1. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    When I lived out west, we had (usually) sixteen kids in our class in elementary school. The individuals moved in and out (government town), but the usual mix was half anglo, four Hispanic kids, and four Native kids (from three different nations). I remember in (I think) third grade, we self-divided into small groups and went to the library where we were to find a book that we could present theatrically. The Native kids (at the time, on Havasu, one Hopi and two Navajo) picked a book called Ten Little Indians. They began reading it, chanting it, with each of them falling down at the appropriate time. When all four were down, they stopped the performance and asked our teacher, “Why is this book in the library?” It didn’t stay in the library. The book wasn’t disposed of, but instead joined a box of racist books that could be used by older students for papers but were not in general circulation.

    Some of these I knew. Others? Not so much.

  2. says

    When I was a kid I learned to read French on Asterix and Tintin comics. Imagine my horror when I went back, older, and looked at Tintin. Especially “Tintin in the Congo.” This crap gets embedded so deep, and passed on: like nationalism or religion.

  3. says

    Marcus, yeah, I have one of those, The Rainforest by Armstrong Sperry. I *loved* that book as a sprog, it was my intro to rainforests and ornithology. Some years back, I tracked a first edition down, and bought it. I couldn’t even make it ten pages in, the racism and colonialism was so profound.

  4. says

    Not being American I do not know most of these, de facto all but one.

    I love the tune of camptown races. I was deeply saddened to learn about its history and the whole “minstrel” idiocy that was popular in the US in 19 century.

  5. cubist says

    Charly, have a new set of lyrics for Stephen Foster’s song, courtesy of a gent named Jordan Kare:

    X-ray lasers sing this song
    Doo-dah, doo-dah
    Blasting borehole five miles long
    Oh, doo-dah day
    Going to blast all night
    Gonna re-align all day
    You’re standing right in the beamline now
    Better get out of the way

    The scansion is a bit iffy in places, yes…

  6. DonDueed says

    Somewhat along those lines, quite a few classic Looney Tunes / Merrie Melodies cartoons were shockingly racist (caricaturing African Americans, Indians, or Asians). Those are usually omitted from DVD collections, though they can still be found.

    Among those nursery rhymes, the only surprises to me were ones I’d simply never heard before. Others came as revelations some time ago (like the Aussie one, which seemed like a silly folk song when I was a kid). And “Camptown Races” was well and truly skewered in Blazing Saddles.

  7. says


    And “Camptown Races” was well and truly skewered in Blazing Saddles.

    Oh, yes. That is one of the finest moments on film. Like you find, some of old Looney Tunes are shockingly racist, so blatant, and it’s bad to think of how many of those I saw when I was a sprog. I can still vividly picture some of the characters.

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