Have you ever had life just go the way you wanted it to? Not just one thing, but one event after another?
I have not. Some might argue my privilege – I have led a good enough life so I should not complain.
“Some people have it worse,” they say.
EXACTLY! There is always someone who has it worse. You are not the only victim.
While I definitely am grateful for what I have, I do not feel like the things I would like to see changed actually do. It makes me wonder why certain topics are more important than others. Just like some people/videos/posts go viral and others do not. There seems to be no real equation explaining that phenomenon.
What we do know is that it becomes easier to have our voices heard when there already is a similar debate going on. The “bandwagon effect” as I like to call it. A few women accuse one man of sexual assault, and then a few more appear out of nowhere. And then a few more… #MeToo
The trendy topic right now (aside from COVID-19) is racism. I could tell you how I had friends of different ethnicities, skin colors, and religions at the age of 4 and how I only saw these kids as people and not ethnicites, skin colors, or religions. My experience with diversity has not stopped there, trust me. But somehow all that is a bad thing. Apparently, we need to see those things to not treat them differently. Hmm… I took all sorts of Math and Logic courses back in the day, but you lost me on that one.
One of my fellow bloggers, Dee, shared a great video with her readers recently in which we see African-American celebrities talk about race issues in the US.
In June, I wrote The only way to fight racism… – an article about riots. We are now in August and the riots have only become worse in some places. In Chicago, last week, store windows were smashed and items looted from the Magnificent Mile (high-end stores on Michigan Ave, which spans across a mile). It sure sounds like violent riots and the abolition of the police force are the solution to racism.
A week later, I spoke about #ITakeResponsibility and all that jazz; Ways to make the world a better place. I shared with you the fact that the country band formerly known as Lady Antebellum changed their name to Lady A to be more inclusive (i.e. not appear racist). Now, they are actually accused of being privileged and racist because they are suing an African-American singer for the rights to that name. They tried to reach a consensus with her but she refused, arguing that she will not let them win just because she is black.
Another week later, you were able to read my post Racism on the shelves – How the products we grew to love make us racist. It was about our favorite breakfast items (pancake mix, syrup) changing their branding so as not to be linked to anything related to racism. Around the time that post came to be, I noticed that Aunt Jemima items were not as easy to buy as they used to. However, now, there seems to be a regular supply of them. Was that just a PR stunt to have certain people buy things that might soon seize to exist? We can only speculate.
Since June, I have been waiting for another item to become the target of racial topics. Yes, various statues have been toppled over for the past months. No, years. It is nothing new. Today, I found what I was looking for – apparently, the ice cream truck song might soon change.
I can only speak for myself but when I think of the ice cream truck melody, I think of my childhood.
I think of summer days.
Filled with joy and laughter.
I think of being good to my parents so they would give me some money for ice cream when I knew the truck would come.
All the excited faces of kids swarming the truck, eager to pick their flavor.
Of kids sharing their ice cream with others to compare flavors (yes, cooties, I know).
I think of dirty faces, and hands, and shirts, covered in melted ice cream.
And parents who smiled, seeing their kids happy.
The ice cream truck melody has the power to possess kids. No, I have no proof. I just know that I, and all the other kids, would drop whatever I was doing and run towards it the moment I heard the song. Then, when I knew the schedule (date and time), I would acquire money ahead of time and wait, ready to run for my life. The faster you made it to the truck, the better chance you had at getting the ice cream you wanted.
How is all that a problem? The folk song “Turkey In The Straw” was very popular during minstrel performances some 200 years ago. During such events, white people appeared in blackface. It is not important that this tune was based on “The (Old) Rose Tree,” which originated in Europe and traveled over the Atlantic as a folk song. No, it is important that someone some time ago performed it in a now-perceived-as-racist way. Apparently, there were at least a couple of parodies of this song, perpetuating the black stereotypes. You can learn more about it here (“Zip Coon” lyrics) and here (“Nigger Love a Watermelon. Ha! Ha! ha!” audio). I, for one, had no idea. It would be interesting to find out how many of us – living here today – actually knew about these racist songs before any of this was dredged up.
I do not excuse everything I do by saying Christians used to be persecuted back in the day. Oh, wait, they still are…
Unilever, who is the parent company of Good Humor – responsible for the ice cream truck tune explained that they have not owned an ice cream truck for over 40 years, but they still decided to do something about it. They did come up with a new melody. This one, they made sure had no lyrics.
When I heard it, it made me feel sleepy. The beat picks up a little after a few seconds, but it still does not energize me. However, my partner said it made them feel inquisitive and they definitely could not fall asleep with that melody. Maybe I am just sleepy and even heavy metal will seem soothing. (I will have to test it once I finish writing this post.) (I just checked the comment section under this tune and it seems like more people think this sounds like a lullaby. YES!)
- How would you feel if things suddenly started to go your way?
- What are some issues that you are passionate about and would like to see gain more traction?
- If you are African/American or black, PLEASE share with us how the recent changes have impacted your life. I would love to hear your side of the story. Are you happy to see the changes? Are they doing any good? What would you like to happen next?
- What are your memories associated with the ice cream truck song?
- Were you aware of the racist songs?
- What do you think of the new ice cream truck melody?
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