Edited by Azizi Powell
This pancocojams post presents the reasons why I believe that it is important to include racial/ethnic demographics when collecting and/or sharing examples of children's rhymes and cheers.
The Addendum to this pancocojams post presents hyperlinks to pancocojams posts that provide examples of contemporary children's rhymes & cheers which include a racial/ethnic* referent or racial/ethnic referents.
The content of this post is presented for socio-cultural purposes.
All copyrights remain with their owners.
* "Ethnic" in this post refers to Latino/a (Hispanic) as it is used in the United States. People who are Latino/a (Hispanic) can be of any race.
MY OVERARCHING REASON FOR INCLUDING RACIAL DEMOGRAPHICS
A person collecting and/or sharing children's rhymes and cheers should document as much demographics as possible just as she/he would do when collecting other folkloric material. Demographic information includes the race/ethnicity of the person or people who are chanting/performing the example, the gender, geograhic location, and the date the example was collected as well as information about when and how the person first learned that example. The collector should also document any accompanying performance activity that was performed while chanting this example.
REASONS WHY I BELIEVE IT'S IMPORTANT TO INCLUDE RACIAL/ETHNIC DEMOGRAPHICS WHEN COLLECTING AND/OR SHARING EXAMPLES OF CHILDREN'S RHYMES AND CHEERS
(These reasons are given in no particular order.)
Including racial demographics
1. helps document/demonstrate that racial group’s creativity
Children's rhymes/cheers are just as legitimate examples of a population's culturial expression as are other genres of music and oral or written compositions that are created by and for adults.
I begin with this point because I remember some of my teachers in school (in the 1950s and 1960s) saying that "Black people never created anything". They said this while teaching a curriculam-including history and English literature- that was entirely White or mostly White.
2. helps document/demonstrate the chanter’s attitudes and/or some of that racial group’s attitudes & opinions about their race/ethnicity
3. helps document/demonstrate the chanter’s attitude & opinions and/or some of that racial group’s attitude about other people’s race/ethnicity
4. helps document/demonstrate the chanter’s attitude & opinions and and/or some of that racial group’s attitude about other things in their world (i.e. gender, parents, romantic relationships etc.)
5. helps document/demonstrate what slang and other things were/are interesting to specific populations during that time period
6. helps explain the meaning of certain slang words and saying which are found in certain rhymes and/or identify a particular person who is mentioned in rhyme
For instance, the word "jive" has had a number of slang meanings over time. However, in some examples of "Hula Hula" cheers that I've come across in the early to mid 2000s, "don't take no jive" means that the person is not going to let anyone "mess over" her (i.e. say or do anything foolish to her or problematic with or for her.
And the line "hangin out with Genuwine" in at least one of those same cheers means "spending time relaxing with the rapper whose stage name is Genuwine.
7. helps document/demonstrate how certain types of rhymes are preferred by certain populations during that time period and how those preferances might have changed over time
8. helps document/demonstrate the same or different preferences for certain types of rhymes among different populations within the same nation in the same time period
For instance, it seems to me that gross out rhymes such as "Great green gobs of greasy grimey gopher guts" aren't as well known among African Americans as they are among White Americans.
9. helps document/emonstrate how certain performance activities are preferred by certain populations during that time period
For instance, it appears to me that most Black children's rhymes are percussive and include accompanying performance activities such as hand clapping and/or foot stomping (prior to 1970s that performance activity was jump rope rather than hand clapping and/or foot stomping)
10. helps document/ document how specific rhymes are found in various parts of a nation and in various nations of the world
ADDENDUM: SOME PANCOCOJAMS POSTS THAT INCLUDE OF CHILDREN'S RHYMES/CHEERS THAT INCLUDE EXAMPLES OF RACE
(Some of these posts include my comments/speculations about why race was/is included in some of examples).
Conceptualizing, Collecting, & Sharing Contemporary Black Children's Rhymes
Race Mentioned In Contemporary Children's Recreational Rhymes
Selected Examples Of Referents For Black People In Children's Rhymes
The REAL Origin Of The Word "Ungawa" & Various Ways That Word Has Been Used In The USA
Racialized Versions Of "I Like Coffee I Like Tea"
Examples Of & Comments About The Children's Rhyme "I Like Coffee, I Like Tea, I Like Sitting On A Black Man's Knee"
The REAL Meanings Of "The Spades Go" & "The Space Go" In Playground Rhymes
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