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Poll
Question: Is "Ten Little Indians" vaguely racist?
Yes. - 12 (16.4%)
No. - 25 (34.2%)
piss up a rope, rope pisser - 36 (49.3%)
Total Voters: 69

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Author Topic: Poll: Is "Ten Little Indians" vaguely racist?  (Read 5871 times)
runnersdialzero
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« on: August 02, 2012, 08:27:05 PM »

IS IT

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« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2012, 08:30:04 PM »

yeh, it is. not vaguely.
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« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2012, 09:22:36 PM »

Not by 1962 standards.
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« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2012, 10:01:03 PM »

I don't believe the term Indian in reference to Native Americans is racist. Wrong? Yes. Not racist. I will go as far as to say that the Washington Redskins is not racist. No more so then the Boston Celtics.
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« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2012, 10:53:00 PM »

The world was different back then. And really, in my opinion it is just an innocent little song. It's not like they are encouraging people to hate Indians. It's just a... wild west love story. A precursor if Heroes and Villains, even?
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« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2012, 11:39:55 PM »

Mike pronouncing it "injuns" doesn't make it better.  Azn
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« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2012, 02:07:07 AM »

Once you learn about the origins of what became the "Ten Little Indians" phrase, then it becomes VERY racist.  Grin
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« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2012, 03:04:19 AM »

Rio Grande would be racist for that matter.
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« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2012, 03:34:22 AM »

Rio Grande would be racist for that matter.
Hell, might as well pull every Western movie ever made with Native Americans in it. This song is an extension of the original ditty we all learned as kids.
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« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2012, 06:20:05 AM »

Agree with Mike Eder's comment: not back in 1962.
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« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2012, 06:29:27 AM »

I don't believe the term Indian in reference to Native Americans is racist. Wrong? Yes. Not racist. I will go as far as to say that the Washington Redskins is not racist. No more so then the Boston Celtics.

In cases like this, it comes down to what the dominated culture feels, not the dominant culture. The dominant culture rarely if ever has considered their own racism to be racist.
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« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2012, 06:31:34 AM »

Not by 1962 standards.

Wellllll....1962 white person's standards, yes.
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« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2012, 06:41:14 AM »

I don't believe the term Indian in reference to Native Americans is racist. Wrong? Yes. Not racist. I will go as far as to say that the Washington Redskins is not racist. No more so then the Boston Celtics.

In cases like this, it comes down to what the dominated culture feels, not the dominant culture. The dominant culture rarely if ever has considered their own racism to be racist.

Quoted for truth. I too believe that if a dominated culture is offended by a depiction of their culture in film, conversation, song, etc, it's insensitive and too easy to turn around from a position of privilege and tell a culture "that's not racist because of x,y,z".
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« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2012, 06:50:27 AM »

In our 2012 "politically correct" society, it seems like people make everything out to be racist.
"Ten Little Indians" isnt.
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« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2012, 06:54:58 AM »

IS IT

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 Nursery rhymes and traditional childrens' music, often has either violent or subversive undertones.  While in undergrad in Early Childhood, I had the task of reading the "real" versions of Grimm, some of the folk tales, some which take strands from the Middle East, and certainly European and Scandinavia.  Rapunzel is an interesting one.  Ring around the Rosie' is another one. Ten Little Indians is usually connected to the Irish Folk tune "Michael Finnegan" and is listed by wiki as Roud Folk Song index #13512.

That said, kids who come to school without some language system, or rhyming poetry schema, whether politically correct or not, often don't know how to count, or the days of the week.   So, as awful as some of them are, with their background and foundation, there is a certain skill set that is taught with these little children's songs.  So the question becomes, whether we use this music and poetry/folk tales/ fairy tales, etc., to teach a skill set and early language development or look for a new model to hand down to our children and grandchildren.

There are many criticisms of Disney versions of folk and fairy tales but on the whole, i think they do a pretty good job with authenticity. One of my favorite Disney movies is Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la bÍte) where the creators went back to the original French music manuscripts of the era (Ashman and Menken) to use for the soundtrack.

Does one skip teaching this song which is probably steeped in violent underepinnings or create a subsequent teaching opportunity and include the history of these tales in high school when young people can learn the historic back story but value the language piece as a teaching tool for young children's early development?  
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« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2012, 07:09:08 AM »

Somehow Gary Usher, Brian and Murry knew how to easily generate a copyright by adapting public domain material. It worked on Red River Rock, Nut Rocker, La Bamba and many other pop tunes. They needed material in a hurry and came up with the Ten Little Indians. I think it was that simple. I don't think they gave it a second thought about its potential to offend anyone.

When this song came out I was 9. I still had my Little Black Sambo book and a Bozo the Clown record (I also had Raindrops by Dee Clark and Monster Mash). The only version of Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe I knew was the the one we don't say anymore. And on some Sunday mornings my mom and dad would take me and my brothers to Sambo's, a pancake house franchise. That was then...

« Last Edit: August 03, 2012, 07:11:00 AM by SBonilla » Logged
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« Reply #16 on: August 03, 2012, 07:41:46 AM »

In our 2012 "politically correct" society, it seems like people make everything out to be racist.
"Ten Little Indians" isnt.

The song reduces Natives to the same set of of cliched stereotypes that were concocted by white intellectuals as a way to characterize all Natives as "different" and therefore inferior to more progressive Anglos. Of course, I'm not saying the boys sat down and purposefully tried to demonize Natives but they are employing a long-standing discourse that worked to Other the Native population in order to justify colonial expansion and cultural exploitation. I dn't think this is particularly controversial.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2012, 07:42:42 AM by rockandroll » Logged
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« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2012, 07:57:10 AM »

Even if it is racist or a stereotype, they more than made up for it ten years later with The Trader.
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« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2012, 08:02:39 AM »

Even if it is racist or a stereotype, they more than made up for it ten years later with The Trader.

And Heroes and Villains/Do You Like Worms (though the latter didn't officially come out for years).
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« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2012, 08:28:09 AM »

Mike pronouncing it "injuns" doesn't make it better.  Azn

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« Reply #20 on: August 03, 2012, 08:44:47 AM »

You folks are all judging the song by 21st century "Politically Correct" standards. Remember:The song was recorded in 1962.
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« Reply #21 on: August 03, 2012, 08:46:24 AM »

The most offensive thing about this song is that it was released by Capitol as the follow-up 45 to Surfin' Safari.
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« Reply #22 on: August 03, 2012, 08:49:10 AM »

You folks are all judging the song by 21st century "Politically Correct" standards. Remember:The song was recorded in 1962.

Like I said earlier, you're correct, this wouldn't have offended the sensibilities of many white people at that time. Just as it clearly doesn't now, despite these so-called "Politically Correct" standards.
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« Reply #23 on: August 03, 2012, 09:26:12 AM »

You folks are all judging the song by 21st century "Politically Correct" standards. Remember:The song was recorded in 1962.

Agreed. And, a trend in many literature and humanities classes. I find it irresponsible to use a 21st century "lens" in an historic context.  And, it is generally accepted that if you don't agree with the professor, your grade will suffer. 

Critical thinking, I think requires looking at the "context" and social and political circumstances of the respective art or music; not using a 21st century technological standard, retrospectively. 

Had those people lived today, they might think differently. And those folk and fairy tales/chants and music, were largely a part of oral history, not unlike the troubadour models of the Middle Ages.
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« Reply #24 on: August 03, 2012, 09:29:08 AM »

The most offensive thing about this song is that it was released by Capitol as the follow-up 45 to Surfin' Safari.

A most excellent point!!!
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