The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #140761 Message #4066364
Posted By: hsempl
29-Jul-20 - 01:03 AM
Thread Name: Are racist, but traditional, songs OK?
Subject: RE: Tech: Hints for Zoom Singaround Hosts
The issue isn't whether or not the word is objectively offensive - I don't know, and opinions vary I'm sure among Hawai'ians and other Islanders as well. It's that if someone says something is offensive, then it is offending them. It sounds like you are saying you don't care about that. You say you expect people to be smart enough to realize you aren't meaning offense when you sing a historical song. But without context, in a jovial sing-around rather than a more formal venue, not everyone is going to be familiar with every song and know its history. You refer to giving context as an "apology." It's not an apology to give a heads up when a song is known to be possibly offensive. And when (as in the case at Monday's sing) it was clear the singers had not been aware of that fact, there's no need for anything other then, at that point, a quick acknowledgment and apology for offending - same as you would if you'd accidentally stepped on someone's foot - and then moving on. But it sounds like unless you personally believe something is offensive you don't believe it should offend anyone else.
Also, I understand "the deal" with traditional music. For the past four years I've been one of the hosts of a weekly community radio show that focuses on ballads and other traditional music. I think it can be assumed that everyone on Mudcat is aware that the songs our great-grandparents sang were more racist than the songs of today. That felt a little patronizing.