The most racist post on this blog

Jesus loves the little children
All the little children of the world
Red and yellow, black and white
All are precious in his sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world

51gvtwzti0l-_sx407_bo1204203200_ 51mxjomcfql-_sx344_bo1204203200_ 51pja5gqhll-_sx419_bo1204203200_ 51wy3-vv0-l-_sx340_bo1204203200_ 61nhrpqaszl-_sx409_bo1204203200_-1519ssxzc4ll-_sx398_bo1204203200_

From a review of Tomie dePaola’s Legend of the Indian Paintbrush:

The story is improperly sourced. Stories are a means to teach lessons for survival. Since this is a European perspective of a fantasy romanticized Indian of the past, this becomes another instance of whites with long lost culture dressing up and playing Indian . We need to know what tribe this story originates, the true setting and purpose of the original story, and the intended audience. The retelling doesn’t reflect the setting, material artifacts or even the specific nation it attempts to depict. The story and illustrations improperly depict native people as a mono-culture. The book makes native dialogue overly mystic. The use of words like “brave” “and papoose” instead of “man” and “child” dehumanize an entire group of people. Reading this to children will definitely perpetuate damaging stereotypes of the distinct cultures still alive and well today.


14 thoughts on “The most racist post on this blog

  1. This is a better view. A good read. “Scalp Dance”, Thomas-Goodrich

    If childhood diseases had not wiped out the Native Americans, 95% maybe, they would have kicked the Europeans back into the Ocean pronto. They were tough. Even though they went through a huge genocide from disease and attacked by Whites with major technological superiority in weapons they fought for every inch of the country. Can you imagine the despair if your culture was hit with this kind of setback and yet they fought on. Today’s Whites whine if “triggered” by free speech. We’re being displaced in the US by other tribes and we’re not only not fighting back we harass and torment Whites who even say there’s a problem.

    An interesting aside is the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Just how did they get through all those Indian territories? Carrying all those supplies they made a rich, big, fat, target. Like walking through the ghetto with a Rolex on. They had a secret weapon. A Girandoni air rifle. A super advanced semi-auto very powerful air rifle made by the Austrians for warfare that could shoot 20 rounds a minute. They would always demonstrate the rifle to any tribe they came upon. Beeman of Beeman air guns believes he has the original Lewis and Clark air gun. He has paid for extensive study of the expedition and the rifle he bought. He has even made replicas. The rifle itself was given to a museum by Beeman.


    • I think Russia’s expansion through Asia makes a decent model for what the conquest would have looked like without disease. The people with guns tend to have an advantage over those without. Still, yes, the Indians did fight well.


  2. It’s doubtful the indains would have stopped expansion even at full strength

    Technology being possibly the lest of their weak areas. No organization, no logstics, no ablity to orginze troops or equipment or the ablity to mass produce equipment, no real concept of war much past raiding

    They caused problems but never for long after the government got serious about things.


  3. So this is completely OT but like…

    As an atheist raised atheist, I’d grown up occasionally seeing the lyrics to “Jesus Loves the Little Children” in various books, but I’d never heard the tune.

    My family has a rift due to the Civil War (they were all fire-breathing abolitionists, but one branch took the Confederate side anyway because they believed that the South was legally in the right even though morally in the wrong; the rest of the family, my great-great-grandparents included, disowned them)–

    –“Tramp! Tramp! Tramp! The Boys Are Marching” is a song I *did* grow up with. (Similarly, I’ve been known to sing “Wrap the Flag Around Me, Boys” for Memorial Day observations. Shut up. ;))

    So. Now, I know that “Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!” is the song whose tune was reused for “Jesus Loves the Little Children.”


    Je/Tramp! Sus/Tramp! Loves/Tramp!

    …sorry. Can’t stop laughing.

    (“Cheer up, comrades, they will come! And beneath the starry flag we shall breathe the air again of the free land in our own beloved home!” :D)

    (Yes, I did bother to look it up, and yes, “Tramp” is the original and “Jesus” took and reused “Tramp’s” tune, not the other way around…just saying. ;))

    …as for the actual point of this post. ‘Fraid I missed it. Probably doesn’t help that I’m too young for Little Black Sambo and too old for The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush.

    But my folks did read me Br’er Rabbit when I was a kid, back when it was a *good* thing to preserve other cultures. ;) I’m not a fan of today’s trumped-up complaints about any reference to the stories’ “tar baby”–complaints which generally come from children (even if they’re 30, *they’re children*) too young to have ever actually heard the stories, and who cite “racist meanings” which the children have, to paraphrase Blackadder, “just now made up”

    No, my dear child, I was *not* “fully aware of the racism inherent in the term,” because *you just made it up*.



    • Little Black Sambo has been re-released as the Tale of Little Babaji. There’s nothing objectionable in the story, which depicts Sambo as cleverly outwitting the tigers; people just didn’t like the original illustrations, in which he was drawn as a little black boy despite being obviously Indian.

      The point: ethnonymic creep is stupid. If it’s racist to call someone “red” or “yellow,” then “Jesus Loves the Little Children” is a racist song. I have strong memories of that song; my mother used to sing it to me every night, along with “Jesus loves me.” Even now, the song makes me tear up. Okay, but how do I share this song with my kids, and then explain to them that it’s okay for Jesus to love yellow and red children, but they can’t call people yellow and red, if they do that, it’s racist? (And “Asian” and “Native American” have too many syllables for the tune.)

      These are all books/songs that little children loved and treasured, (I also loved Bre’er Rabbit, especially the dialect the stories were written in,) and today they would all be called racist for the language they use.

      Destroying things that children love is low. Who thinks they have the right to attack my culture, to take “Jesus loves the little children” from us? (whether you believe in Jesus or not.)


      • These are all books/songs that little children loved and treasured, (I also loved Bre’er Rabbit, especially the dialect the stories were written in,) and today they would all be called racist for the language they use.

        I see…I’m not familiar with any of the ones you pictured. I guess that’s why I didn’t get it.

        I nominate Lynne Reid Banks’ The Indian in the Cupboard as another.

        Review found on Goodreads:

        What a racist, dull, unimaginative book. Full of stereotypes and negative images, this book should be taught only to teach young people how NOT to write books. I only read this book for a grad class and would never recommend it to anyone. First, the writing is cliched and boring. Secondly, the way Lynne Reid Banks has portrayed the Indian (apparently, Little Bear is Iroquois) is racist and offensive. Little Bear only speaks in grunts and incomplete sentences, and the cowboy Boone wants only to kill the dirty, smelly Injun. Omri, the little boy who is given Little Bear as a present (one he doesn’t want–again, this is a terrible book), refuses at first to gather the materials for Little Bear to make a longhouse–which is traditionally the lodging of an Iroquois, not a tepee. This is only one example of how Banks has made her book a metaphor for how ignorant white people have subjugated and marginalized the Indian populations of America by refusing to understand, listen to, or accommodate Indian heritage. No one should willingly pick up this book.


        As a Native American person, I am reflexively suspicious of fiction about Indians, especially in this genre, because it is easy for non-Indians to caricature people whose culture they can’t really identify with. But while Banks’ development of the Indian’s character might be a little thin, it’s no thinner than that of other characters. Banks provides enough history of the Five Civilized Tribes, and their role in the French and Indian Wars to demonstrate Little Bear’s humanity, and it is on this basis that Omri comes to respect him. This is an entertaining, appealing story, in which an immature young man learns to take responsibility and show respect for others’ welfare.

        Who thinks they have the right to attack my culture, to take “Jesus loves the little children” from us?

        Do we need to have a little chat about stealing someone else’s battle song and turning it into a syrupy children’s song?

        I mean. I get that you have an emotional attachment to those lyrics. I have an emotional attachment to the original ones.

        I’ll stop there out of respect for your personal history with the song.

        The point: ethnonymic creep is stupid.

        ISTM it has the same cause as a euphemism treadmill (we just don’t know what to do about that): If a culture dislikes or patronizes a group of people, then the term for them will become poisoned. They will then start disliking being called that.

        Giving them a new name is only a temporary fix…but…a person wants to do *something*, you know? You say destroying things children love is cruel…what about making children grow up knowing *they* are [poisoned word]? Isn’t that cruel too?

        I’m not saying SJWism is the answer…I’m just saying the problem it’s trying to solve is real.

        But I also agree with your comment under another post that all this language creep is classist in effect. Anyone who wants people to work together across class lines can’t go condemning people for minor differences in language use.

        …hey remember that “SJW slogan generator” people were playing with a couple years ago? And then it generated this slogan: “Friendly reminder that proletariat are problematic because they are mean!”

        And raggedjackscarlet posted:



        He was not wrong. ;)

        I blame today’s increasing extremism about “racism.” “Racism”–and “sexism”–used to have specific meanings. More than one, but still. You could use the words to describe something and then calmly discuss it. Someone could admit to having said something “racist” or “sexist” without feeling like that made them a bad person. But now…now the words are just used to mean “evil.”

        …more language creep! :/

        Another problem is *fake* ethnonym creep. I’m talking about when people who *aren’t even the group being referenced* decide an ethnonym has been poisoned and demand change.

        People are thinking they need to “use their privilege to help out the less fortunate”–which is a noble impulse, just misdirected here. They assume they know that the ethnonym has been poisoned, and they might even be right…but your own name is a personal decision, so “whether to push for a name change” really needs to be up to the group itself.

        After all, when a name has been poisoned, yeah there are always some people who choose a name change…but there are also always some people who choose to “reclaim the slur” instead. “Queer,” for example…


      • Do we need to have a little chat about stealing someone else’s battle song and turning it into a syrupy children’s song?
        Well, now I’m curious. *research* Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!:
        ” “Tramp! Tramp! Tramp! (The Prisoner’s Hope)” was one of the most popular songs of the American Civil War. George F. Root wrote both the words and music and published it in 1864 to give hope to the Union prisoners of war. ”

        And the words to Jesus loves The Little Children were penned by C. H. Woolston:
        “A Baptist minister, Woolston lived with his wife Agnes in East Brunswick, New Jersey, in 1880; and in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1900, 1910 & 1920.” (born 1856.)

        Looks like they were on the same side in the war.


      • …in response to that entire effortpost, that’s all you have to say?

        Well alright then.

        Are you claiming a New Jersey Baptist is from the same subculture as George F. Root and me? Because I’d disagree. (So would David Hackett Fischer, come to that.)

        You began the discussion with a complaint about other people trying to take the song from you. Why are you allowed to object to such things and I’m not?

        …well, we’re from different subcultures, so maybe there’s some cross-cultural static here. My read between the lines is that I offered to share the song with you out of respect for your feelings, as long as you’d likewise respect mine. You appear to me to be replying, “No. I insist on taking the song from you.”

        *Is* that what you’re saying?


      • No, I just hadn’t gotten around to a longer response, because long responses take time and I’m sick + Halloween has been sucking up time. (I have a generous post buffer, so sickness doesn’t show up in the posting schedule, but it does affect responses.)


      • I’m not familiar with any of the ones you pictured.
        I think all you really need to know is that they’re kid’s books. Children’s books are generally written to be sweet and flattering to their subjects.

        Do we need to have a little chat about stealing someone else’s battle song and turning it into a syrupy children’s song?
        I’m not sure what your complaint is. Someone took a popular song and wrote some new lyrics for it. No one said, “Hey, you can’t sing ‘Tramp Tramp Tramp’ anymore! Only Jesus people get to sing that song now,” or “Hey, you can’t say the word ‘tramp’ anymore, it offends prostitutes!” Different people putting different words to the tune doesn’t stop anyone from singing it the way they want to.

        But we do have people saying, “You can’t say the words to ‘Jesus loves the Little Children’ anymore because it’s racist.”

        As for whether or not the New Jersey/Pennsylvania guy and the Massachusetts guy would have seen themselves as part of the same subculture, and whether or not that’s your subculture, I can’t say because I don’t know (or have forgotten) what part of the county you hail from. At any rate, both men were from the Union side, which I suspect they would consider pretty important. :)

        “The song has been parodied numerous times, an early variant being “Damn, Damn, Damn the Filipinos”. It also lends the music to an Irish patriotic song, “God Save Ireland”, as well as the children’s song “Jesus Loves the Little Children”. It has also been used for the World War I song, Belgium Put the Kibosh on the Kaiser. Hawkeye (Alan Alda) twice responds to someone making a thrice repeated complaint (such as “Gripe, gripe, gripe!”) by singing the line from the song “the boys are marching” on M*A*S*H. In the November 26, 2010, edition of the Pickles comic strip, lead character Earl Pickles sings the chorus as a preemptive strike against his wife’s urge to sing holiday songs.[3] Club Deportivo Universidad Católica, one of Chile’s most important football clubs, used the music of this song in its official anthem.[4]

        “This is the original song of the college song of Sapporo Agricultural College (Present: Hokkaido University), Japan.

        “The labor organizer (and songwriter) Joe Hill wrote a song to the tune called “The Tramp”, about a vagabond going through the depression in search for a job, only to get the universal answer: ‘Tramp, tramp, tramp, keep on a-tramping / Nothing doing here for you / If I catch you ’round again / You will wear the ball and chain’.

        “The Mormon hymn “In Our Lovely Deseret” employs the tune as well.[5]

        “As well as An Dearg Doom by Horslips the air of this song was used in Put ‘Em Under Pressure.[6]

        “The German band De Höhner use the tune for their song “Dat Hätz vun d’r Welt”, sung in praise of Cologne in the local dialect, Kölsch.”

        I think the song has long flown. But none of these other versions bother me anymore than it bothers me when people sing “Jingle Bells, Batman smells…” :)

        Giving them a new name is only a temporary fix…but…a person wants to do *something*, you know? You say destroying things children love is cruel…what about making children grow up knowing *they* are [poisoned word]? Isn’t that cruel too?

        There are words that are only said to be cruel. Then there are words, like Eskimo, which I have truly never heard anyone use as an epithet. I have never in my whole life heard anyone breathe a cruel word about Eskimos, and if you’ve read some of the other comment threads around here, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve heard a fair amount of cruel things.

        If anything, the euphemism treadmill might make things worse–if a word is commonly used and deemed polite enough for academic and children’s literature, but then upperclass people stop using the word to signal their superiority, then the word ends becoming first old-fashioned and then a slur by a kind of default.

        As for the rest of your points, I basically agree.


      • Hope you feel better soon.

        To answer your comment on the open thread, I didn’t feel my effort was unappreciated–I go on too much to reasonably expect responses to everything, and I “disappear” often enough myself. It’s just that the way my “between the lines parser” ;) works, if I “extend an olive branch” on one topic and then try to “shift back” to others, then if someone replies to the first and only the first, that gets parsed as “refusing the olive branch.” Glad to see it was just a misunderstanding.

        I think the song has long flown.

        I did mention I’d looked it up. ;) Yes, it’s a fait accompli. That’s why I’m willing to share it with you as long as you aren’t a jerk about it. ;)

        I’m not sure what your complaint is.

        Some people don’t like “fake geek girls” / “Jesus Christ Superstar” back when it was new / etc. (“cultural appropriation”). Other people don’t mind. I’m in the first group.

        (I’m happy to have people join my culture or share in a piece of it, but only if they actually join or share in it. I’m not so happy if they take a piece of it, use it in a manner that strikes the original culture as “insincere” and/or disrespectful,” and then spread that “inappropriate” use around till it overtakes the original. IOW, the standard “cultural appropriation” objection.)

        (Those Christians who, my atheist parents and Christian in-laws tell me, hated JCS for its cultural appropriation–they didn’t call it that then but their objection fits the definition–were right to be concerned. JCS *was* my main exposure to “the Jesus story,” and it *has*…not just colored but, really, *defined* my view of it…and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Even the argument I’ve seen that “*Today’s* American Christians like it and think it’s accurate, so oh well”…if that’s true, then sure, you could argue that that’s because those ’70s Christians were wrong. *Or* you could argue that *that’s how thoroughly JCS successfully devoured American Christian culture aieee*. I obviously can’t know which if either is true…it’s just…another example of a “cultural appropriation” argument.)

        But we do have people saying, “You can’t say the words to ‘Jesus loves the Little Children’ anymore because it’s racist.”

        I’ve actually never seen that, but sure, I’ve seen it with enough other things.

        There’s a Catch-22 there… I mean, “fake ethnonym creep” happened because people who were greatly in the minority soon felt overburdened by having to constantly talk about how Epithet X Actually Did Personally Bother Them, Could You Please Consider Rewording. So political coalitions between racial minority and racial majority members said, “As part of our coalition we ask that majority members stand up for minority members.” And they started to habitually do that…and then it turned into a holiness-signaling spiral, as you said.

        That’s why I’m going back to listening only to people speaking on behalf of their own group. I regret that that does unfairly burden minority members, but we’ve learned from experience that we don’t know how to keep the other version from turning into a harmful spiral.

        I don’t know (or have forgotten) what part of the county you hail from.

        Oh, sorry, you mentioned something about “what SJWs think about [my] subculture” so I assumed you remembered–I’m a Puritan descendant (I doubt you’re surprised). My subculture obviously made a very big contribution to the Civil War, but the two aren’t equivalent IMO. (I’ve hesitated to ask you whereabouts you’re from in case you want to keep it vague on the internet.)

        Then there are words, like Eskimo, which I have truly never heard anyone use as an epithet.

        I haven’t either IRL. The memoir Cheaper by the Dozen mentions that their mother did.

        But that was about 100 years ago now. And the movie was ~60 years ago.

        If times have changed and something that used to be a slur is no longer widely remembered as one…but one person’s parents grew up still hearing it and told them about it, so *they* remember…(I’ve encountered this)…I won’t object to them speaking up.

        …so if we agree that the problem is the hair-trigger “taking offense” that has become so common lately…

        What might change that?


      • Thanks. Having a cold on Halloween has been Not Fun (but then, having a cold is never fun, so I shouldn’t complain too much.)

        I just found the idea that “Jesus loves the Little Children” has a history and isn’t just, IDK, a folksong so fascinating I had to look it up right away. :)

        Personally, I’ve never really cared if someone “appropriates” my culture. I’m sure some people have things to validly complain about, but no one has ever “culturally appropriated” something that I consider “mine” that I find problematic. I’ve never seen Jesus Christ Superstar, but I’ve seen “Jesus Christ, Vampire Hunter,” and that doesn’t bother me. I don’t mind Japanese manga full of pseudo-european culture and I don’t mind “Fake Geek Girls” or The Big Bang Theory. I didn’t invent my culture or “own” it, so who am I to say how others (who were exposed to many of the exact same cultural items and thoughts as I have been,) should use them?

        (Wait, are we talking about girls who pretend to be geeks or people who complain about ‘fake geek girls?’ Well, either way…)

        At the end of the day, I just hope someone will make a discovery that will shed light on the Denisovans. :)

        I hail genetically from the South, broadly speaking, but I don’t really feel a cultural connection to the region, except in some vague ways (like a predilection for the cuisine.) I don’t think my parents ever taught me the culture (perhaps they didn’t know it, either,) and I never fit in as a kid. So I can talk about my family–I feel a connection to them, an interest in their stories–but the culture is, well, just one more culture for me to study.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s