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July 22, 2006

Change the rhyme

I am 55 years old and white. As a young child in the ’50s, I recited the “eenie, meenie, minie, moe” rhyme using the N-word, knowing what it meant and not thinking it was offensive.
Over the past 50 years, I have realized how painful bigoted words can be. I use a test to determine if something will be offensive: Substitute words that denote respect, and see if it’s still funny. Try it out:
Eenie, meenie, minie, moe,
Catch a preacher by the toe…
Catch a doctor by the toe…
Catch your mother by the toe…
Catch the mayor by the toe…
If you still can’t hear the hostility in the rhyme, substitute your own name.
Marcia J. Corbett
Prairie Village



What I find amusing is that I never found the ryhme funny, just a way to pick someone for a game. Inserting my own name, just makes it sound like the fix is in and I am going to be it.

big dreamer

Yes Jungle...i was raised using Tiger :)

The N-word seems to be something that today's African American Youth fling around like a writer flings around papers that s/he did not like!


"If you still can’t hear the hostility in the rhyme, substitute your own name."

... catch JUNGLEJACK by the toe. Wow! That's amazing! My previous naivete is now brought into light! I think the letter writer misses the point - the N word is really the only offensive part of this rhyme, and most people were raised using a different version.

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