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Lyr Add: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes

Azizi 10 Apr 07 - 12:48 PM
Azizi 10 Apr 07 - 12:58 PM
Ruth Archer 10 Apr 07 - 01:05 PM
Azizi 10 Apr 07 - 01:07 PM
Azizi 10 Apr 07 - 01:16 PM
Azizi 10 Apr 07 - 01:55 PM
Azizi 10 Apr 07 - 04:20 PM
Azizi 10 Apr 07 - 06:31 PM
Azizi 05 Mar 09 - 05:33 AM
Azizi 05 Mar 09 - 05:36 AM
Azizi 05 Mar 09 - 07:07 AM
GUEST,meessha 29 Aug 09 - 09:36 AM
Azizi 29 Aug 09 - 09:55 AM
GUEST,Mani 12 May 10 - 01:45 PM
mg 12 May 10 - 09:48 PM
GUEST,abi 13 Jul 10 - 12:30 PM
GUEST,mg 13 Jul 10 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,guest..jenna 01 Oct 10 - 04:12 PM
GUEST 09 Oct 10 - 10:56 PM
GUEST,MW 19 Oct 10 - 10:25 PM
GUEST,Patty 26 Nov 10 - 01:46 PM
GUEST,guest 12 Dec 10 - 03:54 PM
GUEST,Azizi 13 Dec 10 - 07:23 AM
GUEST,Alexis 22 Dec 10 - 06:36 PM
GUEST,UK 01 Apr 12 - 04:02 PM
GUEST,80s Baby, Sweetie 24 Jun 12 - 12:15 PM
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Subject: Down Down Baby-Race in Kid's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 10 Apr 07 - 12:48 PM

"Down Down Baby" is a children's rhyme that is are also known by the titles "I Love Coffee. I Like Tea", and "Shimmy Shimmy CoCo Puff" {or "Coco Pow", "Coco Pops" or some other similar sounding phrase}.

Like many folk rhymes, the "Down Down Baby" family of children's rhymes are composed by stringing together a number of usually four line rhyming verses. These verses are often found as 'stand alone' rhymes, and they may also be often found in combination with other rhymes.

Standard jump rope versions of this rhyme are usually given as:
{Version 1}        
I like coffee
I like tea
I like the boys {or say a boy's name}
And the boys like me {and he likes me}

and

{Version 2}
I like coffee
I like tea
I want {say another jumper's name}
to come jump with me

-snip-

In my admittedly unscientific & relatively limited research, I have collected contemporary examples of these rhymes from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and its surrounding area. I have also collected examples of these rhymes from Erie, Pennsylvania, New York City, New York, Crawfordville, Georgia, and from Internet posters from other known & unknown geographical locations. Posters to the Internet websites, including my own website, http://www.cocojams.com/ sometimes share information that helps to determine when the rhymes are being {or have been recited} and whether the posters are children or adults. Internet posters often provide information that helps to determine how the rhymes are performed {that is, whether they are jump rope rhymes, handclap rhymes, or some other performance activity is done while reciting the rhymes}. It appears that since the 1980s "Down Down Baby" rhymes are usually recited while performing handclap rhymes and not while jumping rope.

While this change in performance activity is noteworthy, there are other changes in the contemporary {1980s to date} versions of these Down Down Baby rhymes that I find particularly disturbing. With very few exceptions, it appears that these rhymes have become confrontational in nature-formulaic verses are almost always included that mention race and that threaten physical violence from a Black {or "Colored"} person to a White person.

I find this to be particularly worthy of comment and exploration since so few contemporary children's rhymes that I have collected mention race or ethnicity.

The confrontational action in these verses follows a consistent pattern. First, these rhymes are almost always given from a female perspective {which makes sense since the person or persons reciting these rhymes are usually girls}. Secondly, in the rhyme, a Black {or "Colored"} girl rejects the advances of a White boy. Thirdly, the girl tells the White boy that she "likes a Black boy and he likes me". And fourthly {if there is such a word}, the girl threatens to get a Black {or "Colored"} boy to "beat his {the White boy's} behind".

I have also found or received an example of this rhyme in which a {presumably} Black girl tells another girl "Step back white girl you don't shine/I'll get a black girl to beat your behind". However, I have never found or received any version of this rhyme in which a White girl or White boy initiate this confrontational encounter.

I should also note that I found some versions of these rhymes where the girl says that she likes a "pretty" boy or some other non-racial adjective is used. However, these appear to be folk etymology changes to what has {had} become a racial referent.

Given the overwhelming majority of the examples that I have found or received, it seems likely to me that these Down Down Baby confrontational rhymes came from Black people.

I admit that in starting this thread, I'm interested in collecting more examples of these rhymes or other rhymes that mention race and/or are confrontational in nature. But I'm much more interested in exploring the reasons why these rhymes changed to include racially confrontational text.

In addition, I'm interested in sharing my opinions and receiving feedback about my opinions about the implications of these rhymes.
I'm also very interested in 'hearing' the opinions of others on the psycho-social implications-if any-of aggression & confrontation in children's rhymes, particularly aggression and confrontation between children of different races/ethnicities.

I'll start the 'ball rolling' by sharing several examples of these rhymes.

I hope that you will join me in exploring the possible implications of these rhymes.

Thanks in advance,

Azizi

Title edited per request by Azizi on help forum -Title Faery


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Subject: RE: Down Down Baby-Race in Kid's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 10 Apr 07 - 12:58 PM

I'd like to first post an additional non-confrontational, non-racial examples of this rhyme.

To help distinguish one example from another, I'm going to continue with the designation started in my first post. Therefore the next Down Down Baby rhyme example that I post will be Version #3, and the next Version #4 and so forth.

DOWN DOWN BABY {Version #3}
Down, down baby
Down by the roller coaster
Sweet, sweet baby
I'll never let you go.
Shimmy shimmy coco pa
Shimmy shimmy pow!
Shimmy shimmy coco pa
Shimmy shimmy pow!
Grandma, Grandma sick in bed.
Called the doctor and the doctor said,
Let's get the rhythm of the head.
Ding dong.
Let's get the rhythm of the hands
Clap, clap.
Let's get the rhythm of the feet
Stomp, stomp.
Let'ss get the rhythm of the
Hot dog.
Put it all together and what do you get?
Ding-dong, clap, clap. Stomp, stomp. Hot dog.
Say it all backwards and what do you get?
Hot dog. Stomp, stomp. Clap, clap. Ding dong!
-multiple printed source; including thread.cfm?threadid=81350#1487690
I'm Rubber . You're Glue: Children's Rhymes

-snip-

DOWN DOWN BABY {Version #4}
I remember
Down Down Baby Down Down the rollercoaster
Sweet Sweet Baby I'll never let you go
Shimmy shimmy cocoa puff shimmy shimmy I
Shimmy shimmy cocoa puff shimmy shimmy I
I like coffee I like tea
I like a colored boy and he likes me
so step back white boy
you don't cause a cool colored boy gonna bet your behind
He'll beat it once he'll beat it twice
He'll beat it beat it beat it
So let's get the rhythm of the head
Ding dong
Sho' got the rhythm of the head head
Ding dong
Let's get the rhythm of the hands
(Clap,Clap)
Sho' got the rhythm of the hands
(Clap,Clap)
Let's get the rhythm of the feet
(Stomp, Stomp)
Sho' got the rhythm of the feet
(Stomp, Stomp)
Let's get the rhythm of the Hot Dog (While doing the snake)
Sho' got the rhythm of the Hot Dog
Ding dong, clap,clap,stomp,stomp,Hot Dog
-GUEST,Pazzion; 26 May 05; I'm Rubber . You're Glue: Children's Rhymes


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Subject: RE: Down Down Baby-Race in Kid's Rhymes
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 10 Apr 07 - 01:05 PM

Here's a pretty innocuous version. Clapping rhyme, Atlantic City NJ, late 70's:

Down Down Baby, down by the roller coaster
Sweet Sweet Baby, my heart's in love
Ooh, che-chihuahua
Biscuit
I solemnly love her
Biscuit
She is so sweet
Biscuit
Like a cherry treat
Biscuit
Touche Turtle, pull down your girdle
Biscuit


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Subject: RE: Down Down Baby-Race in Kid's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 10 Apr 07 - 01:07 PM

DOWN DOWN BABY {Version #5}
Down, down baby
Down, down the roller coaster
Sweet, sweet baby
I'll never let you go
Chimey chimey cocoa pop
Chimey, chimey pow
Chimey, chimey cocoa pop
Chimey, chimey pop
I like coffee, I like tea
I like a colored boy and he likes me
So lets here the rhythm of the hands, (clap, clap) 2x
Let hear the rhythm of the feet (stomp, stomp) 2x
Let's hear the rhythm of the head (ding dong) 2x
Let's hear the rhythm of the hot dog
Let's hear the rhythm of the hot dog
Put em all together and what do you get
(Clap clap, stomp stomp), ding dong, hot Dog!
-Yasmin Hernadez; 2004; memories of New York City {Latino/ African American neighborhood in the 1980s; www.cocojams.com

-snip-

DOWN DOWN BABY {Version #6}
down down baby down by the roller coaster sweet sweet baby mama never let you go if you wanna kiss me just say you love me shimmy shummy coa coa puff shimmy shimmy rah, shimmy shimmy coa coa puff shimmy shimmy rah. I like coffee I like tea. I like a black boy and he likes me so step back black boy you ain't shy I bet you 5 dollars I could beat your behind. Last night and the night before I met my boyfriend at the candy store. He bought me ice cream he bought me cake. He brought me home with a belly ache. I said momma momma I'm so sick. Call the doctor quick quick quick I said doctor doctor shall I die. He said close your eyes and count to 5 I said a12345 I'm alive on a channel 5 I said a678910 I'm dead on a channel 10 with a scooby dooby doo on channel 2. Frankenstein on channel 9. .....

that's how me and my friends do it. I'm 14 so...I guess it's sort of there...
-By Alana on Saturday, July 3, 2004 http://www.streetplay.com/discus/cgi-discus/show.cgi?75/77.html


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Subject: RE: Down Down Baby-Race in Kid's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 10 Apr 07 - 01:16 PM

Thanks for sharing that version, Ruth.

I'm also from Atlantic City, New Jersey! Aint the Internet great!!

For some reason, I don't have any childhood memories of doing handclaps or jumping rope to the Down Down Baby/I Love Coffee I Love Tea/or Shimmy Shimmy Co Co Puff rhymes.

**

Here's two more confrontational examples of this rhyme that mention race:

-snip-

DOWN DOWN BABY {Version #7}
Down down baby
down down the roller coaster
sweet sweet baby
sweet sweet i love you so
Jimmy Jimmy coco puffs
Jimmy Jimmy pow
Jimmy Jimmy coco puffs
Jimmy Jimmy pow
take a peach
take a plum
take a stick of bubblegum
no peach
no plum
just a stick of bubblegum
I like coffee and i like tea
I like a colored boy and he likes me
So step back whiteboy you don't shine
I'll get my colored boy to beat ya behind
He beat ya high
he beat ya low
he beat you all the way to Mexico
-Aiakya at April 4, 2006; http://blog.oftheoctopuses.com/000518.php

-snip-

DOWN DOWN BABY {Version #7}
Does anyone remeber the one that has I like coffee i like tea i like a black boy and he likes me so stand back white boys i know your shy I'll get a black boy to beat your behind he'll beat it rough he'll be it tough he'll beat it till you almost had enough.
do you remeber what was first i remember it had have a peach have a plum have a stick of bubble gum bot peach no plum no stick of bubble gum. But something comes before that
-GUEST,kerry ;thread.cfm?threadid=4300 "Children's Street Songs", 26 Aug 05


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Subject: RE: Down Down Baby-Race in Kid's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 10 Apr 07 - 01:55 PM

Opps, that last rhyme should be labeled Version #8

**

As to my opinions about these rhymes, it seems to me that with regards to childrens rhymes, children are much more interested in the rhythm of the words than the meaning of the words themselves. It certainly appears as though children care whether 'the right words' are recited-"right" here meaning the words to that particular rhyme that they learned and which are recited in their neighborhood. If a child recites the rhyme a different way, others will say that she or he "messed" up. So it certainly appears as though children are conscious of the words they are are reciting.

However, I don't think this means that children are concerned about what the words 'mean'. I don't think children think about rhymes as a story with characters and plots and actions.

The rhyme's story is actually quite common-a boy approaches a girl and asks her for a date. The boy is rebuffed by the girl who says she already has a boyfriend. The story could have ended there. But this rhyme adds the element of the boy being identified as White, and there is [at least in my mind] the assumption that the girl is Black {or non-White]. Furthermore, the girl takes exception to the boy asking her for a date. She tells him that she already has a boyfriend who {it can be assumed} is of the same race as the girl. Furthermore, the girl threatens to get her boyfriend {and/or other boys of her race} to beat up the White boy.

How much of this do children 'get' by osmosis, or by repetition, or otherwise? Are we not seeing a rise in interracial schooling in the United States? Isn't interracial dating and interracial marriage on the increase in the USA? These rhymes are certainly anti-interracial dating. Also, these rhymes appear to give a stamp of approval to fighting.

Perhaps the changes in these rhymes came about when schools were just being integrated. As such, the aggression and reference to race in these rhymes reflect the difficulties associated with those particular times. Perhaps times have changed and the interracial relations between students of different races have improved. Maybe the words to these rhymes have become so familiar and so ingrained that no changes have been made, or any changes that were suggested did not 'stick'.

Still, I'm very concerned about the normalization of in-group/out group perceptions and interactions where the only acceptable interaction between people of other races is fighting.

If our cultures do not address these perceptions among children of race=different=unacceptable, how will we ever have a world where differences don't make any difference, a race or ethnicity is a descriptor that has no positive or negative valuation?


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Subject: RE: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 10 Apr 07 - 04:20 PM

I'd like to expand the scope of this thread to include other children's rhymes that mention or allude to race.

As I mentioned earlier, very few of the children's rhymes that I have collected since 1997 mention race. Here's one that does:

I AM A LITTLE SECOND GRADE

Zing Zing Zing
at the bottom of the sea.
I am a little __ second grade *
as pretty as can __ be be. {"___" indicates one beat before recitation begins again}.
And all the boys around my house
go crazy over __ me me.

My boyfriend's name is __ Yellow.
He comes from Ala__bama
with 25 toes
and a pickle on his nose
and this is how the story goes.
One day I was ah __ walkin
I saw my boyfriend __ talking
to a very pretty girl
with cherry pie curls **
And this is what she said
"I L-O-V-E __ love you."
"I K-I-S-S __ kiss you."
"I A-D-O-R-E __ adore you"
So S-T-O-P. STOP!
1-2-3-4 ***
Get your black hands off of me!
- Diarra, K'azsa, and Michelle, Fort Pitt Elementary School, Pittsburgh, Pa, 2004; collected by Azizi Powell, 2004

-snip-

I collected this handclap rhyme from girls in the second grade at the beginning of the school year 2004. This rhyme was performed as a three person handclap. I have also seen it performed [without the last line] as a two partner handclap and as a group {more than 4 person hand clap].

The performance directions for these rhymes may vary much more than the words. When I collected the 2004 example, the three girls stood in a triangle-like formation and took turns clapping each other's hands and their own hands. When they chanted this last line, the girls did a chest high, flicking motion with their right hand as if to say "get out of here".

* In this particular occassion {at an after-school session within the school}, the girls began to sing "first grade", but changed it to "second grade". After they had finished, I asked them which grade they usually use and was told that grade mentioned depending on the grade of the girls reciting this song.

** At this same school, I have also heard this line given as "strawberry curls". However, because almost 100% of the students in the school are Black, and-to my knowledge-no White teacher in that school has red hair, the students may not have known that strawberry curls means "red hair". Perhaps, the phrase "cherry pie curls" was almost as meaningless, but at least these children had probably heard of-even if they may not have tasted-cherry pies.

***This couplet may have originally been "1-2-3" since "three" rhymes with "me".

The "Get your black hands off of me!" line suggests that "black" skin color may still be viewed as a negative.

As an anecdotal aside that supports this disturbing theory, my daughter who teaches 2nd grade at that school {a school that is 99.9% African American} shared with me that another teacher told her that a new student from Africa is being teased by the other students because her skin is very dark.


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Subject: RE: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 10 Apr 07 - 06:31 PM

I just looked through my files and found an example of the "I Am A ___/My Boyfriend's Name is___" rhyme that I collected from that same school and that includes the "strawberry curls" phrase. So much for my theory about that...

Although that rhyme doesn't mention race, it might be useful to post it here as contrast to the example that does mention race.

WOOBLE WOOBLE WOOBLE
Wooble Wooble Wooble
And ah 1, 2, 3
I am a lit tle first grader
s pretty as can be be.
nd all the boys around my house
go crazy over me me.

My boyfriend's name is Yel low.
He comes from Ala ba ma
with 25 toes
and a pickle on his nose
and this is how the story goes

One day I was ah walk ing
I saw my boyfriend talk ing
to a very pretty girl
with strawberry curls.
And this is what she said

"I l. o. ve love you."
"I k. i. ss kiss you."
"I a d.ore adore you"
So s .t .o .p. STOP!
-female first grade students Tarea, Kayla, Kaylin (African American), and Ha and Hung (Vietnamese, ages 5-7 years old); Fort Pitt Elementary School {Pittsburgh Pa, 2000}; collected by Azizi Powell, 2000


"Wooble Wooble Wooble" was performed as a competitive handclap game. The group formed a circle and each person held the "pinky" (small finger) of the person standing next two them on each side. In unison, the group recited the introductory line "Wooble Wooble Wooble and the deep blue sea" while swinging their arms back and forth in rhythm with each word. The words "Deep blue sea is chanted faster than "Wooble Wooble Wooble." The group then let go of their little fingers and in unison, begans chanting the rhyme. At an acknowledged starting point in the circle, one person lightly slapped the hand of the person to her right as she and the group chanted one word of the song. With each word or syllable {such as "lit tle"}, the next person lightly slapped the person to her   right. With no change in the tempo of the recitation, the person whose hand had been slapped then slaps the hand of the person on her right. The action continues around the circle. The person whose hand is slapped at the last word "Stop" is out. When the number of players was down to two people, these two stood facing each other and took turns slapping each other's hand with each word. At some point in the recititation, one of the 'competitors' moved her hand away to soon, or otherwise missed her slap, and therefore was out. The object of the game is to be the last person in the game.

In my experience, elementary school age boys often don't mind joining in {but not initiating} these competitive group handclap games. However, after about the 2nd or 3rd grade {about age 8 or 9 years}, I've found that boys usually don't want to do the partner handclap routines. In contrast, I've found that girls continued playing these partner {and 3 and 4 person} games as well as the group games up to age 12 or 13 years.

These verses have been included, with slight differences, in a number of collections of American children's rhymes {such as Knapp (1976)http://www.mudcat.org/jumprope/jumprope_display.cfm?rhyme_number=179 }

"Wooble Wooble Wooble" probably did not originate among African Americans. However, I believe that the beginning introductory phrase "Wooble Wooble Wooble and ah 1, 2, 3", is an African American element. I have not found this and other introductory phrases such as "Zing Zing ZIng and ah 1, 2, 3" in previously published examples of this rhyme.

The double words such as those found in the first verse of this rhyme ("as pretty as can be be"; "go crazy over me me") is also an element that I have not found in previously published versions of this rhyme. Such repletion enhances the syncopation of the rhyme and may also be considered a characteristic of African American children's rhymes.


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Subject: RE: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 05 Mar 09 - 05:33 AM

I'm taking the liberty to repost this example from another Mudcat thread. I'm also reposting my comment in response to it in the next post.

Subject: RE: Not Last Night But The Night Before-rhyme
From: GUEST,Gibb - PM
Date: 05 Mar 09 - 12:21 AM

Stumbled on this because I was remembering the "I like coffee, I like tea" clapping rhyme, and wondering what the ol' Mudcat had to say.

I went to elementary school starting in 1980, in Bloomfield, Connecticut (adjacent to Hartford). The girls (including my sister) did clapping games on the bus everyday it seemed, and when they hung out in the street, etc. Demographic note: my family is White; Blacks (including many Jamaicans) are a majority in the town, and were most of our playmates.

The version to this one went:
"I like coffee, I like tea
I like a Black/White boy an' he likes me
So step back White/Black boy, you don't shine
I'll get a Black/White boy to beat your behind."

The girls would switch the race of the boy, depending on who was singing. Sometimes there'd be confusion if a White and a Black girl were playing together, and they'd sort of get jumbled up on that word and try to push their version. Sometimes they would agree on a skin tone based on a previous conversion about who the girl whose "turn" it was actually "likes." The reason why I remember distinctly that they did it both ways was that as a little kid I tried to imagine what "you don't shine" meant. I'd try to reason what skin tone "shined" more! Needless to say, I never figured it out!

thread.cfm?threadid=115045&messages=66


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Subject: RE: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 05 Mar 09 - 05:36 AM

Subject: RE: Not Last Night But The Night Before-rhyme
From: Azizi - PM
Date: 05 Mar 09 - 05:05 AM

Hello, Gibb.

Thanks for sharing your remembrances of girls chanting this handclap rhyme, including adding demographical information. This example is the first one that I have found that mentions the problems that can occur when this rhyme is clapped by two or more girls of different races. And in a lot of ways, I think that dilemma is progress toward lessening the confrontation between races that is reflected in this rhyme.

Here's my take on that "you don't shine" phrase:

In this context, "shine" means to be as radiant as the sun or stars. Saying "you don't shine" to a boy means that you don't think that he is anything special (in looks, and/or in actions, or in his very being) as he or she thinks he is. Perhaps that use of "shine" comes from the outer (or inner glow) that people are said to have because of their auras or their spirit. Theorectically , the aura* of a good or great person shines brighter than that of a person who is evil or ordinary. And a charismatic person would be described as shining brightly.

A somewhat related use of "shine" is when a person says "I took a "shine" to him (meaning "I liked him").

*auras are usually unseen colored lights that surround a person's body; the different colors are said to reflect the person's thoughts and feelings.

thread.cfm?threadid=115045&messages=66


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Subject: RE: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 05 Mar 09 - 07:07 AM

Btw, the word "shine" in "Down Down Baby" children's rhymes doesn't have the same meaning as the word "Shine" that is used as a nickname in the African American adult toasts.

In those African American urban narratives or "raps", "Shine" was presumably given his nickname because his skin shined because his complexion was so black (like black polish shines shoes, and like what used to be called "boot black" shines boots.

**

See these Mudcat threads:

Who is this "Shine" Guy?

and

Shine toast- "Songs about being invincible or mighty" thread:

Here's some information about the African American toast tradition:

"Toast are performed narratives of often urban but always heroic events. For many Blacks, both performers and audience, hearing about or performing the winning ways of the central character becomes as creative a release as Black music. Toasting is today's continuance of an oral tradition, but many contemporary toasters read their complicated and elaborate versions from a text. As with any oral tradition, many versions of the same toast exist. The toast is a dynamic performance within the Black community of recognizable and popular central characters. They are performed in bars, libraries, community centers, and even college campuses. However, less explicit toasts are performed by anyone at any time for entertainment"...

http://www.louisianafolklife.org/LT/Articles_Essays/creole_art_toast_tradition.html

The African American Toast Tradition
by Mona Lisa Saloy


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Subject: RE: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST,meessha
Date: 29 Aug 09 - 09:36 AM

down down baby down down the river side
pop pop
sweet sweet baby cherry on
top top
turn around touch the grond
pop pop hop hop x2


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Subject: RE: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes
From: Azizi
Date: 29 Aug 09 - 09:55 AM

Thanks meessha for sharing your version of this rhyme.

Best wishes,

Ms. Azizi


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Subject: RE: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST,Mani
Date: 12 May 10 - 01:45 PM

I like coffee
I like tea
i like the colored boy and he likes me
so stand back white boy you dont shine
I'll get the colored boy to beat your behind


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Subject: RE: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes
From: mg
Date: 12 May 10 - 09:48 PM

We sang in Washington USA

I am a pretty little Dutch girl as pretty as pretty can be
ANd all the boys around my house are crazy over me..

My boyfriend's name is Patty
He comes from Cincinnati mg


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Subject: RE: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST,abi
Date: 13 Jul 10 - 12:30 PM

down down baby
down by the rollorcoaster
sweet sweet baby i'll never let ya go
scooby doo scooby doo
scoobydoo WAH!!
scooby doo scooby doo
scooby doo WAH!!!

Thank for looking bye!!


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Subject: RE: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 13 Jul 10 - 01:14 PM

Well, I should have put in all the words I remember.

I am a pretty little Dutch girl
As pretty as pretty can be
And all the boys around my house are crazy over me me me

My boyfriend's name is Patty
He comes from Cincinatti
With 48?/ toes and a pickle on his nose
And that's the way my story goes

First he gave me peaches
and then he gave me pears
And then he gave me 50 cents
and kissed me on the stairs

My sister she was jealous
My mother? she was too
my sister? was so jealous that she didn't know what to do


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Subject: RE: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST,guest..jenna
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 04:12 PM

down down baby down by the rollercoaster
sweet sweet baby, I'll never let you go
shimmy shimmy coco pop, shimmy shimmy rah!
shimmy shimmy coco pop, shimmy shimmy rah!
I like candy, I like tea, I like a little boy
and he likes me.
so step off jack, your hands are black
your looking like a monkey on a rail road track
To the front to the back to the side by side
To the front to the back to the side by side,
Ladies and gentlemen children too
this old lady's gonna boogie for you
she's gonna turn around
touch the ground
boogie boogie boogie till her pants fall down!!!


this version i remember from when i was little..i loved it!!


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Subject: RE: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Oct 10 - 10:56 PM

Thank you so much for posting this!!! I went to an all black elementary school in Norfolk, VA in the early to mid 70's and we used the variation you described (shown below).

"The confrontational action in these verses follows a consistent pattern. First, these rhymes are almost always given from a female perspective {which makes sense since the person or persons reciting these rhymes are usually girls}. Secondly, in the rhyme, a Black {or "Colored"} girl rejects the advances of a White boy. Thirdly, the girl tells the White boy that she "likes a Black boy and he likes me". And fourthly {if there is such a word}, the girl threatens to get a Black {or "Colored"} boy to "beat his {the White boy's} behind".

"I have also found or received an example of this rhyme in which a {presumably} Black girl tells another girl "Step back white girl you don't shine/I'll get a black girl to beat your behind". However, I have never found or received any version of this rhyme in which a White girl or White boy initiate this confrontational encounter."


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Subject: RE: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST,MW
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 10:25 PM

Here's a version I used in a preschool in the 1990's. It is another non-confrontational, non-racial example of this rhyme. I used this "singing game" because the preschool was predominately black and I identified this as a culturally relevant game.

Down Down Baby

Down down baby, down by the roller coaster (shimmy shoulders and arms)
Sweet sweet baby, I'll never let you go. (hug yourself)

Shimmy shimmy co-coa pop, (hands on hips and shimmy hips)
Shimmy shimmy bop! (hands on hips and shimmy hips)
Shimmy shimmy co-coa pop, (hands on hips and shimmy hips)
Shimmy shimmy bop! (hands on hips and shimmy hips)

Grandma, Grandma-ma, sick in bed, (spread hands)
Called the doctor and the doctor said: (while mimicing a phone call)

Let's get the rhythm of the head--ding dong,
(rock the head to each side like a bell clapper in time with "ding-dong" with hands on hips)
Let's get the rhythm of the head--ding dong,
(rock the head to each side like a bell clapper in time with "ding-dong" with hands on hips)
Let's get the rhythm of the hands--clap, clap, (followed by two hand claps)
Let's get the rhythm of the hands--clap, clap, (followed by two hand claps)
Let's get the rhythm of the feet--stomp, stomp, (stomp feet; first right foot, then left)
Let's get the rhythm of the feet--stomp, stomp. (stomp feet; first right foot, then left)

Put it all together and what do you get?

Ding dong! (rock head)
Clap clap! (two hand claps)
Stomp stomp! (stomp feet)

Say it all backward and what do you get?

Stomp stomp! (stomp feet)
Clap clap! (two hand claps)
Ding dong!(rock head)


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Subject: RE: Down Down Baby
From: GUEST,Patty
Date: 26 Nov 10 - 01:46 PM

Hi,

I came across your page because I was looking for the lyrics of this song. Our three year old son (who attends pre-k) was singing "Brown Brown Baby" and trying to do the hand-clapping with it.

My husband and I both looked at each other like, "Brown brown baby?", but it had the same melody as "down down baby". So we asked him is it, "Down Down" and he said no it's "Brown Brown". It most likely is a 3 and 4 year old's mis hearing this - but I teach in this district and I almost feel like I have heard it this way too. I have no idea what comes after the first line, and neither did my son - he's not great with song lyrics.

Anyway - thought you might find this interesting. My son by the way is white, the rest of his class, minus two other kids are black.

If I do get the rest of this version of the song - I will be sure to pass it along to you.


NJ


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 03:54 PM

I always heard it as...

Down, down baby down down the rollercoaster
Sweet sweet baby, mama never let you go,
shimmy shimmy cocoa puff
shimmy shimmy pow
shimmy shimmy cocoa puff
shimmy shimmy wow
i like coffee, i like tea,
i like a white boy and he likes me
so stand back black boy you don't shine,
i got a white boy to kick your behind,
kick it rough, kick it tough, kick it till you get enough

I am VERY saddened that we said this in elementary school.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST,Azizi
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 07:23 AM

Greetings, Guest Patty & Guest guest Date: 12 Dec 10.

I have just read your posts to this thread & want to thank you for your comments & examples.

Patty, it is indeed possible that your son may be mis-remembering the words "down down" as "brown brown". But it's also possible that other children-besides he-have accidently (or on purpose) substituted those words in this rhyme. If this substitution is accidental, then that would be a form of folk etymology. Those reciting this rhyme or hearing it recited that way could certainly have thought that "brown brown baby" makes more sense than "down down baby" (although "brown by the rollercoaster doesn't make as much sense as "down by the roller coaster"). What makes this possible folk etymology even more interesting to me (and perhaps to others) is that (as I conclude from your comments) a good portion of the children who may be reciting "brown brown baby" are Black (African American). There are number of sociological implications to African American children-and non African American children- chanting "brown brown baby" instead of "down down baby" in a neutral or at least non-negative way, regardless of whether this substitution is accidental or purposely done. Again thank you for sharing your son's recitation (and possibly other experiences) with that substitution on this forum.

Guest, guest, with regard to your ending comment, I believe that children's playground rhymes often reflect the mores of the society in which children live, move, and have their being. Therefore, girls who recite rhymes with racial content are probably just echoing what they have absorbed from society in myriad (often unconscious) ways.

Unfortunately, it was (and to a large extent still is) the norm for children to believe that race/ethnicity (and gender) limits who they will be involved with romantically. And unfortunately, confrontational attitudes toward other races/ethnicities are all too frequently still the norm in the USA and elsewhere. In my opinion, the fact that you, and I (and I'm certain others) recognize this, regret it, and challenge this as a norm, is a hopeful sign.

**

For various reasons, with two exceptions, I haven't posted on Mudcat for almost a year. I don't intend to post on this forum again.

As per my agreement with Max, the founder of Mudcat, I have reposted guest guest's example (along with the comment I've written above) on the handclap rhymes page of my Cocojams website. And throughout this year, I've periodically reposted other rhyme examples from guests on that page or on other children's rhymes pages of my Cocojams website. I intend to continue to do so periodically. Along with those examples I post hyperlinks to the specific Mudcat thread from which these examples come.

I continue to consider Mudcat an excellent source for multiple examples of and for information about specific children's rhymes and certain other songs from folk traditions. For that reason, I continue to provide links to Mudcat and encourage Cocojams readers (and readers of my other website Jambalayah) to visit Mudcat.

My heartfelt thanks to those members & guests who have posted to or will post to this thread and/or to other children's rhymes threads that I have started on Mudcat. Best wishes,

Ms. Azizi Powell, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST,Alexis
Date: 22 Dec 10 - 06:36 PM

I used to do a chant/clap game similar to that with my friends in elementary school when I lived in Indiana, it went something like this:

Down, down baby, down by the rollercoaster
Sweet, sweet baby, too sweet, I'll let you go
Shimmy Shimmy coco pop
Shimmy shimmy down
Shimmy Shimmy coco pop
Break down, break down
Two Chinese, sitting on a bench,
Tryin' to make a dollar outta 15 cents
You miss, you miss, you miss like this
This is how me and my boy friend kiss
Like this

Looking back on it now, years later, it seems racist, but I didn't really think about it when I lived in an area that was virtually just Caucasian, even though I, myself, am hispanic.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST,UK
Date: 01 Apr 12 - 04:02 PM

we did a song at school and I was trying to find out what it meant,But this is the only page that had a similar rhyme

Down,Down Baby Down By The River
Sweet,Sweet Honey No Place To Go
Caught You With Your Boyfriend Naughty,Naughty
Wouldn't Do The Dishes Lazy,Lazy
Jumped Out The Window Flipping,Crazy


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST,80s Baby, Sweetie
Date: 24 Jun 12 - 12:15 PM

Zing zing zing
Like a washin machine
All the little birdies on jaybird street
Love to hear the robin sing
Tweet tweet tweet
Rockin robin

We gonna rock to the treetop
All night long
Hustlin and bustlin
And singing that song
Mama in the kitchen stirring that rice
Daddy on the corner shooting them dice
Brother in jail ringing that bell
Sister on the corner selling fruit cocktail
All the little birdies on jaybird street
Love to hear the robin sing
Tweet tweet tweet
Rockin robin
Tweet tweet twee
Rockin robin

Wow looking back there were some questionable lyrics lol
But every girl I ever met during my entire childhood knew this and other rhymes and were an excellent way to break the ice and make friends or chase away boredom. :-) memories


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes
From: Joe_F
Date: 24 Jun 12 - 08:50 PM

James Agee, in _A Death in the Family_, records the following from Knoxville, Tennessee, ca. 1915:

Nigger, nigger, black as tar,
Tried to ride a lectric car,
Car broke down an broke his back
Poor nigger wanted his nickel back.

It was shouted at Agee, tho he was white, because he had a "nigger name", Rufus.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST,mandy
Date: 14 Feb 13 - 01:15 AM

Down down baby
Down by the roller coaster
Sweet sweet baby
Ill never let you go
Shimmy shimmy cocoa puff
Shimmy shimmy shine
shimmy shimmy cocoa puff
Sock it to me one more time.
Two chinese
Sitting on a bench
trying to make a dollar out of. 75 cents
she miss she miss she miss like this


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Oct 13 - 05:22 PM

Down down baby
Down by the rollorcoaster
Sweet sweet baby
Mama never lets you go
Shimmy shimmy cocoa puffs
Shimmy shimmy wow
Shimmy shimmy cocoa puffs
Shimmy shimmy break it down
I have a boyfriend
A biscuit
He is as sweet as
a biscuit
Down down baby
Down by the rollorcoaster
Sweet sweet baby
Mama never lets you go


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST,Meme
Date: 03 Jul 14 - 07:03 PM

Down down baby down by the roller coaster
sweet sweet baby mama never let you go
if you wanna kiss me just say you love me

Shimmy shimmy coco pop shimmy shimmy pow
shimmy shimmy coco pop shimmy shimmy pow

I like a black boy and he likes me
so step back white boy I ain't shy
I bet you 5 dollars i'll beat yo behind

Last night and the night before
I met my boyfriend at the candy store
he brought me ice cream he brought me cake
he brought me home with a belly ache

I said momma momma i'm so sick
call the doctor quick quick quick!
I said doctor doctor shall i die
he said close your eyes and count to 5

I said ah 1 ah 2 ah 3 ah 4 ah 5...
i'm alive on channel 5
scooby dooby doo on channel 2
big fat lady on channel 80
and all the rest on channel 8


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST,mindy
Date: 28 Feb 15 - 06:10 PM

Went to a pretty racially mixed elementary school in Georgia in the early 90's. We white girls *definitely* knew Down Down Baby as a story of white aggression:

"I like ice cream
I like tea
I like a white boy and he likes me
So stand back, black boy
You don't shine
I got a white boy to beat ya behind!"

I don't remember ever seeing black girls doing that rhyme, so I don't know if they did it differently. But as a child it made sense to me that the rhyme would assert white dominance. It was just another example of the casual racism we were immersed in in rural Georgia. Even at that age my white friends and I understood that a white boy beating up a black boy for flirting with his girl was the expected norm, not the other way around.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Mar 16 - 06:13 PM

I like Ice cream I like tea I like a colored boy he likes me hey white boy white boy you don't shine if you call me a nigger than I beat your behind you got bumps on your booty like Frankenstein

Cant believe we was clapping to this.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST,Jj Peterson
Date: 26 Mar 16 - 04:45 PM

Lol. I'm a guy and I remember Black girls saying this in the 70s in Tx. They said "Step back Jack, your hands too black. Looking like a monkey on a railroad track"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Sep 17 - 12:28 AM

Get back Jack, your hands too black, you been digging in your booty for a midnight snack


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