineqality.

For this can not be done if we are divided and this constant drive to make people feel guilty about a past they can do nothing about is risking this division and risking a reaction against political correctness which will help no one.

Azizi - Must everything continue to sound so negitive and so accusatorial to folk who honestly mean no offence? Along with the stick - there is also the carrot. Where is the encouragement for what has been achieved? Are there only racial no no's - are to be no racial yes yes's' from you?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST,catsPHiddle@work
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 05:49 AM

When I was in primary school in the late 1980's we were taught Pick a Bale O Cotton, but like others it didn't have the words O Lordy in it. When I did my teacher training, I too taught the children the same song. I also knew the counting rhyme eeny meeny miney mo with the word tiger...never occured to me that it ever had any other words!

I agree though with some one earlier that if the songs aren't taught and sung...perhaps with a bit of history, they will be lost and forgotten.

I live in in a predominantly black and Asian area. When I first moved here I was frequently offened by the way I was spoken to by these people...I hasten to add NOT all of them, but some of them. Some of the attitudes towards white women by 'black' males is intimidating and frightening but is seen as OK in their culture. I frequently hear 'black' people call each other the N word however if a white person were to use it then it would be racist comment. Go figure? if it is going to be a racist word it should be a racist word all round not just one way.

Racial tolerance and respect works both ways. The past shouldn't be forgotten but there is little point in living in it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 06:17 AM

Down On the Border

Down on the border, where do you draw that line?
Well here I can lay down my life for a land that will never be mine
If I was standing on the outside, you wouldn't let me in
It might be my religion or the colour of my skin

Down on the border, when you draw that line
Am I standing inside, or am I left outside?

They're telling you life should be rosy, "ain't you living in your own backyard"?
The stakes are getting higher, time to play that nationalist card
That joker's a wild one, eager to get out of the pack
It ain't so easy, trying to get the bastard back

Down on the border, when you draw that line
Am I standing inside, or am I left outside?

Does the fruit really taste better, just because it's home grown?
Why should there be an improvement, when we are ruled by one of our own?
When they come and they tell you. it's time to make a stand
Remember the good and the bad apples, growing on your land

Down on the border, when you draw that line
Am I standing inside, or am I left outside?

Whatever country claims you, it's no measure of your worth
You can take no credit, it's just an accident of birth
Why not strive for a union, a federation of states?
Sustained by co-operation, where nations are maintained on hate

Down on the border, when you draw that line
Am I standing inside, or am I left outside?

Roger Gall 1997

Azizi - does it ever occur to you that you may cause needless division and offence to others in your ernest attempts to try ensure that they do not cause offence to you and your particular racial grouping? I suspect that you may be offended and would not appreciate others instructing you how you should think and what words and actions you should avoid - why would you think that others would be any different?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 06:23 AM

I have a black male friend who is called a coconut and worse by some other black folk because his friends are predominantly not black.

I know a white woman happily married to a black guy, I have seen her being insulted and even spat at by black females because she dares to take one of 'their men.'

I hear black youths call each other nigger on an almost daily basis. I hate my children hearing that in particular. My children are white, but have been brought up to know that that is unacceptable.

Irregardless of colour we all have the capacity to act offensively.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: *daylia*
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 07:46 AM

I hear black youths call each other nigger on an almost daily basis. I hate my children hearing that in particular. My children are white, but have been brought up to know that that is unacceptable.

I never understood this. Why, for instance, are rap lyrics chock FULL of the "N" word? Can't believe it's due to ignorance or self-hatred! Maybe it takes some of the 'edge' off to use it themselves, as a term of endearment?

I agreed only reluctantly with Azizi that "farmer" is better than the "N" word, only because the word "farmer" does not necessarily carry negative connotations. It seems to me the "N" word is always meant as an insult, no matter what color the speaker's skin might be.

It's the same with gay guys calling each other "queer" or "faggot". IF they had any 'pride' or self-esteem to speak of, surely they'd come up with a more loving turn of phrase!


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 08:25 AM

Warning: An article that repeatedly references the "N word":

Here is an excerpt from an online article about the use of the
"N word" by Black people. This article appears to addresses some of the questions that were asked by previous posters. I have not edited the article's spelling of this word, though in my writing I always use a shorthand version of it.

I would like to note that this is NOT a word that I ever use in in everyday speech.

"Erdman Palmore researched lexicons and said: the number of offensive words used correlates positively with the amount of out-group prejudice; and these express and support negative stereotypes about the most visible racial and cultural differences. When used by Blacks, nigger refers to among other things: all Blacks ("A nigger can't even get a break."); Black men ("Sisters want niggers to work all day long."); Blacks who behave in a stereotypical, and sometimes legendary, manners ("He's a lazy, good-for-nothing nigger."); things ("This piece-of-shit car is such a nigger."); enemys ("I'm sick and tired of those niggers bothering me!"); and friends ("Me and my niggers are tight."). This final habit, as a kind word, is particularly challenging. "Zup Niggah," has become an almost universal greeting among young urban Blacks. When asked, Blacks who use nigger or its variants argue that: it has to be understood in its situation; repeated use of the word by Blacks will make it less offensive. It's not really the same word because whites are saying nigger (and niggers) but Blacks are saying niggah (and niggaz). Also it is just a word and Blacks should not be prisoners of the past or the ugly words that originated in the past.

These arguments may not be true to life. Brother (Brotha) and Sister (Sistha or Sista) are terms of endearment. Nigger was and still is a word of disrespect. More to the point, the artificial dichotomy between Blacks or African Americans (respectable and middle-class) and niggers (disrespectable and lower class) ought to be challenged. Black is a nigger, regardless of behavior, earnings, goals, clothing, skills, ethics, or skin color. Finally, if continued use of the word lessened its damage then nigger would not hurt or cause pain now. Blacks, from slavery til today, have internalized many negative images that white society cultivated and broadcast about Black skin and Black people. This is mirrored in cycles of self-and same-race hatred. The use of the word nigger by Blacks reflects this hatred, even when the user is unaware of the psychological forces involved. Nigger is the ultimate expression of white racism and white superiority nomatter how it is pronounced. It is linguistic corruption, an attack on civility...."

-snip-
Click here to read the entire article:

A history of the use of the N Word by African Americans


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST,A
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 08:31 AM

Okay, what am I supposed to do?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Bobert
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 08:40 AM

BTW, I have never heard a black person use the word "nigger"... "Nigger" seems to be very much a word used by unenlightened white folks...

What I have heard is "nigga" by black folks and it takes on an entirely diffent connotation (in most cicumstances, that is)...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: *daylia*
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 08:42 AM

Well, somehow I doubt continuing use of hte word will make it any less offensive in the long run. And for those who might be interested in learning how to use the time-honoured word to insult other racial/ethnic groups, check out this Wikipedia article about "the N word"

"The term wigger, or whigger, refers to a young, white mimicker of certain affectations of hip-hop and thug culture. It is a portmanteau of white and nigger. The word is widely considered offensive because of its similarity to nigger and because it reflects stereotypical notions about blacks.

Similarly, other portmanteaus formed from nigger, also usually considered offensive, are used to describe other nonblacks who adopt certain, usually hip-hop, African American cultural affectations. These include combining nigger with Chinese, to produce chigger. (A chigger is also a type of mite and a type of flea, pests whose bites cause intense itching.)

Nigger is also combined with Jew to produce jigger; with Korean to produce kigger; and with spic, a slur for a Latino, to produce spigger. The terms timber nigger and prairie nigger are used in some areas to refer to Native Americans. This term is found more in the northern part of the United States where the original Native Americans flourished in the large forests that once existed there. Sand nigger refers to those of Arab descent, and snow nigger is a slur against those of Inuit descent. None of these derogatory terms implies any connection to African American culture."

Geez, lemme write all this down. See? There's something new to learn everyday! (but not, in this case, anything that I particularly want to learn ....)


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 08:44 AM

The 'n' word debate here azzizi appears to be preaching to the converted? It is widely heard still but amongst the black community. Have you posted your thoughts/links to any forums where more black people participate to canvass their views? What was the general consensus of opinion amongst those who use it as an everyday word?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Wolfgang
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 11:29 AM

When I was young "Schwarzer" (black person; black one) was considered a derogatory term in German and we were admonished to use "Neger" (negro) instead. That has changed now.

Most people now use "Schwarzer" though that's unfortunate for that is also use as a term (often of endearment) for a conservative and a derogatory term for a priest.

Of course, some very EC people now use 'Afrikaner' (African) but I know people who consider that term offensive to themselves (Muslims/Arabs from the Mediterranean coast of Africa who do not like the term 'Afrikaner' being equated with 'black').

Wolfgang (who sometimes uses "Afroamerikaner" in German in an attempt to mock about the EC brigade)


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 11:45 AM

"Azizi - does it ever occur to you that you may cause needless division and offence to others in your ernest attempts to try ensure that they do not cause offence to you and your particular racial grouping?"

She's one helluva lot smarter than you are, Shambles. I don't doubt she's considered that.

Azizi, this thread has prompted some great responses and maybe a few one could expect. I am glad it's here. I too pray for the day when colour don't matter, race don't matter. It won't come soon enough. IMO.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: M.Ted
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 01:40 PM

Like Jeri, I have been thinking about why this thread offends me, and it comes down to this--
If Azzizi has a problem with something that someone says, she should talk to them about it, and   not hold everyone with a similar skin tone accountable for it--


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 02:08 PM

Read the thread, Ted?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST,A
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 02:20 PM

The only people I have overheard using the 'N' word were black (nigger, not nigga) What street corner were you hanging on, bobert?
Better start associating with a better class of white folk.

Peace, it is up to the indvidual to create an atmosphere where "color doesn't matter. I and my friends have been there for years but we can't control or influence everyone.

Ted, I think you have pin pointed it.I too felt a little offense in that someone could suggest that whites in general have racist tendencies. I would not be surprised if Azizi is a more educated person than myself. That, however, does not give permission for anyone to attach a 'tag' to those of us who have personally not seen "colour" since before puberty. I know racism still exists, but I have done my part.

Still, at 8:41 this AM, I asked, "okay, what am I supposed to do?"


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 02:43 PM

"Peace, it is up to the indvidual to create an atmosphere where "color doesn't matter."

Thanks for the lecture. I know that.

"I know racism still exists, but I have done my part."

I haven't finished doing mine.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST,A
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 03:08 PM

It wasn't designed to be a lecture, just a reminder and perhaps more for others plus we continue to do our part as with anything else in our lives.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: M.Ted
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 03:29 PM

I read it very carefully, Peace. For instance, I read this:

>There was a time in my life when I was desperately looking for >good White people to conteract accounts of chattel slavery that I >was reading, and accounts of the killing and maltreatment of >Black people in the United States during the Civil Rights era, >and the accounts of other atrocities perpetrated by White >people toward people of color in the United States and >throughout the rest of the world. I also needed and wanted to >know that there were good White people out there to counteract >the hurtful personal experiences with racism that I had.


If you have another interpretation of it than the obvious one, Peace, I 'd like to hear it--


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Cluin
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 03:50 PM

Thanks to the Powers-That-Be that we have your example to lead the way, A. We'll all endeavor to be as perfect in future, though we can't benefit from the omniscience that you are blessed with.

This is a valuable thread and an important issue, as evidenced by the way it makes people uncomfortable. Loaded language; sensitive issue. I salute Azizi's bravery in starting the thread. Hopefully I'm not too old to learn something new.

In the thread I started here on bad album cover art, I posted a link to a cover showing a person billed as "Big George". It was a cheesy looking cover with a tall tubby fellow in a tacky stretch polyester suit with big lapels and a big frilly shirt. It struck me as funny and it still does. But someone sent me a PM asking if I was making fun of him because he was fat? I answered, "No. It's because the photo was cheesy and he billed himself as Big George." And had a song called "Blanket on the Ground".

But I guess I really was making fun of his being fat, in a way.

I really dislike the way obese people are often ridiculed as if they deserve it. People that would be repelled at hearing an uncomplimentary racial epithet or a joke making fun of someone's disability often wouldn't think twice about the feelings of the overweight. I have a lot of friends and family with weight problems of varying degrees and it bothers me to think of such callousness inflicted on them.

So on second thought, I guess I can still learn something. Or re-learn it anyway.

I still think it's a funny cover. But not in a mean way.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST,A
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 04:09 PM

Ah yes, Cluin, but continue to hope.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 05:43 PM

"If you have another interpretation of it than the obvious one, Peace, I 'd like to hear it-- "

What's to interpret? I took it at face value.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 05:48 PM

Short people must have to get used to jokes made at their expense but usually these are good-natured if still thoughless and offensive and these would generally be made by people who they were at least aquainted with.

I accompanied an exceptionally tall workmate of mine on the London Underground. He used to say good naturedly when asked - which was often - that he was six foot eleven and a half. His height was often referred to in the workplace but I must admit that was astonished when a complete stranger came up to him on the platform and asked him what the weather was like up there and a bit further on in our journey another group of young lads passing on the escalator thought it ammusing to shout-out comments about this height.

When I mentioned this to my friend - he was surprised that I should be surprised at this sort of thing. For it was something that he just took for granted and hardly noticed as it was just the way things were for him. I thought his attitude and conduct was always exemplary - not something I could say of those who took advantage of this.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 06:01 PM

Does anyone else feel that the black/afro-american community might have to put it's own house in order first culturally for respect to expand into other ethnic groups?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 06:36 PM

Nowhere did Azizi say that the b/a-ac had its house in order. She spoke to things that she as a woman of colour found offensive/hurtful.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 06:55 PM

And at the same time anyone who was brave or foolish enough to post here to say that they found it offensive and hurtful to have to share a bus or a school with a black person would be labled a racist.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 06:59 PM

Get your head out of your ass, Shambles.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Jeri
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 07:22 PM

One big problem with discussing anything this sensitive is that people take something personally and lash out. There should be a corollary to Godwin's Law. Here at Mudcat, the thread's outlived it's usefulness when somebody accuses somebody else's ass of encapsulating a head.

I think sometimes Shambles isn't too clear. One would hope he just didn't express himself well and doesn't realize what he said. Just in case you DID mean it, Roger: let's say a person's offended that they have to share a bus or school with a black person. In what circumstance would this NOT indicate they're a racist?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: M.Ted
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 07:28 PM

This is what she said, Peace:

As I am defining it here, a "racial no no" is something that a White person says or does that is likely to cause trouble for him or her with African Americans or other people of color and/or other people who are concerned about racial political correctness.


And it was phrased as a threat, at that--not cool, at least with me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 07:34 PM

Let me reverse it: "As I am defining it here, a "racial no no" is something that a Black person says or does that is likely to cause trouble for him or her with non-Black Americans and/or other people who are concerned about racial political correctness."

I don't see a single thing threatening in that statement.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 07:39 PM

Sorry, Jeri, I just don't have your way with words.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Bobert
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 07:46 PM

Once agin, GUEST A shows how little he or she knows about the real world...

Blacks categorically don't say "nigger" unless it in the context of some academic discussion about language... Most middle class black folks never use the term "nigger" or "nigga"...

Where you find it used is by mostly urban, young and/or poor mostly urban blacks and it's always "nigga"!!! Always...

Now if you wanta hear (like who wants to???) the terribly offensive word "nigger" it is used by mostly young white folks in the South, and many parts of West Virgina and in the Irish blue collar neighborhoods in Boston...

You don't even want to get into this one with me, GUEST A... I've spent much of my life with black folks on one hand and rednecks on the other...

If there's one thing yer just gonna have to trust me on, this is it!!!

No brag, just unfortunate fact...

(In case you missed parts of this thread, you might wanta go back and spend some time readin' ot rereadin'...)

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: M.Ted
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 08:20 PM

Peace says, "Let me reverse it: "As I am defining it here, a "racial no no" is something that a Black person says or does that is likely to cause trouble for him or her with non-Black Americans and/or other people who are concerned about racial political correctness."

Saying something that cause trouble with people who were concerned about "racial political correctness" what got Emett Till killed and dumped in the river, Peace--as in "A black boy don't talk like that to a white woman and live to tell about it"and it still happens today.

This "Pick a Bale of Cotton" rage is just bottled up anger, from that and about a million other things just as bad that you never heard about. The anger isn't wrong, but venting it on any white person that looks at you crosseyed doesn't get anyone anywhere.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 08:22 PM

"A black boy don't talk like that to a white woman and live to tell about it"and it still happens today."

So what are you saying? A Black woman don't talk that way on the Mudcat because she is gonna take shit for starting a good thread?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST,A
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 08:29 PM

Three points;

1. Jeri, thanks for the Godwins' Law site. I am new to this type of self expression, debate or whatever these boards are for. The rest of your thread was great although I am sure much was missed by several of those whom I am starting to catagorize as "drama queens". Ironically, the ones I have bestowed this title on all are male. The term was never gender specific to begin with.

2. Peace, you are certainly coorect when you said you don't have Jeris' way with words. Enough said.

3. Bobert, your reason and logic continue to amuse me. You have not lived in the areas that I have, Boston to Chicago and many places in between. What I said is my experience. I am not going to say you don't have a clue as to who says what because I have not followed you around. I do, however, have doubts about you. And trust you, good God almighty, why should I?

Back to Jeri and Godwins Law - I have offered on this board what I considered to be polite and factual difference of opinions only to be accused of "being on drugs, a dummy, thickheaded and/or not part of the real world."
Geez, they are just my opinions mostly based on my experience and not any major poll. If one should find that their opinion differs from mine, then simply offer a rebuttal.
But no, some have to take up the role of "drama queen" and vent their spleen. Not Shakespeare but I think I will let it go at that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 08:34 PM

"2. Peace, you are certainly coorect when you said you don't have Jeris' way with words. Enough said."

I have read you on other threads. Enough said.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 08:43 PM

It is not me, you moron! You come across as such an intellectual but your ability to discern is about the same as ....


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: M.Ted
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 08:55 PM

If I was a little confusing, I am sorry--but I was quoting, or at least paraphrasing, the white men who killed Emmet Till--I mean't nothing ill to Aziza--what I meant to convey was that African-Americans know that a poorly chosen word in the wrong circumstances can be fatal--but I presume you know that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 08:59 PM

No, I didn't, M.Ted. My apologies to you. I misunderstood.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 11:16 PM

bobert, to me "nigga" is the same as "nigger" with a blackspeak or ebonic accent or slang. It is the same thing. And I think it is wrong the way it is used by black people. Have you ever heard a Chinese person say, "chink, I'm goin' to kick your yellow ass." ?

When I say there has to be some housecleaning first, less niggas, ho's, gangstas, bitches, yo,yo,yo, yo mama etc. I think racism towards afro-americans will be reduced, hopefully. But this part of black culture, especially the hip-hop image, I don't see doing anyone any good. It revels and dwells in it's own blackness.

And what's with names like Ice Cube, Fifty-Cents, and stuff like that?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Bobert
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 11:24 PM

Spoken like a real whitie that ain't too comfy in the black community, Martin...

Hey, I play blues in NE Washington, D.C....

How 'bout you???

Care to enlighten us on where you learnt up the black cul-shur???

Bobert, alias "Sidewalk Bob' in NE Washington, D.C.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 11:25 PM

Thing is, when I listen to rap and much of the music being done by kids today, it seems to be protest and railing against the status quo and the 'establishment'. Kids looking and seeing no future, seeing and disliking authority and authority figures, kids being radical in a 'rage against the machine' kinda way. I wonder if they'll grow up to be as sedate, passive and accepting as we've become?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 11:47 PM

bobert, playing stupid 3 chord blues songs hardly makes you black. And the blues in Wasshington DC is the minor leagues compared to Chicago and everyone except you knows that.

Chicago is an extremely multi-cultuarl town. What I know about black culture in my little finger compares to what you know in that tired bag of bones, bobert.

Your act of blackspeak doesn't make you an expert bobert. It makes you a moron. I am not uncomfortable in a black community. I also don't have to pretend blackspeak to get attention or look like some kind of accepting white guy. If you endorse hip-hop as being what the black community is all about and are just so comfy yourself in that, well it is obvious women probably will have nothing to do with you, pal. Your, "I'm more accepting of black people than you are" attitude is as usual for you, childish and laughable. but I expect that from you, bobert.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Biskit
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 12:03 AM

This was a good thread,..but seems to have degenerated into name calling and hatefulness. Understanding; is the thoughtful exchange of intelligent information. Exchange meaning; everyone listning to what the other person has to say, Guest A, I understand the whole Drama queen problem when faced with such a volatile, potentially explosive, topic,I've been guilty of it myself. Knowing in your heart that you are so right, and the other folks are so wrong, and it's up to you to enlighten the poor wretches. maybe everyone should re-read the entire thread, without the stumbling block of your heart being on your sleeve. (trust me, you can do this, if you just will)Most folks, have contributed greatly to this thread, Peace, reread The Shambles posts, try to put them into the context that he meant it to be in, I don't think for one minute that he is prejudiced against anyone and espescially about the color of ones skin. He started out not understanding the whole not liking the banjo or banjo music because of the music some folks played on it, The Minstrels in Black face etc.
and that Azizi was showing respect for her ancestors by not liking the instrument or the music it made. I didn't understand it either, It was an African instument originally, played by Africans, then by white folks, sometimes in a derogitory manner. If that is how she chooses to show respect for her ancestors, that's great! at least she shows respect for her ancestors, in this day and time that is commendable, I just don't understand where the banjo works into the equation. It's like killing the messenger for bringing bad news! again, it was like when M.Ted quoted the bastards that killed Emmet Till,Peace, You jumped on board ready for a fight when there was nothing to fight about. You stopped trying to understand, and let your emotions conrol your reactions. In My Humble Opinion, We'll never get together until we learn to listen to what others have to say. I mean listen to what the words mean, not just the way they sound.
Peace! Through Understanding
~Biskit~


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Bobert
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 12:22 AM

Put yer white ass on the airplane, Martin...

I'll pick yer white ass up at BWI 'er National and gige you a real lesson on what it means to be black in the Nation's Capitol...

Back in my surfin day you were what we called "hoo-dads"... Yeah, hoo-dads didn't ever take their borads off the the top of their cars... Like never!!!

That's you, Martin...

Where I'd take you in D.C. you'd be scared to friggin' death...

You ain't no street person... You don't ,know nuthin' 'bout folks, Martin the Faker, all you know is this little fantesy life that you have where you do these Dean Martin hootnannies...

Hey, when you come to D>C.; Bring yer Dean Martin hootenannie stuff with you, will ya??? Oughtta go over big where I'm gonna taken yer sorry white ass...

No brag, just fact...

You don't like gettin put down then quit attackin' me... I can back up everything I say.... You can't back up squat!!!!

"Sidewalk Bob", alias Bobert

p.s. The challenge fie yer loosetr butt is on fir life, apl... Anywhere, anytime... Yopu know what I mean!!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 12:49 AM

shall we just leave it that if you want to relax your coloured friends at a party (as Lenny Bruce put it), don't go into a couple of choruses of Pick a Bail of Cotton.

on the other hand, if its that sort of party.....


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Biskit
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 01:55 AM

c'mon people now,..smile on your brother,everybody get together, an' try to Love one-another right now.
Peace! Through Understanding
~Biskit~


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 02:11 AM

Perhaps it would be helpful if I reiterated the reason why I started this thread.

This thread was prompted by an earlier Mudcat thread PC-where is thy sting?-Pick A Bale Of Cotton Ban

As you will recall, that thread discussed the fact that a school recital on folk music turned controversial because the parent of the lone African American in the school protested the inclusion of "Pick A Bale of Cotton" to represent Black culture.

It was my sense from reading the comments about this incident that the school and music instructor meant well, but may not have understood what things were likely to be considered offensive to Black Americans, and why.

I believed and still believe that increasing multicultural understanding is an important goal for the United States and for the rest of the world.

I believed and still believe that Black Americans as individuals and as groups of people {since we are a very heterogeneous mix of peoples} must "clean house". By 'clean house' I mean that we should confront and eradicate prejudicial feelings and those things that we do that sustain and increase those feelings that we have toward ourselves [such as skin color preferences for either light skinned Black people or skin color preferences for dark skinned Black people] And we should confront and eradicate the prejudice and those things that that we do that sustain and increase those feelings that we have toward White people and other non-Black peoples.

This discussion has provided opportunities for people to express their opinions on sensitive issues. Discussions such as this may be one way to help eradicate racial misunderstanding and promote positive interracial communication and understanding.

Rodney King's name will live on in history in part because of his inpromptu question that I believe came from the heart:

"Can't we all get along?"

I believe that in order for us to get along [with each other] we should face the pain that racism directed to individuals has caused and still causes. I also believe that we should do what we can to correct the societal inequities and injustice that sustains institutional racism in education systems, in housing, health care, the mass media, and other systems.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 02:29 AM

Earlier in this thread I had attempted to explain what I meant by a comment I had written some time ago on an earlier Mudcat thread {and was quoted by Shambles in this thread}.

I had indicated that I personally did not like banjo music. I should have but did not expand on that statement to explain that rightly or wrongly that instrument serves as a symbol for me and [from vooks and articles I have read]some other African Americans of Southern United States slavery. Specifically, what I mean by this is the that the banjo feeds into once heavily promoted images of enslaved people who are happy in their servitude.

In that sentence that Shambles quoted, I then tried to say [but did so poorly] was that-in spite of the fact that I personally don't like banjo music [beause I have tied that stereotype to that music]- I feel I need to show respect to my [African] ancestors [by acknowledging]that the banjo originally came from Africa.

One positive outcome for me that has occurred as a result of this thread is learning about efforts that are underway for Black musicians-seperately and along with those of other races-to re-claim the banjo and create music with the banjo that speaks to varied Black musical aesthetics.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 03:17 AM

In my opinion, we are all victims of racial misunderstandings and racial prejudice.

Sometimes African Americans do not venture out of our comfort level to experience new things, including interact with people of different races.

In the mid to late 1960s I attended a small New Jersey college. I wasn't aware till I arrived on campus for the beginning of the school year that the college had few people of color enrolled as students {and no professors who were people of color]. In my freshmen year there were only 3 African American women {including myself} and three African American men who lived on campus.

In my freshmen year my roomate was Jewish {only later it occurred to me that this was purposeful-the school placed two "minority students' together]

I vividly remember going to the cafeteria the first day of school with my blond haired, blue eyed Jewish roomate. I noticed that there was a table with about 5 Black students {who I later learned were commuters}. One of the students came over and invited me [and not my roomate]to sit with them. I declined that invitation. I remember thinking [but I'm sure I probably didn't say] something to the effect that I came to college to broaden my experience and not limit it by only hanging with people who were familiar to me {as if all Black people from varied backgrounds were familiar to me! Well I was young}...

But my point in sharing this was by my senior year, as a result of a multitude of racial slings and arrows in the classroom-some of them probably well meaning but still DRAINING such as "What do Black people want? [because I was the ONLY Black person, I had to be the spokesperson for Black people everywhere or in this country? I don't think so..and if I tried then mostly I was met with either uncomfortableness or arguments] and then there were the well meaning but still DRAINING questions such as "Do Black people get suntan?" tan"-short answer "YES". And "Why do you put grease in your hair?= short answer "Because it gets dry if I don't".

Overtime this drip drip drip of questions and prejudicial attitudes
[for instance, I recall how shocked I was that White girls would share with me how they didn't like Jewish people. Prior to going to that college, I thought that Jewish people were White {not having met any Black Jewish people-though I now know some].

My sense was if these White girls didn't like my Jewish roomate who looked just like them [in skin color and hair color & texture],
I KNOW that they didn't like me {who looked very different from them in these regards.

And then there were definite differences in music, and slang, and --overtime, it just got draining....By my senior year, I found that most of my friends were African American, and I was one of those people sitting at the all Black cafeteria table.

But here I am at Mudcat-one of two [?] Black people who are members and active posters. History has a way of repeating itself.

****

See this article on a study of cross racial interactions at an American university:

Diversity In Higher Education


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 05:31 AM

I think sometimes Shambles isn't too clear. One would hope he just didn't express himself well and doesn't realize what he said. Just in case you DID mean it, Roger: let's say a person's offended that they have to share a bus or school with a black person. In what circumstance would this NOT indicate they're a racist?

What I said was clear and it remains perfectly clear. It was this.

And at the same time anyone who was brave or foolish enough to post here to say that they found it offensive and hurtful to have to share a bus or a school with a black person would be labled a racist.

Jeri - Perhaps you could first say whether you are in agreement with what I actually did say here before you go on accuse me of saying something I did not?

For what I certainly did NOT say - is that the label of racist in this instance would be at all undeserved. As far as these labels are helpful and they probably are not very - I probably consider that anyone of any racial grouping who first approaches any and every issue from their racial standpoint - could probably be labelled a racist. The queston is there anywhere can we can go positively from that simple judgement?   

If we have leaned anything from history - it should be that when any racial grouping makes demands upon the thinking and behaviour of another racial grouping - it will be problematic.

But my main issue with Azizi's position remains one of music. To me this universal language presents us with our one chance to work together through all of our differences and demonstrate that common interests can and should come before our racial backgrounds and history. To also first approach music from looking back at your own racial perspective is to miss or limit the opportunity that this universal language presents for us all to move on together. Probably something that all of our ancestors would welcome....

To a lesser degree it is also a difference of the use of the written word. Does it really matter if we always know what racial grouping posters come from? Can we not just agree or disagree with what is said? You could always assume that every poster is whatever colour you wish them to be rather than assuming that they are not of your racial grouping. It is possibly not helpful to also assume that without being from a particualar racial grouping and without that direct experience they are too stupid to appreciate the things what may cause offence to another racial grouping.

Perhaps if your racial grouping matters so much to you - it is probably reasonable for you to think that it also matters as much to others. Perhaps this aspect just does not matter to many posters here?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST,A
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 06:01 AM

Wow Bobert, it would appear you have done everything! Surfs up in West Virginia, eh? Are you able to discuss anything with anybody that may have a differing opinion. Usually when a person becomes agitated and feels threatened by others, it is an indicator of several things, one being a lack of self-esteem.

Where were you able to latch on to "slave talk"? Jusy how old are you anyway?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 08:11 AM

There are many different definitions of racism. Most of them include some belief that one race is innately superior to others.

That is ABSOLUTELY NOT what I believe.

See this definition which is how I define racism:

"Racism may be viewed as any attitude, action, or institutional structure which subordinates a person or group because of his or her color. It is an ideology that considers a group's unchangeable physical characteristics to be linked in a direct, causal way to psychological or intellectual characteristics. This distinguishes between superior and inferior racial groups."

However I would add "racial background", "ethnicity", & "religion" as other reasons for the subordination of a member of one group by another group.

See other Definitions for racism

Note that I do not think that the music instructor who included "Pick A Bale of Cotton" in that school concert program was racist. I think he or she made a poor choice.

I also believe that instrumental music & vocal music can bring people together.

However, both types of music, can be loaded with associations-including racist ones-for some individuals and for some groups of people.

Should performers [and music teachers] be mindful of the negative associations that certain songs and certain instrumental music compositions have for groups of people?

My answer is Yes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: artbrooks
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 08:52 AM

Now, I don't know Bobert. Never met the man, although I'd consider it a privilege to do so. I've also never met a former slave, of any skin color. I have no idea how a former slave of African origin or descent actually spoke English, and I submit that there are very few (if any) people living today who do. I expect that their dialect was the same, or similar, to that spoken by their tan owners, who were mostly of Northern European origin or descent. I have known many tan people from Arkansas, West Virginia, Georgia, Alabama and other places in the southeastern United States who speak one of the several dialects of American Southern, and I have always assumed that Bobert's Mudcat-speak was his attempt to reproduce his own version of spoken English. Somebody who knows him...does he actually sound like that?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Bobert
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 08:54 AM

Apparently you have not read this entire thread, GUEST A 'er you'd know my history...

And, fir the record, I ain't got no low level of aself esteem, thankee very much... I'm still very much *in the game* and doing alot of varied things...

BTW, if you can pull up the issue of the Page News and Courier (Volume 138, No 35) which came out the first week of this past Septmeber you'll find my smiling face on the front page and a long article about the stuff I'm doing... No self esteem problem here...

No brag, just fact...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 09:06 AM

However, both types of music, can be loaded with associations-including racist ones-for some individuals and for some groups of people.

Perhaps you would accept that being loaded is not the same as actually being fired?

And some people can find racist associations and see offence - it would seem in almost anything. And some seem determimed not only to do so but to make everyone else feel forever guilty about their single-minded determination.

I was told once that in order to be offended - you had to subconsciously appear in some way to have given your permission for someone to offend you. That is possibly rubbish - or it may not be.

Azizi are you forever going to see yourself sitting at your college table and refusing invitations to sit with other groups? You seem almost determined - to stay in that isolated position here on our forum despite many warm approaches from people of whatever racial origin. There is little firm evidence to support your view of being minority here of two - as very few posters seem to see the need to express their racial grouping in the normal course of exchanges here. Many only seem to do so in response to threads like these.

I suggest that (as you say) yours is an American view - where many cultures appear to exist in one land but almost as if in separate countries and do not really have much common ground. The strength of our forum is the opportunity to read how other cultures with different histories deal with these issues - perhaps not to attempt to also tie them down to the way it tends to be done in the U.S.A?

I do not say that other counties had found the way to do it properly. Do you consider that the U.S way is the one everyone else should follow?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 09:14 AM

Roger,

let's just say that your initial statement was unfortunately phrased and could easily be misconstrued for meaning things you did not intend it to mean. Best to simply say "sorry, wrong phrasing, what I meant was..." and leave it at that. Don't dig further.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 09:50 AM

Azizi do you dislike white people?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 10:02 AM

Confucius he say "When hole is up yo lower lip, wise man stops digging.

Seriously tho', the tenor of this thread has changed for the worse, with sensitive debate being replaced in part by verbal fisticuffs.

If a bunch of normally fair minded Mudcatters find this issue difficult to deal with, how much more difficult for those with a genuine sense of grievance, and persecution.

The solution IMO, will remain a distant dream until BOTH sides learn to respect each other, and work at it together.

My last word on the subject, as I don't much like the direction this is taking now.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: M.Ted
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 10:19 AM

Martin, you know that Bobert is just trying to get you to come and visit--he'll take you down to the barbershop to meet the guys and play some blues, and maybe have some barbeque--and if you do, I will certainly come down, and, I am sure Bill D and Ron Bacon, among others will want to plan something too--and it ain't that far from Pittsburgh, Azizi, and, rest assured, in DC, you won't have to explain much of anything to anybody--

Anyway, it is probably time to post this link--Lyrics to "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist"   from the recent Broadway Show "Avenue Q"
------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 10:32 AM

let's just say that your initial statement was unfortunately phrased and could easily be misconstrued for meaning things you did not intend it to mean

Let's not.

My statement was simply a fact made in response to the preeding post . If it was construed by as being some form of judgement - then that is their mistake for not reading it carefully enough or for wishing to see in it something they wanted to see and take issue with.

There are surely enough real issues here to be addressed without this pedantry?


Azizi - Is it not enough for you to be shown respect as an individual? For you to take issue only if and when you do not feel that you have been shown sufficiant respect? Rather than as you appear to do - as some form of representitive of your racial grouping?

For I do find it a little strange that as you say that you found the role of black spokesperson so draining - that this appears to be exactly the role you have so willingly adopted on our forum. Especially as no one would ever know what your racial grouping was from your posts - unless you specifically stated it. Which of course you have.

I know and respect what you have said before about not feeling happy to be thought to be pretending to be something other than what you are or of perhaps being thought to be ashamed of it. But I can't help thinking that perhaps you may be a little confused in this thinking and asking rather too much of yourself and perhaps others.

Whatever your racial grouping - I and I suspect many others will treat your posts no better or no worse than we would treat others. But perhaps that is not what you want?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 10:53 AM

Well, this is all very interesting and informative. Now, I have a bit of a problem here(here in England, by the way, I appreciate Azizi is talking about America specifically). Well, the thing is, I have lot of black friends and colleagues(I am white) who are mostly musicians. And I play a lot of tunes on the tenor banjo, and quite a few people (surprisingly enough, given the reputation of the instrument) quite like it: and sometimes they even ask me to play. Now, just supposing we are sitting around in my house having a little social session, and we're all playing and singing. Now, say there's a knock on the door, and it's Azizi, and I invite her in. Now, what should I do? Knowing her distrss at the sound of a banjo, is putting the instrument away the right thing to do. But wouldn't this be rude to the (black)person who's asked me to play? So, what is the correct etiquette here?
    And also, would Azizi have joined the demomstrators who tried to stop Leadbelly playing, or would she have been one of his many admirers? I think we should all, irrespective of colour. consider this specific question. Difficult, I know, this is 2005, that was the 40's, but worth a bit of thought, I would say.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 11:03 AM

"Whatever your racial grouping - I and I suspect many others will treat your posts no better or no worse than we would treat others. But perhaps that is not what you want?"

Your implication is disgusting.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 11:35 AM

Azizi:

I have pretty much stayed out of this thread for awhile now, as it seems that it's slid into heated exchanges and missinterpretations.
I really appreciate your last few postings. They are calmly, and beautifully stated and at least as far as I'm concerned indicate a sincere desire to communicate with others. Part of the problem with forums like this is that words typed hastily become chiseled in stone, and it's hard to erase them. I have found some of your statements about not using the n-word or dressin in raggedy clothes and singing slave songs so obvious that I wondered why you even posted them. I doubt that there is anyone on this site who would even consider doing either of those things. For me, it's the subtleties of communication that are the ones that can create unintentional misunderstanding. For example, when I started going to a black church I forever banned the phrase "He's got it in spades" from my language. It's not that the phrase referred to the black slang word for blacks. But, I thought it could be somehow misinterpreted as that, so I stopped using it. It's not that I am nervous about saying that our car is black. If I've lost track of where I parked my car, I don't think I have to tell someone that I'm looking for an African-American car. But, there may be other ways that without intention I could say something that some (and I emphasize some) blacks might find offensive. I don't need to know that "all" blacks would. "Some" is enough for me to change the way I express myself. (One of the humorous, but not offensive assumptions that I've heard a few times from blacks is because I'm white, I must play golf. White folks play golf, black folks eat watermelon.. :-) Perhaps the missing ingredient in these discussions is even the faint glimmer of a sense of humor. Perhaps it's difficult to see anything in our trouble to communicate as humorous, but humor can help ease tension.

Mostly Asizi, your recent posts have meant a lot to me. By sharing your experiences and how you've felt, you've made a connection that I appreciate. I'd add one other. In the 60's when I was in Greenwich Village, a friend commented once that he was reverse-prejudiced. He'd had so little contact with blacks in his life, and identified so much with what they'd been through that he overlooked and nasty stuff they did. In the long run, that's not helpful either. We can try to understand what drives people to do destructive things, but we can't say that what they do is alright.

I'd hope (the topic of a different thread) that this conversation could get out of challenging or insulting each other so that we can humbly talk about our experiences and share ways that we can communicate better together.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 11:50 AM

I'd like to see 50cent playing a banjo! Most uncool Greg!


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 12:10 PM

This is in response to GUEST's question "Azizi, do you dislike White people?"

Guest, race & ethnicity has nothing to do with who I like or dislike.

****
In reply to Shamble's question "Is it not enough for you to be shown respect as an individual?"

No-that is not enough. Individuals are members of groups. IMO, group esteem is an important part of self-esteem. I believe that people should be concerned about how groups are treated, not just how specific individuals in those groups are treated as a result of personal and institutional racism.

****
Shambles, as you can discover by examining my Mudcat posts, there are numerous posts that I have written [including posts in threads that I have started] where I did not mention my race because I did not consider it to be pertinent to the topic being discussed.

In my very first Mudcat post, I mentioned my race because I believed it added credibility to my comments on the African American origin of the spiritual "Kumbayah". In other Mudcat threads on African American spirituals, I cite my race to indicate that I am speaking from my direct experience as an African American person.

In Mudcat threads on children's rhymes {my main area of interest here]when I provide examples of children's rhymes, I attempt to gather as much information as possible for the historical record. In the past it appears that researchers sometimes gathered age, gender, decades of performance, and geographical location of children's rhymes {or the rhymes that people remembered performing as children}. I believe that it is also important to document the race/ethnicity of informants/contributors. I believe this because my research strongly suggests that while there are a great deal of similarities in English language rhymes over space & time, there also are some differences in the types of rhymes African American children & non-African American children recite. There also appears to be some racial differences in the performance of rhymes. Of course, more research needs to be done to verify these findings. However, this research can not be conducted if people don't document children's race/ethnicity.

It appears that Hilda Fish and I are the only Mudcat members who identify ourselves in threads as being Black. However, I included a question mark in my statement about this as there may indeed be other Black people who post here. If so, I wish they would come out of the closet and join this discussion, whether they agreed with Hilda and me or not.

****

Greg Stephens, it may not be clear from my posts in this thread, but I am working on my issues with banjo music. I am trying to separate banjo music itself from the stereotypical images of banjo playing slaves that were perpetrated by proponents of slavery. Futhermore, I am trying to separate the music itself from minstrelsy, which imo was also portrayed Black people in very uncomplimentary ways.   

If I were a guest at your or anyone's home who was playing or singing music that I did not like, I would behave appropriately [meaning, that I would have manners]. Meaning, that I would grin & bear it]. And who knows, I might find out that I actually like that music.

As to whether I would have been an admirer of Lead belly's music in the 1940s. Who knows?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 12:11 PM

A story:

Several years ago when I was first invited to join the Male Chorus of an all black Baptist church, I was astonished by the reaction of some of my white friends. In particular, I couldn't believe some of the things that a married couple I'd known for years said. Each of them had dedicated their life to helping the poor and minorities. Each of them had been honored at one time as Person of the Year... one by the City where I lived and the other by the Council of Churches and Synagogues for a much larger area. They served on Boards of inner-city organizations and were tireless in their efforts to raise funds to support them. You'd be hard-pressed to find two people who had so committed their lives trying to help a primarily black community.

When I told them that I was going to go to the black church because I I wanted to worship with the people I'd been invited to sing with, they came up with an astonishing admonition: "You shouldn't go to a black church. That's the only place where they can be "black." As soon as you walk in the church, they won't be comfortable."   Once I stopped laughing and said, "What? They won't be able to eat watermelon?" I realized they were dead serious. They said it out of a greatly mis-directed respect for the black community, not out of any negative judgment. When I challenged them on the statement (which I thought was one of weirdest things I'd ever heard anyone say,) they stuck to their guns. They backed up their belief by referring to another white woman who was extremely active in inner-city anti-poverty groups, and was equally well-intentioned who believed the same thing. This is an extreme example of how little some people understand each other, even when they have dedicated their lives to helping them.

When I told Joe and Frankie about this, they thought it was hilarious, and for awhile, I'd say jokingly as we walked into an all- black church... "Just watch now.. as soon as I walk through this door, everyone will have to stop being black." That was when I still paid attention to my being a different color. Those days are long since gone, thankfully.

To end the story, the couple who admonished me never to go into a black church asked to come to church with me one Sunday. I could see that they were uncomfortable, but I respected that they were beginning to realize how foolish the barrier was that they'd set between themselves and a community they'd spent thier life helping.
They thought that they were being respectful and sensitive. I thought it was a very positive step forward to them to see blacks as just other folks.

As the occasionally maligned Leadbelly sang "We're in the same boat, brother."

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 12:36 PM

Roger,
*sigh*...

Azizi,

good thread, and I have been following it with a lot of interest, though I have little more to contribute. I think there are very few absolute universal truths, and "what is deemed to be offensive" is not one of them, as it depends so much on context, background etc (the fact that the rules for avoiding offence have changed over the years is itself proof of the variability of the matter). But I am learning a lot of the current background thinking on the subject, and what influences it, and I find it fascinating.

Most people have persevered in treating this as a serious discussion; we can ignore those that sidetrack it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: CarolC
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 02:07 PM

I don't think I have anything useful to contribute to this discussion, but I would like to say that I appreciate the opportunity to hear your thoughts and feelings on this subject, Azizi, and I'm glad you felt you could start a thread like this one here in the Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 02:41 PM

Azizi: I suppose the most influential musician in the world in the 20th century was Louis Armstrong, few would dispute that. And of his wondrous range of recordings, I suspect a majority of those who have made a study of him would pick the Hot Five records as the absolute bees-knees. Now, these incredible gems of perfect music feature the great Johnny St Cyr on the dreaded b***o. I think if you are are trying to deal with your issues on this subject, just put the record on, and listen with a big smile on your face.
    As to Leadbelly in the 40's, of course you don't know how you would have reacted. I am just asking you, very sincereely, here and now: are you with the people who recorded him, admired him, smoothed his path, promoted him etc etc: or are you with the rather small number of people who derided him and actually demonstrated at his performances by jeering. Their reasons were broadly the same then as your objections now to "Pick a bale of cotton" and other items in his repertoire that were a little too down-home for the tastes of some, at the tim.
    I am, by the way, not making a judgement on the rightness or not of the current school incident we are debating. I don't know the circumstances in enough detail. I just hope that the ensuing fuss will not result in further censorship of black music because it has elements now felt by some to be inappropriate.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 02:53 PM

greg stephens,

I answered I don't know how I would have responded to Lead Belly or anyone else in the 1940s because I truly don't know.

But one thing I'm certain about- jeering isn't my style.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 03:10 PM

Azizi: if you were to PM me your address, I would be very glad to send you a nice compilation of black banjo players(not to mention a few white ones such as yours truly) in the hope of converting your mind to a more Right Way of Thinking about the banjo, a much maligned instrument. to my way of thinking.
    As to "Pick a Bale of Cotton" and such-like material, avoid any recordings featuring Leadbelly with the Golden Gate Quartet. Stick to him on his own, much better value.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: mg
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 03:49 PM

you don't have to like the banjo. i don't especially like the harp and supposedly some of my ancestors must have at least wanted to play it..well, my aunt wanted me to learn it. If you don't like it, you don't like it. You don't have to. You don't have to hate it either.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Biskit
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 04:48 PM

By seperating into groups wheter they be academic, religious, ethnic,or whatever, you are retarding the effort to be accepted as a person, as a fellow human being, by saying I'm Black, or I'm White, or I'm rich, or I'm Poor you are limiting yourself and the people around you from being part of the whole of the human experience. How can we ever overcome prejudice, hatred, and genocide, when we see ourselves as belonging to this group or that, rather than just accepting your brother or sister for who they are. Not who their parents, Grandparents, or Great-Great Grandparents were or what they did and to whom, or what color their skin was or wasn't. But who that individual is and what they are doing to help the world become a better place. I believe with all me heart until we are able to accomplish that, we'll never progress as a spiecies. This is my humble opinion, I know their are a lot of folks on this forum much more educated and "enlightened" than I, but it has always seemed pretty simple to me. C'mon people now,smile on your Brother, everybody get together, an' try to Love one-another right now.
Peace! Through Understanding
~Biskit~


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 04:53 PM

greg stephens,

Thanks, however I prefer not to give my address out.

mg-I appreciate your comment. I'll give banjo music another try, and if it meets my personal taste, good. If not, well-life goes on.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 05:15 PM

When I found "De Massa Ob De Sheefol'", I knew I could never sing it that way and be true to my own instincts. The original poem, by Sarah Pratt McLean Greene (born in CT-1856/ died in MA-1935), morphed into the song I've recorded twice. I changed it to "The Master Of The Sheepfold" --- and I left most of the dialect out of it. I knew I loved it and wanted to sing it because, from my point of view, it was about inclusion rather than exclusion! Being an atheist, any religious aspect of it just wasn't important to me. But the old dialect way of singing simply didn't seem to be respectful -- or accurate. It wasn't me, and I wouldn't / couldn't sing it with that two-centuries-ago-white-man's-exaggerated-view-of-how-blacks-talked mish mash still intact.

I think I made a better song out of it. And the feel still lets the listener get the true gist of it if they are at all sensitive to the social reality within the content as expressed in the text.

I think I'll find the thread on that song, "The Master Of The Sheepfold", and resurrect it so those interested might look into it...

That's generally how I feel about the premise of this thread. If it feels wrong, it possibly really is---so before you do it, give it some thought. It's just the good old golden rule--all over again.   ;-)

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 05:35 PM

"C'mon people now,smile on your Brother, everybody get together, an' try to Love one-another right now"

Let's Get Together

Love is but a song we sing
Fear a way we die
You can make the mountains ring
Or hear the angels cry
Though the dove is on the wing
You need not know why

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

Some will come and some will go
We shall surely pass
When the wind that left us here
Returns for us at last
We are but a moment's sunlight
Fading on the grass

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

If you hear the song I'm singing
You will understand
You hold the key to love and fear
All in your trembling hand
One key unlocks them both you know
It's at your command

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

Biskit has a fine choice of song he keeps quoting from--if twice is 'keeps quoting'. I used it to end many sets during the 1960s, and it is a good song to remember for today. I liked the version done by Jesse Colin Young anf the Youngbloods. The words above are those done by Linda Ronstadt.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST,Martin Gbison
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 06:10 PM

Greg stephens, I beg to differ about Louis Armstron as being the MOST influential misician in the 20th century. My vote goes to Hank Williams who did give credit to being influenced by a black street musician in Montgomery, alabama known as Teetot.

No one has addressed though the issue of the double standard culturally of why it is OK for blacks to insult themselves loudly and in public with the N word. I find this to be a phenomenon that I cannot say that I have ever heard any other culture/racial group do this. That, and to so continuously have their male musical artists so constantly ridicule and demean females in music.

We had for a long time a news anchor who happened to be black and was very articulate. He was really quite well respected. A friend of mine who happens to be black enjoyed telling me that he happened to be a party where this news anchor attended and without any whites present, was hardly recognizable as his speech went completely ebonic.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 06:27 PM

Speech/diction change according to the situation.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Biskit
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 07:34 PM

I prefered the Youngbloods even though Linda is a Homegirl. However, I don't think anyone did Silver Threads and Golden Needles Better than Her. Words to live by Amigo.
Peace! Through Understanding
~Biskit~


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: M.Ted
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 07:39 PM

Aziza Says:


In reply to Shamble's question "Is it not enough for you to be shown respect as an individual?"

>No-that is not enough. Individuals are members of groups. IMO, >group esteem is an important part of self-esteem.

Aziza, neither you, nor anyone else, belongs to a permanent group of any sort. Groups exist only for the expediency of whoever happens to be doing the grouping---

Racism is simply way of grouping--the initial purpose was probably to simply create a permanent working class who wouldn't be assisimilated into the general population-- but now it functions as a way to restrict a certain group of people from the full benefits of the society that they live in--

"Freedom" in a society means freedom to group with whom you choose, or not to group at all. In other words, no "You belong there because you're one of them."

Many years ago, when Detroit had a blues scene and the suburbs were kept white by restrictive lending practices, a number of blues fans,and politically and socially "aware" students gravitated to Hastings Street--one of the crowd, oiled by a bit of Stroh's, waxed poetic about what a
"groovie scene" it was. One of the residents said, "Yeah, for you maybe, but you can leave whenever you want."


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 07:42 PM

"Silver Threads and Golden Needles"

Her version definitely Rocked--with a capital R.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 08:47 PM

Azizi - you do not appear to have addressed why - having stated here how draining you found being in company where you were or felt you were expected to speak as some form of authority for your racial grouping - that you appear to have willingly volunteered to adopt that very role on our forum?

I think it is fair to say that sadly outside of our forum the choice to always avoid being included or excluded from social groups on racial grounds was perhaps not open to you or any of us. But when posting your words as a fully equal member of our forum - no one would know your racial grouping or expect you to be a spokesperson for anything.

Is it interesting and it does appear a little strange to me that having had that choice on being welcomed to our forum - and where I think you may accept that there was no stated need or request made for you to adopt this role - you freely chose to put yourself in the role of spokesperson for your racial grouping? A role that you admit you found draining outside of our forum and tried to avoid by not joining company in which this occurred.....   

Individuals are members of groups. IMO, group esteem is an important part of self-esteem. I believe that people should be concerned about how groups are treated, not just how specific individuals in those groups are treated as a result of personal and institutional racism.

I think this touches on something that others have mentioned. The assumption is made when this group approach takes precedent over the individual one - that an offence is generally made TO the group. And more importantly it then follows that the offence is made BY another group. Would you accept that individuals who would never dream of causing that offence are then included in this offending group?

For example - Seeing the playing of banjo music as causing offence to your ancestors is one thing and a personal taste of yours to which you are welcome to express and others to disagree. The implication in this thread and under this title - that all of your racial grouping would perhaps feel the same as you do - is quite another.

For on purely practical grounds the reaction as we can see is that many of the banjo players get twitchy and defensive at the thought that they are part of a group that is accused of causing offence to the group you have volunteered to be spokesperson for. Can you see this?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Biskit
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 08:53 PM

Yeah it did! She occasionally does a benefit concert here in Tucson. She's a little slower,(aren't we all though) and there's a bit "more" of her (ditto what I said before) but she still has a beautifuly haunting voice.
Peace! Through Understanding
~Biskit~


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: LilyFestre
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 11:20 PM

I haven't read this entire thread because frankly, there is so much pretense and pompous rambling here that it is just unbelieveable. I haven't ever seen a thread about how one race should act with another...tips to getting along with black, yellow, green, white, purple, red, whatever color people...geez...when will anyone get that we should ALL treat EVERYONE with respect. I am not going to tiptoe around Suzie Q because she is black or around Pete because he is Native American anymore than I expect them to tip toe around me because my ancestory is German....when will everyone stop talking the talk and start walking the walk? BLAH BLAH BLAH It's SO DAMN EASY. People are people...be nice to one another...it's that simple.

Michelle


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 11:23 PM

That's what Biskit's been saying.

"C'mon people now, smile on your brother . . .".


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: LilyFestre
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 11:30 PM

*Humming* I love that song...been singing it around campfires for years!

Michelle


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Biskit
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 12:23 AM

Bruce, Michelle, all together now in 3 part harmony C'mon people now, smile on your Brother, everybody get together, try to Love one another right now. maybe it'll be contagious and spread Eh?
Peace! Through Understanding
~Biskit~


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 12:26 AM

When you first posted that I thought you were nuts. Now, hell, you're a beautiful kinda crazy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 12:29 AM

"Peace through understanding".

I love it.

And the song is great too.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 02:06 AM

They do say that one picture is worth a thousand words.

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=86612&messages=17

The following from the above thread.

Subject: RE: To Azizi-Please check this out
From: Azizi - PM
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 11:10 PM

Notice to all Mudcatter Members and Guests:

I, Azizi Powell, hereby promise to cease dissing banjos.

I publicly admit that in the past banjo music has hit a number of triggers in me. However, henceforth and forever more when I think about banjos I will replace the negative images that I believe were used to promote slavery and minstrelsy and replace those images with Henry O Tanner's positive painting of a Black grandfather teaching his grandson how to play the banjo.

I will not go so far as to seek out banjo music, but I will keep an open mind and an open ear while hearing that music.

Also, I want to apologize to any banjo player I may have offended by dissing your instrument of choice.

My bad.

I will try to do be more open minded in the future.

Thank you,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Cluin
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 08:35 AM

Stop doing that silly little victory dance, Shambles. You're spookin' the horses.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST,A
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 09:55 AM

Good one, Shambles!

Bobert, Reference our posts of 22 Nov 6:01 AM and 22 Nov 8:54 AM;

I could less what you have done, can do or are planning to do. I have my own little life to work with albeit much more minor than yours or so you would like some to believe.

My question was "how did you pick up slave talk" and "how old are you anyway" since the vernacular has changed greatly in the past 150 plus years


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 10:08 AM

"Good one, Shambles!"

You seem to have all the grace of a dog in heat, GUEST,A. It's about 'winning' to you, isn't it?!


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: *daylia*
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 10:29 AM

Azizi says above In reply to Shamble's question "Is it not enough for you to be shown respect as an individual?"

No-that is not enough. Individuals are members of groups. IMO, group esteem is an important part of self-esteem. I believe that people should be concerned about how groups are treated, not just how specific individuals in those groups are treated as a result of personal and institutional racism.


Yes, group esteem is an important part of self-esteem. I'd like to point out that this works both ways too. THe way members of a group allow themselves to be treated and how they choose to respond to that treatment is an important part of group esteem too.

For example, I just made some major changes in the way I run my small business. As a private music teacher, I used to lose weeks of income/year and spend hours of my "personal time" each week trying to reschedule lessons missed for the lamest of excuses ("I forgot" or "little johnny got invited to a birthday party" or "we're taking the kids to Disneyland for two weeks - so here's your cheque for only half the fees we owe this month" etc etc etc etc).

For years I allowed my salary and working hours to be dictated by the fleeting whims of the 30-40 families I serve. The stress and loss of income didn't seem to be enough to inspire me to change my ways, but thankfully getting some ideas from other teaching Catters and reading what another piano teacher had to say about it a couple weeks ago did the trick ...

"When we represent ourselves as a quality product, the public will view us as such ... Through our policies and attitudes we contribute toward the way the public treats ALL piano teachers. If we let ourselves become "doormats", we are contributing to the view that piano teachers are (and should be) treated poorly, that their income and business policies are not as important as those who work for a big corporation, or just plain work for someone else!"

Changed those policies 10 days ago - and it's saved me $100 already! Students and parents are now motivated to put music first instead of last on the priority list. And they think twice before they call me to cancel, because their studio fees have been paid in advance and are NOT refundable, and they know missed lessons are rescheduled only for a (very short) list of legitimate reasons now.

I'd be a much richer, more relaxed and respected lady if I'd done this long ago!

I think both the group and self-esteem of "African Americans" (guess I'd better include "African Canadians" here too) would be improved immensely if certain members of that particular "group" quit promoting and propogating use of "the N word" either as a term of endearment or to embellish (??) hip-hop/rap music!

On the same note, it's helpful to remember that no matter what people say or sing or do, it cannot "hurt" me unless I allow it to!   Whether I feel hurt or angry or offended depends not on what other people say or sing or do but solely on my own thoughts and attitudes. ANd my attitudes/thoughts are MY CHOICE, and mine alone.

Part of self-esteem and self-acceptance is letting go of other people's opinions. If someone kept telling me over and over again "You are a purple pig ...you are a purple pig ... you are a purple pig", I'd either laugh, feel annoyed or think they were crazy. It would be highly unlikely that I'd believe I was a purple pig, or allow myself to feel even a moment of grief over it!

Why not adopt the same approach to racial slurs/stereotypes? It's much easier and more effective remedy than trying to dictate or control what other people think or do or sing or say! As human beings, we cannot change another person anyway - we can only change ourselves.   

IMHO.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST,A
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 10:47 AM

Peace, I have admitted I am a simple individual (not minded) and can be somewhat naive. No one "wins" when it comes to opinions and I don't know anyone that thinks that way. Well, at least until now.
I simply want a couple answers so I can formulate an opinion, whetehr it be agrees with all or not. (and, of course it won't nor do I expect it to.)

The one thing I have noticed here is many of the men, and not to exclude myself, could learn a lot from the ladies that post here Decorum, friendliness, not expecting to be agreed with all the time and just some positive responses that they give. Would be difficult for me to exclude any of the Ladies. Is it possible that a differenc in a males' Nationality makes him more agressive? Turf comparisons?
Or perhaps just plain jealousy? From my position, the Pike fishing is so much better 'up North'.

Woof!


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 11:02 AM

Once a person--in this case Azizi--has admitted she wasn't as right as she though she was, only a cad would stand on the sidelines and cheer the way you did with that remark. You are not simple. You are cheap. And that shot you took shows it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Biskit
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 11:03 AM

;)


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: *daylia*
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 11:14 AM

I think both the group and self-esteem of "African Americans" (guess I'd better include "African Canadians" here too) would be improved immensely if certain members of that particular "group" quit promoting and propogating use of "the N word" either as a term of endearment or to embellish (??) hip-hop/rap music!

Shoulda mentions so-called "stand-up comedy" too. Ever heard of Dave Chappelle (ie The Chappelle's Show)? My son unfortunately likes it, and I've had to set up some very clear boundaries around here because it literally MAKES ME SICK. Dave Chappelle is a good-looking young African-American, who makes millions every year propogating the ignorant racial/gender stereotypes at the root of the "social disease" this thread addresses. Check out these poor excuses for "humour" ...

I'm Rick James, bitch!
# Come here, darkness.
# Brother darknesses! Look everyone darkness is spreading.
# I'm one of the baddest motherfuckers of all time, one of the best singers and one of the best looking motherfuckers you've ever seen. Hold my drink, bitch.
# I wish I had more hands, so I could give those titties four thumbs down!
# They shoulda never given you niggas money!
# Then Jasper said 'look here nigger, if anyone's gonna have sex with my sister, its gonna be ME.
# Let's talk about Chinese people! With their kung-fu and their silly chang-chang-chong talk! We can't understand you! Go back to yer country! White power!
# I hate niggers, jews, ho-mo sexuals, A-rabs, mexicans, and all sorts a Chinks, they STANK and I HATE 'EM!"

IMO until the unwashed masses quit forking out millions in support of this type of "humour" (???), we've about as much chance as a snowflake in hell of doing away with negative stereotypes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 11:23 AM

Shambles: For someone who refuses to ever admit that even one word of all the stuff you post might not be the right choice, it is sad to see you cutting and pasting Azizi's sincere expressions of a change of heart and a desire to be more open-minded. The day that you acknowledge that you have stated something poorly and are sorry for any hurt you caused others will be a day to remember. I'm nopt counting on it.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 11:26 AM

Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Cluin - PM
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 04:37 AM

"Will your next racial no no be the playing of banjos?"

That right there is called hyperbole.
It's an old weapon of master debaters and like many of those old strokes it gets in the way of intelligent discussion.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And a little later in his thread as expected – along comes Racial No No 4.

Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Azizi - PM
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 08:16 PM

Racial no no

4. Playing banjo music to celebrate Black American history and
culture would be considered offensive to many African Americans
as we {perhaps more than White Americans} consider this
instrument to be part of the caricature of the watermelon eating,
pop eyed Southern widely grining slave who was happy in his
servitude.

I trust that we can now safely ignore racial No No 4 and perhaps I will receive an apology for being accused of hypebole for my question - which turned-out to be a very accurate prediction?

Perhaps not?


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The one thing I have noticed here is many of the men, and not to exclude myself, could learn a lot from the ladies that post here Decorum, friendliness, not expecting to be agreed with all the time and just some positive responses that they give. Would be difficult for me to exclude any of the Ladies. Is it possible that a differenc in a males' Nationality makes him more agressive? Turf comparisons?
Or perhaps just plain jealousy? From my position, the Pike fishing is so much better 'up North'.


Yet another can of worms………………..But of course the pike fishing is so much better 'down South'. *Smiles*

I can't help wondering what the response would have been from all posters to a man who was attempting to introducing these racial no nos? Possibly the ability of males to tolerate without agression and posturing - is somewhat better than thought? Well towards females anyway?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 12:17 PM

A Mere Man


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 12:35 PM

Shambles. You are a very sorry individual.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: *daylia*
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 12:49 PM

Hey Peace - please don't allow it to make a Shambles of your own Peace (of mind I mean)   it's an improvement on Dave Chappelle anyway


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST,A
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 12:58 PM

Peace, I told you I was naive. Explain the "cheap shot to me.
Please, and thank you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Janie
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 01:06 PM

Having knowledge of the 'other's' history, culture and personal experience increases understanding and the ablility to see the 'other' POV as having validity.

    Yesterday I listened to Terry Gross interview Jerry Mitchell on Fresh Air. Mr. Mitchell is a reporter for the Clarion-Times in Jackson, Mississippi, and is about to win an award (sorry--I now forget which one) for his investigative reporting that has led to the reopening of several civil rights murder cases from the 1960's. On another thread I have mentioned a book by Timothy Tyson called "Blood Done Sign My Name" about race riots in Oxford, NC in the early 1970's. By the way, both men are white southerners.

    We white Americans may have a tendency to forget that legal racial discrimination is NOT ancient history, and that blatant racial prejudice and discrimination, while not legally sanctioned, and not as common, are still very much alive and well in our country, especially here in the South.

    In our country, we are not merely experiencing the institutional legacy of slavery and the Jim Crow south, we are still seeing racism actively practiced on a personal level among some whites in every single community of this country. To not expect that everyday reality to color how many African Americans interpret all, or nearly all, of their social experiences with the dominant white culture, is very naive.

    And so....while I may experience Azzizi telling me the N-word is a no-no as condenscending, I can certainly understand that she may not have intended it to be so. And intentions do matter--but we can't get to the intentions without these open, honest, and uncomfortable conversations.

Janie


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: stevenrailing
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 01:12 PM

Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST,David Hannam - PM
Date: 19 Nov 05 - 08:12 AM

I have said this before, man will always offend man. Being offensive is part of human nature. We are not clearly talking here about racial crime, (both ways) we are talking about 'no no's'! These no no's are a stifle on human nature.

Yes someone will call a black man a 'n*****' and wrongly so too, yes someone will abuse a white man for being white, wrongly so too, but should the increased danger of criminal prosecution be introduced to curb offensive behaviour? I'm not telling, i'm asking?

When in an argument, i call my opponent 'fat obese s***'? He in turn calls me a 'big nosed 'd**k', lol, or vice-versa, so what is the answer? Imprison either on the basis of making 'inflammatory remarks designed to offend'?

Sensitivities between the varying ethnicities are a product of liberalism, and white liberalism at that, gone mad!!! In truth, the Sikh doesn't mind whatsoever that Briton's would celebrate Christ at Christmas? But white liberals cater for a myth surrounding the minorities that they have created. A myth based in repression of the host peoples culture, and a complete lack of understanding that most people, from whatever background simply want to get on with their life, and really couldn't care less if people want to celebrate Christmas. I refer here of course to various councils banning the word 'christmas' in public celebrations!

Nursery ryhmes - Blah Blah Black Sheep? Do black people really care, i suspect they don't!

This is commonsense talk. i have friends from all communities and backgrounds for the most part and none care about sensitivities. the whole thread is the effects of hyper-sensitivity.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 01:22 PM

"Peace, I told you I was naive. Explain the "cheap shot to me."

Not naive, Disingenuous is a better term. If you don't understand all by yourself, my explanation won't help anything. And drop the "please and thank you" routine. No one snaps his fingers at me and gets service. That means you, too.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: wendyNY
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 01:30 PM

I think all black people should all go back to africa


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST,A
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 01:33 PM

"No one wins when it comes to opions
and I don't know of anyone that thinks that way."
"Well at least until now."

If that was what you considered the "cheap shot", good. Because that comment was directdly soley towards you.

And I apologize for the "please and thank you" remark. For a minute, I was reminded of a shirt salesman I encountered one time.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: CarolC
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 01:48 PM

repression of the host peoples culture

That statement right there is problematic here in the US. The "host peoples" would be the indigenous peoples of North America (who collectively refer to themselves these days as American Indians), and their culture was indeed brutally repressed by people who came here from elsewhere (Europe). African culture has been a part of the cultural mix in North America for just about as long as European culture. So here, at any rate, European culture is not the host culture to African culture.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST,David Hannam
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 01:51 PM

Agree, you can not use that same criteria i used for N.America.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 01:56 PM

It rather depends how far you wish to go back.

Prior to the Triassic period in the earth's history - all the land masses were all joined together in super continent called Pangea. They have drifted apart into continents - rather like all of the human beings who evolved and wanderered them have also drifted apart.

Anyone fancy joining me in being a Pangeian?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: CarolC
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 02:28 PM

Only if they had accordions in Pangea.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 02:41 PM

They had not only accordions, Carol, but also banjos. And that drum thing that will remain nameless. (It starts with b.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Biskit
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 03:44 PM

While it is tempting to go Pangea-a-wondering,....who'll stay here an' slay the dragons?,if not for us, who'll keep the children safe an' warm? unless,........ we could take the young-uns with us??!!?? In that case I'm in! piss on the dragons they'll die of boredom or do each other in.
;)
Peace! Through Understanding
~Biskit~


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Goose Gander
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 05:17 PM

"'Pick A Bale Of Cotton' is a horrible song not because of how it sounds, but because of what it celebrates. How sick to look at it any other way. "Tomorrow Belongs To Me" is the song of the former Hitler Youth that still reverberates among the young fascists of today. Do we get children to sing it because it is "anthemic" and "choral" and has a significant European history. I don't think so."

Hilda Fish-

I am aghast that you would equate Leadbelly's bragging song with a Nazi anthem, and I can only conclude that you yourself do not know "what the song celebrates."


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 06:37 PM

Only if they had accordions in Pangea.

Sadly they did - I fear that is when the continent started to divide.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Peace
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 11:22 PM

"I think all black people should all go back to africa "

Come back when you sober up.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 11:38 PM

Black people should never open a diaper service business in a Greek neighborhood and name it "Afro Ditey" !!   ;-)

Art


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: hilda fish
Date: 24 Nov 05 - 02:06 AM

Thanks for the comment Micheal Morris but the song has nuthin' to do with Leadbelly - ever - The sun on the meadow is summery warm
The stag in the forest runs free
But gathered together to greet the storm
Tomorrow belongs to me

The branch on the linden is leafy and green
The Rhine gives its gold to the sea (Gold to the sea)
But somewhere a glory awaits unseen
Tomorrow belongs to me

Now Fatherland, Fatherland, show us the sign
Your children have waited to see
The morning will come
When the world is mine
Tomorrow belongs to me
Tomorrow belongs to me
Tomorrow belongs to me
Tomorrow belongs to me

[ADDITIONAL VERSE]
The babe in his cradle is closing his eyes
The blossom embraces the bee
But soon says the whisper, arise, arise
Tomorrow belongs to me
Tomorrow belongs to me


Sorry Azizi, I weakened there and know will regret it. Thanks for the advice Art Thieme. I will take it very seriously indeed!


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Nov 05 - 04:31 AM

Tomorrow belongs to me was not a Nazi song - it was written for the musical Cabaret. It illustrates a point beautifully in that context. I don't think the Nazi's ever knocked up anything of similar worth.

You have made the common mistake of mistaking the words that a character says in story, for the the subtle intentions of the author. Poor old Salman Sushdie is under sentence of death because of similar dumb apprehensions.

I suppose there are people out there who really think Randy Newman hates short People and in favour of 'keeping the niggers down' - a very ironic line from his song Rednecks.

Life must be full of alarums and dangers if you can't think, and insist that your kids don't make the effort either.

Would you favour the banning of the song Summertime in schools because of the patronising view of black society in Porgy and Bess?

educating kids is too difficult, they should start on the parents.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: greg stephens
Date: 24 Nov 05 - 05:39 AM

Hilda Fish: your last post is a bit confusing, and I'm not quite clear if your Leadbelly comment refers to "Pick a Bale of Cotton" or "Tomorrow Belongs to Me". Just to clarify things, "Pick a Bale of Cotton" is quintessentially a Leadbelly song, and is a classic example of a long tradition of oppressed people bragging in adversity("John Henry" and "Grey Goose" are often cited as similar examples). Leadbelly is unassailably a huge figure in African-American cultural history, but some people have been ambivalent about some of his songs. Azizi objects to W"Pick a Bale of Cotton" because he is so upbeat and celebratory and boastful in it. Others,have taken a completely reverse viewpoint, and have objected to being reminded of the tragedies of oppression in the hideously realistic and mournful "Aint no more cane on the Brazos". My own personal opinion is that both these songs are fantastic bits of music, and extraordinary historical evidence. But context is everything, and I dont pass any judgement on the correctness of the decision about whether or not it was a good thing to sing the song in one specific school on one specific occasion in one speciifc set of circumstances. I dont think I, or Azizi, or Hilda Fish, know enough about this case to be certain of a position on that question.
On the subject of the other song Hilda Fish is referring to,"Tomorrow belongs to me" is not a real Nazi song: it is a spoof Nazi song, as far as I know.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Jeri
Date: 24 Nov 05 - 09:46 AM

"Tomorrow Belongs to Me" is from Cabaret, and the lyrics are pretty innofensive by themselves. Isn't it remarkable that such harmless (English) lyrics can cause such a strong reaction based on who and what people associate with a song? Others can choose to take whatever it is back or let the bad guys steal it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial No-nos
From: Goose Gander
Date: 24 Nov 05 - 01:38 PM

"'Pick A Bale Of Cotton' is a horrible song not because of how it sounds, but because of what it celebrates. How sick to look at it any other way. "Tomorrow Belongs To Me" is the song of the former Hitler Youth that still reverberates among the young fascists of today. Do we get children to sing it because it is "anthemic" and "choral" and has a significant European history. I don't think so."

"Thanks for the comment Micheal Morris but the song has nuthin' to do with Leadbelly - ever"

Hilda Fish-

I too am puzzled by your response to my post. You said that Leadbelly's "Pick A Bale of Cotton" is "a horrible song...because of what it celebrates," and you compared it to a song appropriated by the Nazis. As Greg Stephens and others have pointed out, Leadbelly's popular version of "Pick a Bale of Cotton" is a bragging song, it dates to the early twentieth century, and it has no connection to slavery or the Hitler Youth.


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