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Song Phrases/Titles Used In Politics

Azizi 09 Jul 09 - 10:46 AM
Azizi 09 Jul 09 - 11:04 AM
Mr Happy 09 Jul 09 - 11:17 AM
meself 09 Jul 09 - 11:23 AM
Phil Edwards 09 Jul 09 - 11:40 AM
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Subject: Song Phrases/Titles Used In Politics
From: Azizi
Date: 09 Jul 09 - 10:46 AM

Enrique Ortez Colindres, "foreign minister" for the de facto regime in Honduras (as a result of the June 28, 2009 military coup) was forced to resign today as a result of a number of racist comments that he made about United States President Barack Obama. Here is one of those comments which he made yesterday during a Honduran television interview:

"He negociado con maricones, prostitutas, con ñángaras (izquierdistas), negros, blancos. Ese es mi trabajo, yo estudié eso. No tengo prejuicios raciales, me gusta el negrito del batey que está presidiendo los Estados Unidos."

English translation: "I have negotiated with queers, prostitutes, leftists, blacks, whites. This is my job, I studied for it. I am not racially prejudiced. I like the little black sugar plantation worker who is president of the United States."


This diary provides some background about that phrase:
Honduras: "El negrito del batey"
by cadejo4
Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 10:35:49 AM PDT

Here's an excerpt from that diary:

"In his apology, Ortez said the comments were made before he had been officialy sworn in by the leader of the de facto regime, Roberto Micheletti. His comments were made Monday last week, the same day he was sworn in. Ortez said, "In the expression that's been mentioned, I did not intend to be offensive in any way."

While ignored in the U.S. press, his comments caused a firestorm throughout Latin America, where they seemed to confirm a prevailing impression of Honduras as a backwards country ruled by an overbearing elite business class and a corrupt military. The country's president, Manuel Zelaya, was ousted in a military coup after he angered the powerful Honduran business association COHEP by raising the minimum wage and thumbed his nose at the church by vetoing legislation to ban the morning after pill.

The term negrito del batey refers to immigrant, Haitian sugar plantation workers in the Dominican Republic. Batey is a local word for worker barracks and housing.

The term was popularized in Latin America thanks to a song, "El Negrito del Batey," written for Dominican merengue artist Joseito Mateo in 1942:

[This YouTube video was embedded in the diary]


[The "batey" link is to a Wikipedia article about that word]

Although I don't have a full translation of the Spanish song, it appears to me that the particular song in question could easily support the meme of lazy Black men who would rather dance all day than to work (Well, most people would rather dance than work. But given the racist memes throughout the Western hemisphere about Black people, this phrase can easily have a much less benign interpretation.)


Here's another diary about the resignation of;-racist-FM-removed

US aid to Honduras cut; racist FM removed
by litho
Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 05:06:45 AM PDT


I'm interested in your take on this song and its use by that "politician".

But also, it occurs to me that the 'el negrito de batey" phrase is one example of phrases from songs that are later picked up for colloquially use. I'm sure that there are many more song phrases that have been used politically, but off the top of my head I can't think of any.

Which song phrases or song titles can you share that were used by or about politicians-either positively or negatively?

Thanks in advance for your participation in this discussion.

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Subject: RE: Song Phrases/Titles Used In Politics
From: Azizi
Date: 09 Jul 09 - 11:04 AM

I meant to post these song lyrics and translation from that diary:

"["El Negrito del Batey"] is about a sugar plantation worker who would rather go out dancing than work:

A mí me llaman el negrito del batey
Porque el trabajo para mí es un enemigo
El trabajar yo se lo dejo todo al buey
Porque el trabajo lo hizo Dios como castigo.

They call me the black boy from the batey
Because working is my enemy
I leave all working to the ox,
Because God made work as a punishment."

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Subject: RE: Song Phrases/Titles Used In Politics
From: Mr Happy
Date: 09 Jul 09 - 11:17 AM

But didn't Italy's prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, recently refer to Mr Obama as 'having a nice tan'?

He's not been called on to resign

I can't see any difference - can you?

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Subject: RE: Song Phrases/Titles Used In Politics
From: meself
Date: 09 Jul 09 - 11:23 AM

I would recommend you have your vision tested.

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Subject: RE: Song Phrases/Titles Used In Politics
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 09 Jul 09 - 11:40 AM

Calling Berlusconi an offensive racist clod would be like saying that Roy 'Chubby' Brown is a bit rude - it wouldn't be news to anyone and it wouldn't bother his fans. Having said that, calling Obama a "negrito de batey" is in a different league - and I strongly suspect that "little black [man]" is a charitable translation of "negrito".

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