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Now Jingle Bells is racist - this weeks dose of insanity in academia

Tom Winnifrith
Sunday 17 December 2017

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way, oh what fun it is with Hitler living the Aryan way. Okay I made up the second line but it makes no difference, the original version of the festive tune is racist anyway claims mad prof Kyna Hamill from Boston university.

The problem is that when it was first performed in 1857 it was sung by white guys blacked up to look like African Americans. So "The legacy of 'Jingle Bells' is one where its blackface and racist origins have been subtly and systematically removed from its history," says Ms Hamill

That white guys used to black up and sing until the 1970s is something that used to happen but is no longer deemed acceptable. But that does not mean that those performing any given song were necessarily racist although in 1857 USA they quite possibly were. But it certainly does not make the song racist in any way.

But we all need to seek out racism and sexism and homophobia in everything these days. The academic highlight of last week came from snow clad Britain where University College London (UCL) tweeted out

Dreaming of a white campus? Our campuses will be open and operating fully today, Monday 11 December, so please make your way in as planned. (We can't guarantee snow but we'll try!)

Clearly this is a play on the song "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas" and UCL's tweet just like the song clearly references the white as being snow not a desire for racial purity. A child of three could see what UCL meant but predictably it was grovelling apologetically before long in the face of a furious new media backlash.

Kumail Jaffer, a PPE student at Warwick University demanded that UCL be made to to “retract and apologise”. He added that if anyone does not understand why the comment is offensive, they should “look into the history of the oppression of the PoC [People of Colour]”.

Kumail you are fucking stupid not because you are a PoC but because you clearly cannot read the original UCL tweet properly before gobbing off. I predict that you will go far in modern Britain, draping yourself in a state of being offended by everything.

The fact that UCL's critics were spouting obvious nonsense made no odds. It had to say sorry. Such is life in the crazy world of academia today.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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