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darkeys - offensive term, or not?

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GUEST,Banjo Johnny 28 Jul 00 - 12:04 AM
Liz the Squeak 28 Jul 00 - 12:09 AM
katlaughing 28 Jul 00 - 12:17 AM
Sorcha 28 Jul 00 - 12:55 AM
Escamillo 28 Jul 00 - 01:13 AM
Sorcha 28 Jul 00 - 01:23 AM
Escamillo 28 Jul 00 - 02:57 AM
Kim C 28 Jul 00 - 09:46 AM
GUEST,Amos 28 Jul 00 - 11:23 AM
Fiddlin' Big Al 28 Jul 00 - 11:34 AM
Liz the Squeak 28 Jul 00 - 12:22 PM
JedMarum 28 Jul 00 - 12:50 PM
JedMarum 28 Jul 00 - 01:02 PM
Whistle Stop 28 Jul 00 - 01:24 PM
SINSULL 28 Jul 00 - 01:34 PM
JedMarum 28 Jul 00 - 01:38 PM
Irish sergeant 28 Jul 00 - 02:00 PM
Mrrzy 28 Jul 00 - 02:49 PM
Downeast Bob 28 Jul 00 - 03:05 PM
Paul S 28 Jul 00 - 03:18 PM
Les B 28 Jul 00 - 03:39 PM
Lonesome EJ 28 Jul 00 - 05:38 PM
Irish sergeant 28 Jul 00 - 05:59 PM
dick greenhaus 28 Jul 00 - 07:24 PM
Bill D 28 Jul 00 - 07:52 PM
Margaret V 28 Jul 00 - 08:38 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Jul 00 - 09:09 PM
Terry Allan Hall 29 Jul 00 - 10:23 AM
GUEST,dick greenhaus 29 Jul 00 - 03:47 PM
catspaw49 29 Jul 00 - 04:13 PM
Biskit 29 Jul 00 - 07:52 PM
Margaret V 29 Jul 00 - 08:06 PM
GUEST 29 Jul 00 - 09:57 PM
GUEST,Banjer 29 Jul 00 - 09:58 PM
Banjer 29 Jul 00 - 10:01 PM
GUEST,Banjo Johnny 30 Jul 00 - 02:28 PM
paddymac 30 Jul 00 - 05:19 PM
Irish sergeant 31 Jul 00 - 11:30 AM
Jon W. 31 Jul 00 - 02:33 PM
Grab 31 Jul 00 - 02:58 PM
GUEST,Usually Quiet 31 Jul 00 - 03:19 PM
Kim C 31 Jul 00 - 03:39 PM
Biskit 31 Jul 00 - 05:29 PM
Tiger 31 Jul 00 - 05:49 PM
Banjer 31 Jul 00 - 07:00 PM
Irish sergeant 01 Aug 00 - 03:24 PM
Jim Krause 01 Aug 00 - 03:25 PM
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Banjer 01 Aug 00 - 07:27 PM
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Subject: darkeys
From: GUEST,Banjo Johnny
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 12:04 AM

I know a lot of songs that use the word "darkey", most of them by Stephen Foster. As far as I have been able to find out, this was a polite term. Foster himself was sympathetic to the negroes, and an abolitionist. So I continue to sing "darkey" where the original song says darkey. I hate the idea of changing the words of a perfectly good song. So far, I haven't had any complaints, in fact, I can see the audience' attention peak at that moment. They know they are getting an authentic rendition. What say others? == Johnny


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 12:09 AM

You better gauge your audience pretty well then. In my experience it is WASP people who get most upset about this, my black friends only get ratty when it is used in a derogatory fashion.

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: katlaughing
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 12:17 AM

You'll find some really good postings about this in this thread, too.

I wish there had been a different title used for this thread and the one I've linked, but I do recognise that it is a good topic and one we all need to discuss. I just try to remember there are Mudcatters of mixed race, too.

Thanks,

kat


--- Link fixed ---
-- PA --


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Sorcha
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 12:55 AM

Whoops there, kat. You forgot to close. I have NO problem using the word in context in a song. Especially when I do period re-enactments. What else could you say for "darkies are gay"? Double slam there. Is anybody going to try for
The Americans of African descent are happy? The Blacks in the United States are not homosexual, but they sing and dance anyway? Doesn't quite fit, does it?

As I think I have said before, political correctness is fine in its' place, but sometimes it's OK to sing the correct lyrics.

Sorry if I have offended, but that is how I feel.


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Escamillo
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 01:13 AM

I´ve heard Paul Robeson (my idol) who was really black, using the word "darkeys" without hesitation. I'd never suspected that the word could be offending to anybody. As a white who loves gospel and negro spirituals, singing for a white audience who loves them too, I'm discovering my ignorance on some subtleties. Please advise on what could be troublesome.
Un abrazo - Andrés (the audience is white not by election, but because in Argentina the black population is practically non-existant)


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Sorcha
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 01:23 AM

Escamillo--do you understand WASP? If not, it is White Anglo-Saxon Protestant(s). And, like Liz the Squeak said, black people can use terms like "darky(darkie)", "nigger", "bro (brother)" amongst themselves but heaven help the not-black (ethnic whatever) person who says the wrong words.

I am a big Lenny Bruce fan, and trash comes in every shade,regardless of whatever politically correct term is in vogue. If you have never heard of Lenny Bruce, do some looking. I think most of the MudCat will appreciate what he had to say.


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Escamillo
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 02:57 AM

oh.. I see. Will investigate something on Bruce, meanwhile I would agree with B.Johnny regarding this particular word "darky/ies", it sounds to me rather affectionate, and never "nigger" which I know is derogatory. Thanks!
Un abrazo - Andrés


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Kim C
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 09:46 AM

This is something Mister and I come up against since we are Civil War reenactor musicians. Never knowing who our public audience is going to be, lots of times we will just do instrumentals of songs like Kingdom Coming or Old Kentucky Home. If it's just our pards around the fire, well, anything goes.

One of my favorite historical musicians substitutes "black folks" for "darkies." Still got two syllables and sounds ole-timey enough that it works. So that may be an option if 1)you feel uncomfortable with "darkies," or 2) your audience may be put off by it. Personally, I don't like to make substitutes, but I don't care for lawsuits either.


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: GUEST,Amos
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 11:23 AM

Oh the sun shines bright
On my old Kentucky home,
'Tis summer, the Afro-Americans are exercising alternative lifestyle choices.

Gee, it doesn't scan. And who's that spinning in the graveyard? Was it something I said?


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Fiddlin' Big Al
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 11:34 AM

Jimmie Rodgers "Peach Pickin' Time in Georgia" contains the line "When the pickaninnies pick the cotton, I'll pick a wedding ring" I have usually substituted "cottonpickers" but once I slipped and performed the original in front of one of my darker friends - he only burst out laughing and took it as a reflection of the depth of our freindship that I felt comfortable enough to forget my usual edit. Intent and context are everything. Not what you say but how you say it. On the other hand some people I jammed with around Chicago would bring out a bluegrass tune called "Run, Nigger, Run" and sing it with gusto and bad intent.


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 12:22 PM

'The Sun has got his hat on' doesn't fare too well either...

He's been tanning African Americans out in (whatever the name for Timbuctu is now).....

Does it? Better to just omit the verse or write a whole new one!

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: JedMarum
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 12:50 PM

I sing a an old folk-style blues called "Mornin' Blues" I forget who the original author was, but some of the original verses contain some pretty colorful language that may have been OK for a black man to sing, back in 1920, but would not be seen in that light today if I were sing them - they not only use the N word liberally but common stereotypical imagry is used referencing sexual behaviors, fried chicken, poor work habits, etc. The original song might well have been a bit tongue in cheek.

At any rate, when I spent weeks trying to find the original, and couldn't - I wound up piecing together the bits I could remember with new verses ... then some time after I had been singing this new version I came across the old lyrics. I didn't rewrite it to eliminate the racey language - but it had that effect.


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: JedMarum
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 01:02 PM

One more thought, I agree with BJ, that the original words, when they were not intended to insult are usually appropriate - and if they were intended to insult, I doubt I'd have any interest in singing the song anyway.

I sing a song about the heroics of a confederate regiment (the 6th Louisiana, primarily an Irish Regiment) ... and never considered the song offensive in any way, but have seen some negative response to the song (very little - most crowds love it). Some people think it is never correct to think there is anything heroic about the confederate cause, and therefore nothing could be heroic about the confederate soldier. I am sorry that a few find this offensive, and sing it anyway.


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 01:24 PM

You don't have a problem singing it, and most of us on the Mudcat don't have a problem with you singing it. The only thing left to consider is your audience -- will they have a problem with it? My guess is that some won't, others will. Is it worth it to you to make part of your audience angry for the sake of authenticity? That's up to you.


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: SINSULL
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 01:34 PM

In the original version of Showboat, the show opens with "Niggers all work on the Mississippi..." According to a biography I have, Paul Robeson and the rest of the black members of the cast filming Showboat voted to change it to "Darkies..." That was in the late 30s. I suspect both terms are equally offensive today.
In terms of songs from the era - the lyrics represent the times. I recently purchased the sheet music to "Mammy's Little Coal Black Rose". I have loved it since childhood. "Pickaninny" is not a regular part of my vocabulary but it fits here.


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: JedMarum
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 01:38 PM

Agreed, Whistle Stop. I do actually consider the audience before I sing it. The song works better in the south then it does the north. That surprises me a little. The song is about the epic effort of the war, and not the war itself. When I sing a similar song fron the Union perspective, I have never seen the same response.

But, again, I must emphasis - the negative reaction is quiet, and rare.


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 02:00 PM

I do perform at Civil War reenactments and when i am in first person a fair portion of the time I do use terms such as Darkie or "Contraband" (Meaning a slave who has been liberated by the Union Army). If I am performing I do explain that I strive for historical accuracy and the Racist implication doesn't come into my personal views. I've yet to have a problem. I have run into people however who veiw the Confederate cause as both repugnant and politically incorrect. I don't hold with political correctness. It is unnecessary. We should all be polite enough not to have to use silly catch phrases. It is also very vague. Ugly is still ugly even if you all it "aesthetically challenged" and it goes clear to the bone. History cannot and should not be shaped to fit today's societal conventions1 Was the Confederate cause wrong? In my opinnion, yes. That in no way can take away the heroism of the men who fought and died for it! Like it or not, those men were American heroes. I can and do respect their courage and heroism without glorifying their cause. So, I will use the term if historical accuracy demands and will explain why to the audience. Have a great day all, Kindest reguards, Neil


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Mrrzy
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 02:49 PM

Timbuktoo is still Timbuktoo, and it's still in Mali. No name change there yet.

When in Hong Kong I got several tubes of Darkie Toothpaste, which had a grinning black man on the tube with his oh-so-white teeth. I think the idea was brush with this and your teeth will look as white as this guy's do. This was in the '80's, and I'm sure that the Chinese intentions werer extremely derogatory. But I grew up in Africa, and have always thought of Africans as just regular people, who happen to have the advantage of not needing sunscreen at the beach. But where I grew up, those of mixed race (les métissés) were not considered black. I have (sometimes unfortunately) brought that attitude with me here to the US, and have gotten into trouble for it... no disrespect intended to anyone, but unless you are an African who's come to the States, I have a hard time thinking of you as African-American. I consider myself to be African-American, but that's because of my cultural heritage, which has nothing to do with my ancestry. Which is more mongrel than anything else...


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Downeast Bob
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 03:05 PM

Back in the 1940s, I lived in Norfolk, VA. I knew lots of white people whose customary noun meaning a person of color was "nigger." My grandmother, who was brought up not to use vulgar language, used "darkey" instead. But her choice of terms wasn't just to avoid coarse language. She did not want to inflict hurt. I know because she used to recite to me a poem by the black poet, Countee Cullen, who was a contemporary of my gramma.

Once riding in old Baltimore,
Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
I saw a Baltimorean
Keep looking straight at me.

Now I was eight and very small,
And he was no whit bigger,
And so I smiled, but he poked out
His tongue, and called me, "Nigger."

I saw the whole of Baltimore
From May until December:
Of all the things that happened there
That's all that I remember.

Obviously, it made quite an impression on me because I can still quote it, almost 60 years later.

I don't use the D word because to me it sounds condescending. People like Foster and my grandmother tried to be kind to black people, but it was a condescending kindness that was practically unavoidable among "proper" southerners.


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Paul S
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 03:18 PM

I would have to agree that it all comes down to intent. About ten years ago, I saw Jerry Jerry and the Sons of Rhythm Orchestra (a cow-punk band from western Canada) play at a club in Toronto. One of their songs, No Ass-Tatoos in Heaven went something like this

well he loaded up his pistol
and he loaded it some more
he loaded up on attitude
and barrelled out the door
three days without sleep
and then he hadn't ate in five
he was mean and he was rotten
he drank to stay alive

kindness was a word he'd say
just before he'd spit
happiness was just for people
who were full of shit
he was feeling mighty mighty
in his ugly ugly head
he got halfway down the driveway
'fore the police shot him dead

in the office of the coroner
they stripped his body nude
though he was still long on ugly
he was short on attitude
he had a lot of tattoos
that were covered up in blood
one said "make it whiskey"
one said "elmer fudd"

one said "you've got that
commie nigger china jewboy smell"
one picture had a caption saying
"I'll see you in hell"
one was a sketch of elvis
urinating on a queer
the tattoo on his ass
was far too gross to mention here

well you can cry and beg forgiveness
try to lead a pious life
you can promise to be courteous
and faithful to your wife
swear you'll not repeat your sins
renounce your evil past
but you can't get into heaven
with a tattoo on your ass

you cannot bring in records
you can't sneak in a friend
pop and dope and cigarettes
all that comes to an end
you cannot bring in liquor
or a chicken or a drum
and you can't get into heaven
with a tattoo on your bum

bum de bum de bum bum

Now this club had an extremely mixed crowd (Jerry Jerry was actually the opening act for Bootsauce; I was there for Jerry Jerry, my roommate was there for Bootsauce). But when Jerry hooted out the most potentially offensive line, the cheer of joy from the entire crowd was almost deafening. This was an example of a good use of the N-word. It was being used to degrade an ignorant whitie.

However, despite that realization, and my love for that song (a wonderfully infectious tune), I've never had the balls to perform it in front of anybody.

Paul.


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Les B
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 03:39 PM

This thread is giving me lots of cause for thought (one a day, whether I need it or not !)

I really like Henry Clay Work's Civil War song "Kingdom Coming: Year of Jubilo" - but dislike the line "Darkies have you seen the master..." I've heard it changed to "workers..." but still find that unsatisfactory. "Contraband," in the same song, is less of a problem. For some reason the line that really appeals to me and makes me feel the emotion & history of the era is "...he saw the smoke way up the river where the Lincoln gunboats lay..."

In analyzing the problem, I realize I liked this piece mostly for its jaunty tune and have about decided to just play it as an instrumental as part of a medly of other Civil War tunes that are problematic.


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 05:38 PM

Unless used in a re-enactment atmosphere, I find the term "darkie" as derogatory as "nigger", but with a slight difference- "nigger" is snide and hate-filled, "darkie" is smug and condescending. I would have a hard time singing either word, and I'm sure any black person who heard either term would find them objectionable.


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 05:59 PM

Lonesome EJ: Allow me to clarify my position just so there is no confusion. I use the term in reenactments and only there. I find both terms objectionable myself and generally substitute contraband when I can do so. I was asked once to respond to a question by a reporter and told them when asked what I was fighting for "I'm not fighting for the slave one way or another. I'm for restoring the Union. If that means freeing and arming the contrabands, so be it." Outside, when I'm in my 21st century life. I strictly avoid such language. Hopefully this states my position adequately. Like Les B. I too like "Kingdom Coming" I do it as an instrumental. I always wondered if the people at Warner Brother knew the words to the song when they had Foghorn Leghorn constantly humming it through those cartoons. kindest reguards, Neil


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 07:24 PM

(sigh) I'm old enough to remember when referring to anyone of African descent as a "black" was a strict no=no; "darkies" or "colored people" or (in my circles) "schwartzers" were the euphemisms (think about the NAACP).
Styles and political correctness are ephemeral--"African-American", aside from being awkward is flat-out incorrect for most folks who haven't been south of Philadelphia for generations.

The problem isn't with the words; it's with the mindset that requires making a distinction based on pigmentation. I suspect that if one is feeling touchy, a reference to slavery is insulting regardless of the words used. And if you want to sing songs from the mid-1800s, it's very hard to ignore slavery, whether the song is pro- or anti-.


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Bill D
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 07:52 PM

...*sigh*..and I still remember in '65 being at a NAACP meeting on campus during an aruguem.. discussion about replacing 'Negro' with 'Black'...a militant group of black students was FOR it..and I was thinking in my mind.."you are no more black than I am white"..but I kept my mouth shut and tried to adapt...and then they changed the rules again...you cannot win, you can only make your disclaimers prominent...

"This word reflects historical accuracy only..."


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Margaret V
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 08:38 PM

Dick, I don't catch your drift re: the term African-American. Could you elaborate? Thanks, Margaret


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 09:09 PM

Liz, whatever the people in Timbuctoo may be, they are definitely not African-Americans.

(Well, I suppose there may be a few tourists and diplomats and suchlike.)


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Terry Allan Hall
Date: 29 Jul 00 - 10:23 AM

Out of respect for my audiences, I simply side-step this issue...a black/colored/African-American buddy, who is sitting a few feet away even as we speak, assures me that you can never go wrong by caling someone by his/her given name...


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: GUEST,dick greenhaus
Date: 29 Jul 00 - 03:47 PM

Margaret V-

Which part of my dislike of the term African-American do you question? Awkwardness, I admit, is in the ear of the behearer, but I find any 7-syllable euphemism to be ungainly.
As far as inaccurate, I think that's fairly obvious, too. My grandfather was Russian-American, but I'm just American.


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: catspaw49
Date: 29 Jul 00 - 04:13 PM

Terry, that's true to say the least. But since I tend to see the humorous side in everything, can imagine singing someone's name in the song? Especially if its one of the ones that has been legally changed to a name chosen which the bearer feels better reflects their heritage.......

"Can't you hear Charles 37X Kenyatta singing
Old, black, Joe."

Real name BTW.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Biskit
Date: 29 Jul 00 - 07:52 PM

I always thought that was Camptown Races that FogHorn was hummin'/singin',doo dah,doo dah -Biskit-


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Margaret V
Date: 29 Jul 00 - 08:06 PM

Dick, I was confused by the Philadelphia bit. Thanks for the clarification of your view. Margaret


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jul 00 - 09:57 PM

History is history..Nothing we can do or say will ever change what has happened in the past. Why can't we all accept that and move on? Here in my part of the world there is for the large part a mutual respect of each other regardless of race or creed.
When we do our Civil War impressions,(we do both Union and Confederate)we sing our songs as they were written. I think it disrespectful to change the words the writer used. We have had blacks come and ask us to play certain of Foster's creations.
Many of my better customers at work are black and they have no problem with my wearing a Confederate Flag hat pin. I have been asked why I wear it, and my stock answer is that it represents my heritage, of which I am proud. It's up to those of us that realize what heritage means to educate others. Recently I was going in to a grocery store. On the sidewalk out front there was a black lady taking donations for a summer program for kids at a local black church. As I walked by I saw her eyes lock on my cap and its insignia. I could see the look in her eyes, thinking to herself 'Ain't no use asking him for anything'. When I came back out I had a couple of dollars I had received in change. I walked up to her and dropped the change into her jar. I wish all could have seen the look of surprise on her face! I then told her that I had heard of their work with youngsters and thought they were doing a fine job. I know she learned that not all people who display that flag are mean! I try to convey that message whenever I get a chance, doing my little part to try to unite all! If we all could just accept each other as people and not political statements, life would be so much simpler, wouldn't it?


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: GUEST,Banjer
Date: 29 Jul 00 - 09:58 PM

What happened to my name? That above rambling is mine, Banjer


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Banjer
Date: 29 Jul 00 - 10:01 PM

Evidently my cookie crumbled. I think all is better now. I baked me a new one!


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: GUEST,Banjo Johnny
Date: 30 Jul 00 - 02:28 PM

One trouble with the term "African American" is that it is too wide. How about an Egyptian or Algerian Arab who comes to live in the U.S.A.? ... African-American? What about a South African (Afrikaner)?

As for slavery, it is the disgrace of the white people, not of the black. And only a portion of the whites, at that.

The term negro remains in the name of the United Negro College Fund, as the term colored still appears in the name of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People -- both highly esteemed organizations. Therefore these words should still be acceptable in print and in song.

There will always be people who are searching for any occasion to be "offended", as a way of drawing attention to themselves or to their opinions. However meritorious their position may be, the very negativity of this attitude weakens their case. It is all too easy to ignore a whiner.

A very small minority of Jews have adopted this approach, reacting violently to any perceived anti-Semitism. The Jewish people are now comfortably established in American society, where their culture and religion are welcome, and they really have little reason to complain.

A case might be made on historical grounds against the term Indian, as used in North America. The origin of these people is not established but one thing is certain: they are definitely not from India! However they face five hundred years of literature refering to them as Indians, and it may take 500 years to change to Native American.

I think Jed Marum, the Civil War re-enactor who has some experience in this, commented on the importance of context. If a song is hateful, it shouldn't be sung at all, and if it is friendly, it can be sung with its original text. And I would add, with a smile!

Thanks to everyone for their input. == Johnny


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: paddymac
Date: 30 Jul 00 - 05:19 PM

Un abrazo - Andrés (the audience is white not by election, but because in Argentina the black population is practically non-existant)

Andres has hit the proverbial nail squarely on the head with the phrase "not by election". In terms of heredity, none of us are "by [our own] election", and therefore no one should be "blamed" in any sense for a thing they had no voice in. However, when we do or become things by choice, the rules of accountability change.


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 11:30 AM

Greetings all: Just checking the thread out again t see what every one is saying. I agree African-American is A) too vague, B) totally inaccurate unless the person it is applied to just got naturalized from Nigeria (Or any other country on the African continent) C) another one of those awkward PC terms. I just refer to the black people as black. If anyone out there who is black would like to comment on what the Blacks in this or any other country wish to be called I'd be very interested in knowing. I wouldn't want to make a faux pas. I've found most of my Black aquaintences appreciate me using their name. If they are strangers, I have found that using Sir or Ma'm works quite well (WIth everybody else too). Jed, Banjer, Lonesome EJ and Kim C, what unit do you people portray? I'm with the 12th US Co.A (With the USV). Actually Foghorn leghorn did both and I think they started using "Camptown Races" because someone at Warner Brothers may well have remembered the lyrics to "Kingdom Coming" Reguards, Neil


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Jon W.
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 02:33 PM

How in the world any decendants of the slaves could be offended by "Kingdom Coming" in particular is beyond me. The song does a wonderful job of expressing jubilation at the freeing of the slaves - jubilation that was felt, I assume, as much by the former slaves as by the abolitionists. Does anyone know what term the slaves used to refer to each other in general? Does it happen to have two syllables? I would gladly substitute a less offensive but more authentic word if there is one.

The only people that ought to be offended by "Kingdom Coming" are those who desire that slavery never ended in the USA. And it's okay to offend them because they are not a politically protected class (he said with a hint of irony in his voice).


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Grab
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 02:58 PM

The trouble is, us white folk try _too_ hard to be PC. My wife had a lecture where the lecturer said he had a bad memory for faces, so he wanted to write down how folks dressed/looked/hairstyles etc, so he could get to learn their names quicker. Anyway, he went round the room, and he got to the only black man (out of 2 men in the group) and asked him "Do you always wear that baseball cap?" Argh!

I'd seriously appreciate feedback from Mrzzy and others on this, but at what point did the terms Negro, coloured and black become terms of abuse? All were used as polite terms for black folks, so what's the problem now?

I'm not sure about "Afro-American". I mean, I'm part-Scottish, but I've spent my whole life in England so I'd regard myself as English, and most blacks I've met at uni regard themselves as English (apart from my neighbour in halls and my lab-partner, who were Ugandan and Kenyan and so were exceptions! ;-) The few Caribbean blacks I've met say they're Jamaican, or whatever, so why do American blacks insist they're Africans? I mean, cultural heritage is a great thing, but everyone's got one.

Grab.


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: GUEST,Usually Quiet
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 03:19 PM

This issue isn't really one of words, it is about racism, and the way that language is used to enforce it. "Guest" with the Confederate Hat pin, God help you if you really believe that your hatpin doesn't convey a negative message to blacks--This is a country where there are still race crimes committed, and, at least in some corners, there are people who don't mind doing whatever has to be done to keep people in their place., and most of the time, it isn't wise to say what you really think or feel.

When you are driving down a back road at night, and a pick-up truck with a Stars and Bars license plate starts to tailgate you, you don't have to think very hard to figure out what is about to be reinacted--


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Kim C
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 03:39 PM

Well, I reckon I'm going to hell because I've got a tattoo on what could be considered my bum. Shoot.

(THREAD CREEP ALERT) Neil, to answer your question, I am with the Ladies Soldiers Friend Society and Mister is with the First TN, Co. A, Rock City Guards, out of Nashville. We are also members of the 35th TN out of Georgia, although we don't get to participate with them much. (AS YOU WERE, FRIENDS.)

My last roommate before I was married was black. I asked her about the "African-American" thing, and she said, "I'm black. African-American's too damn long." :)


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Biskit
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 05:29 PM

This is getting good!!-Biskit-


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Tiger
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 05:49 PM

The one who writes the LAST post to this thread will be a truly remarkable person. He/she will be enshrined, glorified, inspected, detected (and all them wonderful things), right beside the over/under toilet paper problem-solver.


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Banjer
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 07:00 PM

I do hope Guest, Usually Quiet is not refering to the Confederate battle flag based on the Cross of St Andrews as the Stars and Bars! The Stars and Bars was the first National flag of the Confederacy, abandoned because on the field it looked too much like the Union banner, Old Glory. The Stars and Bars were replaced with a solid white flag with the confederate flag in the upper left corner. This was too often taken as a surrender flag so a solid vertical red bar was added to the outer end of the flag. This is known as the third National, although the war was over before the Confederate Congress could officially accept it. If you want to put down my heritage, at least be well informed!!


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 01 Aug 00 - 03:24 PM

No desire to be inspected and detected etc (with apologies to Arlo Guthrie)I think we would all do well to remember (Here on the Western side of the Atlantic South of the St Lawrence River anyway) that good people can disagree. I see no problem with displaying the confederate flag in any form if you are of that heritage. I don't believe that it should be raised over state buildings but that is my personal view. There are those who do take offense and let's face it while there are those who long to see the South rise again as an independent nation, they are in the minority and they are the ones who also want an end to equality in this country. I accept that the South thought they had legitimate grievences when they went to war and they weren't all about slavery. However, slavery was the match that ignited the Civil War. No war is caused by one side either! Excuse me I'm rambling, As I stated in an earlier reply, if we let Cubans etc display their flag in this country why not let those of Southern birth display the various Confederate flags? It is unfortunate that a flag that so many brave men died for is maligned because there are narrow minded bigots whopm I'm inclined to believe suffer from chronic cranial rectumitis using it for heinous purposes. I may have no sympathy for the Confedrate cause but I do believe, Banjer and other who reenact "CornFed" or are of Southern birth and heritage should be allowed the freedom to display that. I will be the first to stand for that freedom should it be taken away under the guise of being PC or any other such crap. Have I railed enough to be considered a crack pot yet? Kindest reguards, Neil


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Jim Krause
Date: 01 Aug 00 - 03:25 PM

Over the years, I have had occasion to sing several of Henry Work's songs, particularly Kingdom Comeing and Babylon Is Fallen Work, also a fire eating abolitionist was quite comfortable using the word darkey. I gather that given the ascerbic wit of the two above songs, the term certainly was not perjoritive. He saved his greatest wrath and sharpest barbs for the slave owners themselves.

A quick story. Many years ago, a buddy and I were requested to sing at some sort of a gathering that was held in a church basement. The audience was recially mixed. To my utter horror, my buddy announced that we would now perform Kingdom Comeing which begins with these words
Say darkies have you seen the Massa
Wid de mufstash on his face?
Go 'long de road sometime dis mornin'
Like he gwine leab dis place
As I sang the song, I tried to look anywhere but into certain peoples' faces and dark eyes. After the program was over, who should walk up to me and warmly shake my hand but a very nice grandmother, and her granddaughter, telling me how much they appreciated our music. Of course the two women were black.


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 01 Aug 00 - 06:25 PM

Good music is good music. Work iindeed was a staunch abolitionist but what may not have been perjorative in 1860 certainly may be today. I do hope (and believe) all of us at mudcat realize that and sensible caution should be used. Of course some will be offended no matter what we do. Marching through Georgia by George Root, Kemo Kimo and several of Stephen C. Foster's songs use the term darkie. While they all were of the abolitionist bent, the term could still be construed as offensive. Reguards to all, Kim C. Hope to meet you and Mister at an event sometime. Neil


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Subject: RE: BS: darkeys
From: Banjer
Date: 01 Aug 00 - 07:27 PM

Let me be the first Southerner to say that although my politics lie in the South as far as a states' indivual rights go, I am the first to admit that what the Confederate States of America tried to do would NEVER have worked! South Carolina ahd purchased 150 cannon which were placed at the borders for 'the protection of the State of South Carolina' Had these pieces been sent to Gettysburg or other crucial sites the South may have been able to win. Many rebel troops had inadequet uniforms and footwear. The State of Georgia had warehouses full of boots and uniforms but they would not share with any of their neighboring states! Railroad gauges (track widths) differed from state to state. In many cases one had to get off at the border and continue the journey by foot or buggy to get tto the next states train station! Sounds like they took this state's rights thing to the extreme. It would never have worked! BUT....The important thing to remember is that these men and women BELIEVED in what they thought was right, and should be respected for the stand they took!


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