Boston University professor says ‘Jingle Bells’ is racist
The history of the Theatre professor says Christmas classic was originally performed to make fun of African-Americans.
“Jingle Bells,” one of the most well-known christmas carols in the world, is now being called racist.
A Boston University theater professor claims that the Christmas carol has a “troubled history”, because originally it was performed to make fun of the Afro-Americans.
“The legacy of ‘Jingle Bells’ is one where the blackface and racist origins are subtly and systematically removed from the history,” Kyna Hamill, a BU theater historian, wrote in her “Theatre Survey” research paper on the story of “Jingle Bells.”
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“Although ‘One Horse Open Sleigh, for the most of the singers and listeners, may have eluded its racialized past and taken its place in the seemingly effortless romanticizing of a normal ‘white’ Christmas, attention is paid to the circumstances of the performance of the history makes reflection on the problematic role in the construction of black and white in the United States,” she wrote.
Hamill started with an examination of the history of the famous Christmas carol after a so-called “Jingle Bells War” – a dispute between two cities, Medford, Mass. and Savannah, Georgia. – that the claim of the birthplace of the song written by James Pierpont.
“The origin arose from the economic needs of an ever unsuccessful man, the racial politics of pre-war Boston, in the climate of the city, and the intertheatrical repertoire of commercial blackface performers move between Boston and New York,” Hamill wrote.
The traces of blackface minstrel origins can be found in the music and the lyrics, as well as the “elements of male display, rights, and the unfettered functioning of the male body on the stage,” the author wrote.
The lyrics of the song, Hamill adds, “display no real originality,” and reference things like “Miss Fanny Bright” and “dashing through the snow” closes the song blackface dandy, according to the research paper.
“Words like ‘ee’, ‘the tho’t,’ and ‘upsot’ suggest a racialized performance that tried to sound ‘southern’ northern audience,” Hamill wrote.
“As I have already mentioned in my article, the first documented performance of the song is in a blackface minstrel hall in Boston in the year 1857, the same year it was copyrighted,” Hamill told Fox News. “There is a lot of research done on the problematic history of nineteenth-century entertainment.”
Hamill added that its investigation is open to the public for two years and has nothing to do with Christmas.
Jingle Bells was the first song ever broadcast from outer space in 1965, as reported by History.com.
The research paper was a hit on social media with Twitter users that the liberal escape.
“Jingle Bells is racist, White Christmas is racist, Baby it’s Cold Outside is sexist. What the hell happened to the America I grew up in where people don’t wake up every day trying to find something to be offended by?” a Twitter user wrote.
Jingle Bells is a racist, White Christmas is racist, Baby it’s Cold Outside is sexist. What the hell happened to the America I grew up in where people don’t wake up every day trying to find something to be offended by? pic.twitter.com/eEbkzT5NCH
— Richard C Hendry (@richc580) December 14, 2017
Another Twitter user said that the song of the history is to be largely ignored.
“Jingle Bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way, oh what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh ! It is not racist,” another wrote. “That professor is an idiot. The actors were in black face, because in the time that blacks are not allowed to act. As they sang, doesn’t make it racist.”
Jingle Bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way, oh what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh ! It is not racist. The professor is an idiot. The actors were in black face, because in the time that blacks are not allowed to act. As they sang, doesn’t make it racist.
— Lori Burt (@loriannburt) December 15, 2017
Caleb Parke is an associate editor for FoxNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter @calebparke