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August 03, 2006

Racist rhyme

I wonder if Louise McDowell understands the irony of her Sunday comment (Letters). She uses the “Eenie, meenie, minie, moe” rhyme to assert her opinion that some letter writers are racist. But she appears to have missed the point behind Lewis Diuguid’s ongoing crusade against it.

By his standard, any use of the rhyme is racist, regardless of whether the person using it intended it to be so. That makes her comments every bit as racist and insensitive as Boulevard Brewing Co. or the flight attendant on the airline or the millions of children who never learned or used the horrid, original of the rhyme — even though McDowell appears to agree with Diuguid’s opinion on the topic.

I guess the only remaining question is whether or not Diuguid would condemn McDowell’s usage of the rhyme or if he would be willing to cut her some slack because her opinion, and her intent, more closely matches his own.

Dan Naden



Oh, I know -- you made that point a few weeks ago. However, in common usage, it's known as the Confederate Flag, so I'm gonna continue with that one. I'm obviously not talking about the other ones that no one would recognize, whether he be Jesse Jackson or Uncle Jesse from the Dukes of Hazzard.

The confederate flag (as it is commonly known) is the one I've seen the Klan wave and on the Dukes of Hazzard General Lee, and, weirdly enough, as the wallpaper on a Charley Pride fan website. (That guy eventually took it down -- I wonder if someone pointed out some of the negative connotations of the flag, but clearly he was no racist, just a rabid country music fan)


CRD: Please, the "offensive" flag is not Confederate Flag. It is the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia. The army headed by Robert E. Lee.

The Confederacy had, at various times, three different flags, one of which was referred to as the "stars and bars" but was NOT the flag people are complaining about.

Most of the people complaining about the "offensive" confederate flag, wouldn't recognize one if they saw it. Somehow it bothers me less that they are complaining than that they have no idea what they are complaining about.


Use of an offensive symbol doesn't render one a racist. However, innocuous use of an offensive symbol doesn't negate the offensiveness of the symbol. Cf. my hypothetical a couple of weeks ago of the Indian-American immigrant who puts a swastika up. It's fair to point out to that person that such a symbol is offensive to many because of the Nazi murders of Jews and others. Same with the confederate flag -- it's got legit negative connotations.

I simply don't think Diuguid was out of line to point out that for many folks whose memory stretches back more than three or four decades, "Eenie Meenie Miny Moe" has racist echoes of "nigger," and of a past where their ancestors were enslaved and murdered, and where they themselves faced segregation and denial of the right to vote. Pointing out that fact doesn't mean that he's saying that Boulevard is racist, anymore than pointing out the negative connotations of the confederate flag means that Dukes of Hazzard fans are racist. But they're legit connotations -- and connotations that many find hurtful.

I certainly don't agree with Diuguid's take on everything (usually only read his column when it's pointed out to me here), but I do find it somewhat surprising the extent to which he's vilified for some of his observations.


I thought this topic had been run into the ground - but great posts, one and all!


Let's just do it the politically correct way. First take all people who are NOT white males between the ages of 21 and 55. Everyone outside that group are members of legally protected "minorities" despite the fact they compose somewhere around 80% of the population.

Anything any of member of those legal minorities find "offensive" will be banned from use my white males. Anyone else can use the terms. And they can use offensive terms for white males.

Only white males will be, by definition, "racists" who are capable of "offensive" speech.

Oh and those terms like "cracker" and "ofey" and stuff like that aren't showing "racism" towards whites. Nope, when they are called that it is because they deserve it.


I'm reminded of the 'N' word controversy. It's only offensive when it is used by non-Blacks.


Boulevard Brewing Co. handled the issue with graciousness and sensitivity. Kudos to them -- and a toast of Bully Porter! (good stuff)

T. Hanson

Oh... what the heck... One more:

Jack and Jill:

"The roots of the story, or poem, of Jack and Jill are in France. Jack and Jill referred to are said to be King Louis XVI - Jack -who was beheaded (lost his crown) followed by his Queen Marie Antoinette - Jill - (who came tumbling after). The words and lyrics to the Jack and Jill poem were made more acceptable as a story for children by providing a happy ending! The actual beheadings occurred in during the Reign of Terror in 1793. The first publication date for the lyrics of Jack and Jill rhyme is 1795 - which ties-in with the history and origins. The Jack and Jill poem is also known as Jack and Gill - the mis-spelling of Gill is not uncommon in nursery rhymes as they are usually passed from generation to generation by word of mouth."

Lets all ruin childhood!!
Same source listed below

T. Hanson

"Mary Mary quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells
And pretty maids all in a row."

The origin:
"The Mary alluded to in this traditional English nursery rhyme is reputed to be Mary Tudor, or Bloody Mary, who was the daughter of King Henry VIII. Queen Mary was a staunch Catholic and the garden referred to is an allusion to graveyards which were increasing in size with those who dared to continue to adhere to the Protestant faith -Protestant martyrs."

Wow.. Now I am offended. Lets find more shall we?

Ring around the rosy...

"The words to the Ring around the rosy children's ring game have their origin in English history . The historical period dates back to the Great Plague of London in 1665 (bubonic plague) or even before when the first outbreak of the Plague hit England in the 1300's. The symptoms of the plague included a rosy red rash in the shape of a ring on the skin (Ring around the rosy). Pockets and pouches were filled with sweet smelling herbs ( or posies) which were carried due to the belief that the disease was transmitted by bad smells. The term "Ashes Ashes" refers to the cremation of the dead bodies."

Wow... I just keep finding bad things in stuff that was taught to me in preschool. I think I need to contact my legislator about this and make a law.

*source: http://www.rhymes.org.uk/

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