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Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?

DigiTrad:
A HORSE NAMED BILL
DIXIE, THE LAND OF KING COTTON
DIXIE'S LAND


Related threads:
Lyr Add: Horse Named Bill - Know More?? (36)
Lyr Req: meaning of the words in DIXIE (31)
Lyr Req: Sarah the Whale (14)
(origins) Origins: Meaning of lyrics to Dixie Land (15)
(origins) Origins: Dixie (67)
Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg (38)
Folklore: Where is Dixie (57)
Lyr Req: Everybody's Dixie (Albert Pike) (4)
(origins) Origins: Dixie (25)


Håvard 04 Jul 03 - 03:37 AM
John MacKenzie 04 Jul 03 - 03:50 AM
Ebbie 04 Jul 03 - 03:56 AM
Håvard 04 Jul 03 - 05:22 AM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Jul 03 - 05:31 AM
John MacKenzie 04 Jul 03 - 06:41 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 04 Jul 03 - 06:44 AM
wysiwyg 04 Jul 03 - 07:42 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 04 Jul 03 - 07:52 AM
wysiwyg 04 Jul 03 - 08:03 AM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Jul 03 - 08:10 AM
wysiwyg 04 Jul 03 - 08:12 AM
Fortunato 04 Jul 03 - 08:23 AM
GUEST 04 Jul 03 - 08:44 AM
Nathan in Texas 04 Jul 03 - 08:54 AM
Brían 04 Jul 03 - 09:05 AM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Jul 03 - 09:54 AM
Frankham 04 Jul 03 - 10:11 AM
Rapparee 04 Jul 03 - 10:23 AM
John MacKenzie 04 Jul 03 - 10:29 AM
GUEST,At Work But Not Working 04 Jul 03 - 10:33 AM
wysiwyg 04 Jul 03 - 10:47 AM
Irish sergeant 04 Jul 03 - 11:16 AM
NicoleC 04 Jul 03 - 11:29 AM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 04 Jul 03 - 11:52 AM
Rapparee 04 Jul 03 - 12:23 PM
Ebbie 04 Jul 03 - 12:24 PM
Ebbie 04 Jul 03 - 12:32 PM
GUEST,Sagrbrush Sam 04 Jul 03 - 12:55 PM
GUEST,Q 04 Jul 03 - 01:04 PM
Joe Offer 04 Jul 03 - 02:22 PM
wysiwyg 04 Jul 03 - 02:34 PM
Ebbie 04 Jul 03 - 02:44 PM
Blackcatter 04 Jul 03 - 02:49 PM
Candyman(inactive) 04 Jul 03 - 02:59 PM
Blackcatter 04 Jul 03 - 03:08 PM
GUEST,Q 04 Jul 03 - 03:16 PM
Candyman(inactive) 04 Jul 03 - 03:30 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Jul 03 - 03:41 PM
Amos 04 Jul 03 - 03:59 PM
GUEST,Sagebrush Sam 04 Jul 03 - 04:16 PM
toadfrog 04 Jul 03 - 05:55 PM
Rapparee 04 Jul 03 - 06:18 PM
akenaton 04 Jul 03 - 07:54 PM
Frankham 04 Jul 03 - 08:11 PM
GUEST,Sagebrush Sam 04 Jul 03 - 08:16 PM
GUEST,etoile 04 Jul 03 - 09:44 PM
Padre 04 Jul 03 - 09:46 PM
LadyJean 04 Jul 03 - 10:19 PM
GUEST,Sagebrush Sam 04 Jul 03 - 10:44 PM
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Subject: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: Håvard
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 03:37 AM

... by some people? I can't find anything offensive in the lyrics, and from what I hear it was actually written by a Northerner.


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 03:50 AM

Why is The Fields of Athenry racist??

The answer is people who want to be offended, WILL be offended, and there ain't nuthin we can do about it.
Giok


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: Ebbie
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 03:56 AM

Not quite that simple, in my view. If I had spent my life in servitude to people who considered me worth something only when I was strong and in good health and my family's history for three generations was of the same crap I doubt I would feel nostalgic about ol' massa.


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: Håvard
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 05:22 AM

I can appreciate Giok's point - I've been wondering about the secterian connotations to "Fields of Athenry" as well, especially since it is fairly contemparary. As we have numberous Glaswegian sailors visiting here in Bergen, it's frequently requested!

However, I feel that the dislike for "Dixie" sticks somewhat deeper than Celtic football supporters chanting Athenry.


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 05:31 AM

Is there a version of Dixie which contains a reference to "ol' massa"? The one in the DT doesn't.

It's the associations of a song that determine whether it offends or nort, often enough, and any offensiveness about Dixie would arise primarily from that rather than from the song itself. I imagine in America those are rather different associations from the ones it would have in other parts of the world.


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 06:41 AM

The Fields of Athenry, is only one of many history based songs which have sectarian under and overtones. There is Kevin Barry, which I as a Protestant love, but cannot sing it in Protestant company, and will not sing it in Catholic company, as it is taken by them to be sectarian, when it is to me historic. I can't help but admire the small band of Irish patriots who tried against the odds to liberate their country, but cannot understand the people who still continue to re-live history in their everyday life. The English/British suppression of Ireland goes back at least as many years as the generations whose descendants cringe at the sound of Dixie.
We all have to put these hatreds behind us.
Giok


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 06:44 AM

But Athenry racist?


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 07:42 AM

"In Dixie Land I'll take my stand" would be enough to send chills down my spine if I were an African American. "My stand" for or against what, exactly? The right to continue breeding and beating human beings so that they could provide free labor and be bought and sold?

"I wish I was in the land of cotton....." If I were an African American I would not like to see the land of cotton return, for as it was practiced, it was an economy based on limiting my recent ancestors to the role of slave stoop labor.

"Old times there are not forgotten..." Ah yes, the good old days, when black women's pregnancies were for the purpose of increasing saleable slave holdings and/or producing milk for white mothers' slave-owning children. Here's a little slice of how it must have felt to be forced into a position of having to suckle the new generation of the enemy, while your own child lay unfed and untended:

Singing to the white baby:
When you awake you shall have cake
And all the pretty little horses.
Blacks and Bays, Dapples and Grays
Coach, and a six a little horses.

So hushabye, don't you cry, go to sleepy little baby.

While thinking about her own child:
Way down yonda', down in the medder
There's a poor little lambie.
Bees an' flies peck his eyes
Lambie cryin' fo' his mammy.


Or maybe the good old days (the thing to take a stand over) are about the right to lynch innocent people, and rape children and women.

So.... the reaction of African American people to this song is, I think, "Are you CRAZY?????? Don't you know what that's ABOUT???? Or is this what you (white folk) are actually thinking about bringing back???" To them, it's all about death, and, potentially, theirs.

The old slave spirituals had a code language about escape and payback. Well, it's not looked at much, but the white music had its own codes too, and these still run just below the PC surace today.

What's racist about singing Dixie is that singing it or extolling the song seem, to one group of people, to laud a way of death... while, to another group of people, it may mean something else entirely. To one group, it's recent, dangerous, painful history that could come back at any moment. To another, all that is now invisible, and it's a romanticized fantasy with sweet historicity. The one group has more power than the other, which thus cannot prevail in its view, and has to put up with hearing it over and over and over again throughout a lifetime.

The issue typifies a badly stuck spot in US race relations that goes like this:
"Don't sing/say/do that, it offends me."
"I don't mean any offense."
"Still, it offends me, and cut it out."
"Why should I? (You can't make me.)"
"Don't you know what saying/singing/doing that really means? (I know I can't make you, but I'd like to, if I wouldn't get lynched for it.)"
"You can't control what I say/sing/do. I have a right to free speech. (Don't forget who has the power here, and look at all my white pals standing around-- you better not get uppity/violent with me!)"
"Your right to free speech is the kind of thing that has led, in the past, to my people having no rights at all! (I don't want to hurt you, I want you not to hurt ME.)"
"But that's not what I MEANT. (How come I gotta deal with that old biz, I thought we were past this by now.)"
"But that's how it IS. (How come I gotta deal with that old biz, if we're supposed to be past this by now.)"
"?????"
"!!!!!"

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 07:52 AM

Amen, Susan!

I have several black friends who grew up with family members who were still living, who were freed slaves. Not a lot of nostalgia for them, looking back on those good old days that are not forgotten..

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 08:03 AM

... and having one group proclaim that something is "over" enough so that other people "ought" to get over it, is part of the problem. As Giok rightly says, "We all have to put these hatreds behind us." Trouble is, there's so much fear woven into these issues that the hatreds and fears are all balled up together, and most of us, most of the time, have not found a way yet around them except to turn away to go think about it a little more.

There are, however, some good tools one can use.

United to End Racism (UER) is a group of people of all ages and backgrounds, in many different countries, who are dedicated to eliminating racism in the world. Through its work, UER has developed a new and important understanding of racism and the relationships between racism and other oppressions. This understanding includes how racism and other oppressions are inflicted upon people, how they damage people, how this damage is passed from generation to generation, how people can resist such damage, and how people can recover from it. Our understanding is that racism is unintentionally internalized by those who have been targeted, operating within the targeted group to make that group's work to end racism more difficult. UER has also developed an understanding of the effects of racism on members of oppressor groups and how racist attitudes are installed on and persist in them.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 08:10 AM

Sure enough there are the associations which mean the song gets read one way rather than another. But that's not all there is about a song. and it would be perfectly possible to read most of those lines in quite the other way:

"I wish I was in the land of cotton" - that could be any exile wishing that they could go home and live freely. "By the water's of Babylon..."

"In Dixie Land I'll take my stand" could mean "I won't back down and be oppressed"

"Old times they are not forgotten" could mean "I won't forget what has been done to my people"

I'm not saying that's what the song really means, but rather, that's what it can mean. Good songs often don't just have one meaning. Abandoning a song to the enemy is like abandoning an occupied country to the enemy.


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 08:12 AM

Yes.... but don't people prefer to choose for themselves what to use as an anthem for change?

~S~


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: Fortunato
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 08:23 AM

Good morning all. I am sympathetic to those who find the song Dixie symbolic of slavery and oppression and who find it offensive.

I'm concerned this morning, now, that the songs that Susette and I sing, including Are You From Dixie, and Peach Pickin' Time in Georgia, use many of the words mentioned above. For me they are lyrics of songs I love to sing, and symbolize, when I think about it, magnolia blossoms and fried catfish and Spanish Moss. I think of cornbread and black-eyed peas, southern nights and warm hospitality.

I fervently hope that folks who hear our CD and our performances are reminded of these things, or their own warm and pleasant image of the South, and not slavery.

I have no choice but to go on singing the songs of my heritage, but understand me, friends, my heritage does not include oppression and racism.

Chance Shiver


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 08:44 AM

The reason it is so considered is because RACISM is an industry and some people from both races are making mega-millions from it. The northern United States was/IS just as racist but to assauge their hurting conscience they ALWAYS pretend that ill treatment of black people existed only in the southern US. The fact of the matter is that there are as many if not more deeply held racist beliefs and or behaivros in the northern US as in the south. There is ample history of the hatred in the north a century subsequent to the war between the states. That our 'civil war' was painted solely as being about slavery is a blatant untruth and anyone who knows history knows better. The bottom line was money: plain and simple. Interestingly enough, the mass migration of black people is to the south not to the north. In fact the south is over-flowing with folks getting away from Knew Yawk. Oh, yeah, Thomas Jefferson (the esteemed enlightened one of so much sophisticated thought) was a slave owner who NEVER freed his slaves. So much of what goes on today relates to the Civil War - in every aspect of our lives, every day. And it isn't just about slavery. This period of our history is given short or extremely biased treatment in our schools. Only recently have some of the truths been seeping out.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: Nathan in Texas
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 08:54 AM

Singing "Dixie" compares to singing "Home Sweet Home" for those of us living south of the Mason-Dixon line in the U.S.A. It's nostalgia for the place one grew up, nothing more. Somehow that makes me racist?!

If "Dixie" is racist "Oklahoma" is racist because it extols a place to which American Indians were deported after having endured multiple atrocities.


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: Brían
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 09:05 AM

I got this from the liner notes of Far From the Shamrock Shore by Mick Maloney:

"This song was written by Dan Emmet(1815-1904)one of the most famous Irish American performers in minstrelsy. It was written on a rainy day in New York city in 1859, probably adapted from African American antecedents. It was originally designed to be a minstrel walk-around closing the show, but he watched, astonished as it became the anthem of the Confederacy during the Civil War(which is why it inflames the emotions of so many people).

Brían


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 09:54 AM

...but don't people prefer to choose for themselves what to use as an anthem for change?"

True, of course. My point was that Dixie in itself is perfectly suitable to be used in that way. That doesn't mean that people shouldn't be aware of associations with racism that might get in the way of the song in some circumstances. And no doubt these might indeed get in the way of people feeling able to use the song in that way.

As for songs having Irish Nationalist associations, nothing sectarian about that - in principle you can be a Catholic Unionist or a Protestant Nationalist, though in Northern Ireland itself people like that might tend to keep their heads down. "Partisan" is perhaps the word to use in this context rather than "sectarian".


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: Frankham
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 10:11 AM

Dixie's origins are still in question but Daniel Emmett wrote it for a walkaround in New York as stated above. Here's the deal. The Ku Klux Klan appropriated the song after it was stolen by a New Orleans publisher (Schultz, I think). The "old times there" was reinterpreted by racists in the South. The song was originally a nonsense song as many of the early Minstrel Show songs were. The tune is quite good but one must compare this song to the "Wesselhorst" song of the Nazi's. They are both reinterpreted as was "Deutschland Uber Alles".

One of the other things that would be offensive understandably to African-Americans is it's Minstrel Show origins.

But interesting about Dixie is that there were Northern versions against the South as there were Southern versions of "Rally Round the Flag". Maybe the way to bring Dixie to acceptance in the black community would be to do the Northern version of the song written by supporters of the Union troops.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: Rapparee
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 10:23 AM

Abraham Lincoln thought "Dixie" was an excellent song, and Union troops sang it when marching to battle.

I think that we have to seperate "then" and "now." Perhaps raised consciousness have dimmed our perspective, but when you study the lives and thoughts of THEN (e.g., Lincoln's "I will do anything to save the Union, even if it means continuing slavery", RE Lee declining Commander-In-Chief of the Union Army because he would have to war against his home state of Virginia) you see anew the thought processes by which our ancestors lived.

Moreover, PC can get out of hand. For instance, some years ago Colonial Williamsburg, with the enthusiastic support of those who worked there portraying white and black inhabitants, wanted to re-enact a slave auction. The sole purpose was to demonstrate the degradation that slavery brought to the humans involved -- both the buyers and the slaves. It happened, but only over the loud complaints of the Richmond NAACP. Those who were there, both as onlookers and as actors, said later that they never *truly* understood "the peculiar institution" until then.

Another example of out-of-control PC is the ruling by the National Parks Service that battle re-enactments cannot be held at such places as Gettysburg and Yorktown. Why? Because the participants would have weapons, and weapons are forbidden at these places. Yes, you cannot re-enact *battles* on former *battlefields* because you might be carrying the type of weapon the original *battle* was fought with!

There are Southerners who firmly believe that the Civil Was was "a rich man's war and a poor man's fight." (That is something that can be said of most wars....)

I remember going to see my father act in minstrel shows at our local parish school hall. Marc Connelly's "Green Pastures" won the Pulizter Prize for drama.

I wouldn't put on a minstrel show today, even though it's definitely historical. Nor would I stage "Green Pastures," even though it's still an excellent play.

I can't sing "Dixie" but I can sing "Bonny Blue Flag." I can't sing "Dixie" but I can sing "Riding a Raid" or the original of "Maryland, My Maryland."

I don't mean to give offense, and I would rarely do so intentionally, but something seems screwed up here....


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 10:29 AM

Racism is not just black on white or vice versa, think of all those nice[?] polack jokes that used to go around. I agree that Athenry is more sectarian than racist, but it is perceived by many supporters of Glasgow Rangers football team to be an Irish Catholic song, and thus is ipso facto racist. It has been adopted by the supporters of Glagow Celtic and is sung on the terraces at each and every Old Firm match.


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: GUEST,At Work But Not Working
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 10:33 AM

Racism, bigotry, - call it what you like - is in the minds of racists and bigots, not in a piece of music. Unfortunately songs get hi-jacked by certain elements and tagged as being pro-this or anti-that when, often, they were not meant by the composer to be that way, nor are they viewed in that way by the performer. Who knows, maybe the last thought in Dan Emmett's mind when he wrote 'Dixie' was that it would become a battle-cry for one side in the Civil War?

Time changes things - like when I was at school the teacher wrote on a 'Blackboard', but we can't call it that now because it might offend non-white pupils! In the same vein, it was considered polite in 50's Britain to refer to a person of African origin as a 'Negro', but that's now seen as an insult (might well be, I'm not passing a judgment, just an observation).

I'm with Giok and McGrath. What's done is done, can't be undone no matter how much sackcloth and ashes we wear. Surely the important thing is let's make sure it doesn't happen in the future.


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 10:47 AM

Let's also be clear that the original question in this thread was WHY is it considered racist, not SHOULD it be-- shoulds are about control, not about making progress. When Should comes to the table, Might and Could usually vote with their feet (leave).

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 11:16 AM

Valid points all. A bit of backgroiund. After the Confederacy adopted "Dixie's Land" as their unofficial anthem, Daniel Ducator Emmett, being a staunch Unionist came to despise his most famous song nad refused to perform it ever after. And yes Havard, Emmett was from Vermont (New England)
I rarely perform "Dixie's Land" (And yes that is the proper title)nor do I usually perform "Kingdom Coming" the lyrics of which are racists, but I do on occassion at re-enactments. That neither makes me a racist or a bad person. I am portraying a time in history when race was a severe burden to sum based on the narrow minded opinions of others (Even Abe Lincoln thought the freed slaves should be settled in Liberia.) Kindest regards, Neil PS- sing what you want,It'll irritate the government no end!:~)


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: NicoleC
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 11:29 AM

WHY is Dixie considered racist?

Because ANY song, book, poem, statue, plaque, memorial or essay that that predates the Civil War and speaks positively of the south will be labelled racist regardless of content or intent.


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 11:52 AM

Amen to that, Nicole.

A lot of words here just analyzing what is a true American folk song that portrays people's feelings. Right or wrong, I take the song for face value and don't try to put myself in someone else's shoes.


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: Rapparee
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 12:23 PM

I have to say upfront that I despise racism and other isms that divide people. If we need anyone, we need everyone. Besides, if I ever disliked someone because of their race or for any other reason other than that I had gotten to know them well enough to dislike them, my mother'd come out of her grave and slap me silly!

I think that I sometimes offend others simply because I *AM* blind in this area. It exists, I know it exists, but I simply CANNOT get past the idea that people are people, that a Hispanic mother wants the same for her kids as my own mother did, or that some other group isn't pink inside and bleeds red when stuck.

Maybe this is a good day to say that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. And to say also that when any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of people to alter or abolish it and to establish such form of government as they see fit.

The fact that a rich man wrote the above does not make it any the less true.


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: Ebbie
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 12:24 PM

I say, emphatically, that religious suppression anywhere is different from the institution of slavery in America. Slavery has a long history in the world but in the olden days taking slaves was a spoils of war. Slavery in the name of non-worth as a human being and then continuing it for generations only because the master class could get away with it is very different.

Abandoning a song to the enemy is like abandoning an occupied country to the enemy. But, McGrath, it wasn't their song. It was the white man's idea of how they should feel. Incidentally, note that I didn't put 'old massa' in quotes- but ol' massa is definitely present in that song.

I'm concerned this morning, now, that the songs that Susette and I sing, including Are You From Dixie, and Peach Pickin' Time in Georgia, use many of the words mentioned above. For me they are lyrics of songs I love to sing, and symbolize, when I think about it, magnolia blossoms and fried catfish and Spanish Moss. I think of cornbread and black-eyed peas, southern nights and warm hospitality.

Fortunato, the very air in the American south is redolent of those things and not just to the white man. The climate, the unhurried speech, the manners, the standards of what is seemly, affects both races. There is a shared history that transcends. (I lived there before the civil rights movement but even then it appeared that both races judged 'poor white trash' more severely than they did blacks, per se.)

Helen, there is a saying: In the south, they don't care how close the black man is, they just don't want him to get too high. In the north, they don't care how high he gets, they just don't want him too close.

It happened, but only over the loud complaints of the Richmond NAACP. Those who were there, both as onlookers and as actors, said later that they never *truly* understood "the peculiar institution" until then. Rapaire, surely the race of the perpetrator is not the one that gets to say what gets put on? How would you feel? How would I feel? I would feel shamed, insulted, demeaned- I would feel that is my race, my mother, my brother on display, in a period that was accepted and utilized by the white man and that should never have happened. Political correctness has nothing whatever to do with it. We are talking about humans here.

Because ANY song, book, poem, statue, plaque, memorial or essay that that predates the Civil War and speaks positively of the south will be labelled racist regardless of content or intent. Nicole, surely that is too narrow a statement. Many, many things can be said and written about the south, both pre- and post-slavery that resonate within us all. The south is a special place, it has a mystique, a climate, a history, that slows us down, makes us look around and appreciate. A wonderful place to visit...

Incidentally, is it correct that that 'peculiar institution' was begun by merry old England and only perpetuated in America on the basis of economics?


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: Ebbie
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 12:32 PM

Sorry for the length of the previous post; couldn't get myself stopped.

...a good day to say that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Rapaire, thanks for the timeliness of the reminder.

And to say also that when any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of people to alter or abolish it and to establish such form of government as they see fit. Funny how we give such awed lip service to the Constitution but ignore certain parts of it.


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: GUEST,Sagrbrush Sam
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 12:55 PM

This crap is precisely what killed Folk music.


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 01:04 PM

"Dixie" remains important to the descendants of the men and women who fought and died for the Confederacy.
The United Daughters of the Confederacy (many of whom are also Daughters of the American Revolution) and the Children of the Confederacy are two organizations that preserve the memories and the history of the South.
They keep the battle flag on the memorials and gravestones of the Confederate veterans.
Although I am a descendant on both sides of men who fought on the Union side, I respect the people in these organizations who often show more tolerance than many "anti-racists."

The statement of the current President General of the U. D. C.:
U. D. C.


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 02:22 PM

There are good points on all sides of this argument. It's a good song, very enjoyable and easy to sing. I'm sure that most people who sing it, don't sing it with any racist intent. I suppose the same goes for the Confederate battle flag - it's a colorful, attractive symbol that evokes nostalgia and a tie to history.

However, both the song and the flag have been used by racists as rallying points, and that has clouded the meaning of both with overtones that can be extremely offensive.

But back to the other side - I think one of the major faults of our current age is its neo-Victorian attempt to purge language and culture of every word and idea somebody might possible consider offensive. I think we could all stand to loosen up a bit, and not be so damn fussy about what other people say and do.

It seems a shame to dump a good song. Seems to me that it's OK to sing it, but that people should be sensitive to that fact that it can be quite offensive in some situations. As for the Confederate flag, I think it's something that can cause offense most of the time, so it's better not to display it unless it's being displayed as an artifact of a past age.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 02:34 PM

Let's take a breath. Because I suspect that we all long for the same thing-- freedom for all, that harms no one.

Looking back at the posts so far-- no one here has accused anyone of being racist. A question was asked about how people feel, and feedback was offered. IMO, statements about political correctness or killing folk music are not helpful to the issue raised, and illustrate the problem more than the solution.

Could we agree perhaps that it is a loaded issue froma large number of angles, and that it's not likely to be resolved in one Mudcat thread? Could we agree that working toward something positive, instead of agsint something negative, is liekly to have amore positive impact?

Below is one man's experience contemplating "The Beloved Community."

============================================================

excerpted from THE WELL WORN PATH by Richard Flyer

I cannot take the well worn path.

The tried and true.
Take a chance I must.
Let down my artificial barriers and opaque covers.
For I can be as others misperceive me, playing the roles and games, or, I can learn to be myself, a Human Being.

'Tis a fair question, To be or not to be?

I sit here in the cold and feel numb as the wind howls and icicles fly through the air.

How can I Be?
How can I Be?

I want to serve, to share, to give, and to love.

How can I learn to serve groups that would have me sent out with my fellows to slaughter millions or destroy nature?

How can I learn to share myself and play mindless games of compromise, always smoothing over rough edges, never taking a stand as a man?

How can I learn to give to societies' "Big Lie", saying we are all separate, when the lie is magnified by my complicity?

How can I learn to love in a world where human beings are at constant battle with their brothers and sisters?

Such are the dilemmas we face.

Within I must travel, deeper and deeper, to explore how the inside and outside are intimately related and actually one essence.

Take time out to reflect, find solitude, and look upon the natural world.
Then, arise, and touch another as you begin to touch yourself, genuinely, with conviction.

Discover that there is no fear.

Be bold.
Go forward.
Walk into light.
See as you have never seen.
Aspire to heights never experienced, never witnessed.
Don't be satisfied.
Don't be comfortable.

The deeper the search in the mine of truth and love, the richer the discovery of exquisite gems.
We must begin the world anew.

Earth, heaven,and truth are inside and all around us.

Desire to see and feel this all pervasive unity, where everything has relationship to all else.

Begin with a decision.

Act on what you perceive to be true.

Say no to blind obedience, to unquestioning, to cynicism.
Say yes to healing the wounds of separation and division among and within us, to affirming new possibility, to building a world based on compassion and love.
Take the first step on the not so well worn path.

Let it begin with each of us

==========================================================


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: Ebbie
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 02:44 PM

Neat, Wysiwyg. I'm going to look up more of his stuff. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: Blackcatter
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 02:49 PM

This crap is precisely what killed Folk music.

Nice to see that we're all connected on a website dedicated to death . . .

As for the Confederate (battle) Flag (and it's aspects still seen in several Southern state flags) I have said for many years that Black communities should begin flying it from their homes, churches, community buildings, stores, wearing on their persons, etc. First of all, it would rip apart the negative meaning promoted by fascist, racist pigs, and secondly it would render it almost meaningless because of how commonly it would be seen. The American flag, as flown after 9-11, is an example of that - how many of us have seen battered, ripped, faded flags or stickers of flags still displayed on cars, in stores, etc. Nothing says we care so little for our country better that not bothering to replace a worn symbol of it every once in a while. The Confederate Battle Flag would succumb to the same condition if Blacks "co-opted" it.

On another note: I noticed my local Walmart had a collection area for old American flags - nice thing for them to do, I guess, and I asked them what they did with them. They said they give them to the local American Legion post for disposal. Knowing the proper way to dispose of a worn U.S. flag, I asked the lady if she knew how the American Legion disposed of the flags. She did not and it gave me great pleasure to let her know that they burn them. She was shocked and told me that I couldn't be right, so I just told her to ask them next time they came in.

A week later, the flag collection had vanished.


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: Candyman(inactive)
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 02:59 PM

As for the Confederate (battle) Flag (and it's aspects still seen in several Southern state flags) I have said for many years that Black communities should begin flying it from their homes, churches, community buildings, stores, wearing on their persons, etc. First of all, it would rip apart the negative meaning promoted by fascist, racist pigs, and secondly it would render it almost meaningless because of how commonly it would be seen.

Flying the Confederate flag celebrates an era when the Southern states went to war so that their ancestors would remain in slavery. That is not something that any of my African American friends would ever care to celebrate.

If I follow your logic, Jews should adopt the swastika, the symbol of the regime that committed genocide against six million of them.

I don't think so.


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: Blackcatter
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 03:08 PM

I'm saying that symbols only have power when people choses to accept they have power. Having blacks use the flag would take that symbol away from the bigots in the South.

As for the swastika, the use of that is not nearly as common (as far as I've seen), but yes, maybe they should.

I am Pagan, I practice Wicca. I also call myself a Witch. I use that term to purposely change the negative meaning of the word in society.

And then there's the issue of the Star of David, which has become the symbol of the Israeli state, yet was a symbol all Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany as a symbol to separate them from non-Jews. Certainly that symbol has a changed meaning.

The issue of symbols is complicated. What can be a positive symbol for millions can be a hated, negative symbol for others. There are no easy answers.


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 03:16 PM

The Navajos no longer use one of their symbols in public because it resembles the swastika. It used to be common on their weavings and jewelry.


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: Candyman(inactive)
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 03:30 PM

And then there's the issue of the Star of David, which has become the symbol of the Israeli state, yet was a symbol all Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany as a symbol to separate them from non-Jews. ertainly that symbol has a changed meaning.

Comparing the Star of David to the Confederate flag or the swastika is not a vlaid comparison. The Star of David has been used by Jews to symbolize the Jewish people and the Jewish religion for thousands of years. It was a symbol of pride for the Jews long before the Nazis came along. And the Nazis were not the first to force Jews to wear the Star so that they may be identified as Jews, it was a common practice in medieval Europe.


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 03:41 PM

Over here the Confederate Flag generally just implies Country Music, and is probably less likely to be suspected of carrying an in-your-face message than the Stars and Stripes would be.

In fact a Union Jack can at times be more likely to give rise to worries that it might carry a racist message, thanks to the way it sometimes gets used.

Best set of verses for Dixie are surely A Horse Named Bill


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: Amos
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 03:59 PM

I think the whole issue is codwallop, myself. It is a regional paean, a provonical home-song, and it is thought to be racist only by those who cannot control their thoughts enough to distinguish between the region and its bad history. This is like saying that songs extolling the glories of the French countryside are barbarian because Bonaparte once marched there. G'y'amme one large break, folks.

A


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: GUEST,Sagebrush Sam
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 04:16 PM

Well Put! Maybe people can return to music and get their politics out of everyone else's face.


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: toadfrog
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 05:55 PM

I agree with Amos. It isn't a racist song. It is a song that has been enthusiastically endorsed by enough bigots to have taken on bad connotations. Not like the Horst Wessel Lied mentioned above, but like a number of good old German marching songs with perfectly innocent lyrics that I frankly enjoy. On the other hand, I learned better than to sing them around Poles. So the answer is, sing it all you like, but if you are going to sing it in front of Black people, test your ground first, their sensitivities deserve respect. Any white guy that objects is just a nouveau prig and can go get lost.


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: Rapparee
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 06:18 PM

If it would shame you to know that your ancestors suffered terrible wrongs, and yet endured and still fight against those wrongs, then yes, a re-enactment of a slave auction would be offensive.

But if such a thing brought home to people that slavery was not something quaintly mentioned in a history textbook, but a bloody, real, in-your-face, demeaning, ugly institution -- as re-enactment would do -- is that wrong?

To know that slavery once existed in the United States -- AND in Britain and Ireland and continental Europe and Scandinavia and Africa and India and Japan and China and Russia and Mexico and South America -- and to KNOW it, to realize it in your gut and to see how wrong it was and is, are two completely different things.

A re-enactment cannot, by its nature, be completely true to history. The "slaves" cannot be paraded naked, the "slaves" examined as if they were some form of animal -- the audience wouldn't stand for it. But that's how it really was.

Me, my ancestors were no one special, just working stiffs who were probably bound to some lord or other. They were, I'm sure, trampled by passing armies and very possibly taken as spoils of war. They survived. They endured. And I'm proud of that.

If you want to re-enact the selling of slaves in medieval Germany, or the ugliness of Hitler's time, feel free. Use my ancestors if you want to. Just as long as you don't confuse the play with reality, or the puppet with the puppeteer.

History is too alien to most people, a fairy tale into which they read whatever they want. I don't think that I've ever met anyone who admitted that in a "past life" they were born into a peasant family, lived at below starvation-level most of the times, and died at 12 years old by being run down by the passing carriage of a noble; everyone I've met has been of noble or notable birthright, which is odd on the face of it. And yet there have always been more forgotten peasants than remembered nobles.

But the nobles have toppled, and my sort of people still thrive. I'm proud of that.


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: akenaton
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 07:54 PM

As a Scot living in the UK,the British National anthem could be and is considered racist by some UK citizens.Containing as it does the line "Rebellious Scots to crush.God save the Queen.
I think as in Dixie people take what they want from every song and it does not matter one shit in the long scheme of things.Folk music should be about stirring up controversy and emotion Keep singing...


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: Frankham
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 08:11 PM

"I wish I was in the land of cotton"....well I don't. I don't think it was a very good place to be if you were black. Eli Whitney may have prolonged slavery.

"Live and die to take my stand in Dixie". Anyone who says that the American Civil War was fought for other reasons than slavery is not dealing with reality. The idea was this, the Southerners didn't want any Yankee telling them how to run their states. This included slavery and was the main point. The proof of this? Look how long it took the South to integrate.

So why is Dixie considered racist? Because there is a sub-text. The support of slavery in the South.

Actually, the tune is great. It's catchy and bouncy and full of rhythm but I wouldn't sing it just any where because no matter who sings it, it has to be offensive to black people because of it's association. In a context of a program to explain the brutality of the people of the South, then it would make sense to do it.

BTW, black people would also be offended by The Bonny Blue Flag if it were more popular today. "Fighting for our property we gained by honest toil" is ingenuous at the least. Guess what property they were fighting for?

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: GUEST,Sagebrush Sam
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 08:16 PM

This thread was doomed from the start. It reads like an invitation for all Left-wing hate-mongers to come out of their holes and attack their favorite targets: business, White people, Christians    and the United States. The statements from these people show their prejudices and shortcommings. The song is just a song.


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: GUEST,etoile
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 09:44 PM

no song is just a song. that's why any and all of this data base exists. no song, not one, is JUST a song.

to susan, i really enjoyed how you articulated what you had to say. it was informative and well said. thank you!


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: Padre
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 09:46 PM

The "winning" side always gets to decide what is 'wrong' with the symbols of the side which 'lost.'


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: LadyJean
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 10:19 PM

"Dixie" is a minstrel song. Minstrel shows featured caucasians disguised as Africans capering around the stage, singing some of the finest music ever written, with lyrics that, often, demeaned African Americans. Here in Pittsburgh, we have a statue of Stephen Collins Foster standing next to either Old Black Joe, or Old Uncle Ned, depending on who you ask. Either way it isn't the best portayal of African Americans.
Minstrel songs were called "Plantation Melodies". They frequently portrayed slave life as pleasant, and carefree. They used terms like "darkie" and the infamous n-word.
They also had catchy tunes. "Buffalo Gals" was also a minstrel tune, and so was "Bill Bailey", a favorite of mine, because my first boyfriend was named Bill Bailey. (Not William, Bill! I don't know what his parents were thinking.) Having written all this, I will almost certainly spend the next several days humming "Buffalo Gals", or "Rose of Alabama", or Dixie. The tunes are catchy. What can I say.


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Subject: RE: Why is 'Dixie' considered racist?
From: GUEST,Sagebrush Sam
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 10:44 PM

I did not intend to place my statement behind that of Frank Hamilton, a man I much respect. I was composing my piece for a while before submitting it, during which time his statement was posted. Frank is a true Liberal and a gentleman. I even bought his recent CD "Long Lonesome Home". Yes, I'm the one! You can order it from a small place called Indian Trail in Texas. Old Socialists have principles. New Liberals are not worth...


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