FIRST, it's time to address "Cotton-Eye Joe"

Idk, I stated that now knowing what the origin of the song is…it makes me very uncomfortable to think it would be playing around someone who might already know the origin and would find it offensive. Before this thread I wouldn’t have thought anything of it, but that’s because I don’t pay attention to lyrics of songs usually unless I actually like them.

Just because I don’t find it personally offensive based on lyrics alone doesn’t mean things don’t carry the weight of history with them.

It is a crap song with potentially racist origins, I’d rather see it go away.

Except that’s not how history works - you can’t forget a negative origin. And behaviorally speaking , the reverse happens more often. Good things are turned into bad things. For example, look at Pepe the Frog, the original Indian Swastika…


Deciding to grow into a more enlightened society isn’t cancel culture. Changing the history of something so its “no longer perceived as racist” is classic gas-lighting and whitewashing. Making a conscious effort to not alienate our fellow people by deciding that things with bad histories and meanings shouldn’t be shown/played/heard/seen/etc is what should be done.

I’ve been in this organization for almost 20 years and not once have I ever heard a person talk about a past event and mentioned ANY song as a reason they enjoyed the event. I can tell you that I have heard plenty of complaining that some songs get played.


Ignorance is bliss. If people knowingly perpetuate media or ideas rooted in racism, I would argue that they are, by definition, racist. We should be better and thankfully there are at least 2 other songs in the world that people can dance to.


Subtle correction, the supposed takeover of Pepe the Frog was absolutely a meme and does not reflect the common usage. ADL now acknowledges this on their website which before only listed it as a hate symbol without the context addendum.


Ha, thanks for the correction!

I added links in my post for a better example.

Point being - good things can easily turn bad, bad things are almost impossible to turn into something good.


The thing is though the large majority of people do not know the history of the song. Therefore it is much easier to reclaim. Everybody knows that the swastika represents something bad, and thus it is pretty much impossible to reclaim.


Wouldn’t you want to educate people on the origin? I certainly appreciate this thread.


I don’t think ignorance or unawareness of something’s origins is a defense to problematic origins. The way they’re treated should vary, though.

The University of South Carolina Horseshoe–the original part of campus, and one of the few parts of Columbia spared by General Sherman when he burned the city–was largely built by slave labor as you’d expect from buildings in the South in the early 1800s. For many valid reasons, the University did not suddenly bulldoze them but they did add context to the Horseshoe in a prominent place right at the visitor’s center and museum.

A problematic song being played for scholarly discussion? Sure, I’ll allow it.

A problematic song being played as background or break music at a high school robotics competition? Nah.


Honestly, I don’t think it would be smart to just “cancel” things for having a negative history. If we start doing that, we’d just dig ourselves into a giant hole that would never end. We should be able to acknowledge its history, but also to understand that there is not a single person or company today that uses this song in order to belittle a group of people.


Let’s do it!


As a DJ, if FIRST bans Cotton-Eye Joe, I will exclusively play public-domain classical music at all the events I volunteer at.


Which events are these? Asking for a friend. Also, don’t make promises you can’t keep because I’ll show up to that event so hard.


Sold. Would be amazing to go home after an event with out ringing ears.


Past snark, examination of the past and realizing that so much of it is screwed up is NOT a bad thing. Total erasure is bad too, but that’s why we have museums and archives to preserve the wrong and evil in the world in a place we can examine and discuss. FIRST stopping playing this song is not erasure, especially if an educational blurb about the racist history of the song is also published.


Tell that to the people taking down statues

A public statue idolizing a traitor to the US that descendants of former slaves have to see every day just living their lives != A museum


I honestly never expected to see someone defend this song even before learning about its history


I can’t tell you how much that would improve my stress levels at competition. Yes please.


Now that destroyed statue belongs in a museum for a different reason. That particular piece will be a part of modern civil rights history.


Alright, last post for me in this thread.

It’s not a good song.
It is repetitive and annoying.
There are loads of better songs.
It has racial connotations that some might find offensive.
It’s not a good song.

For all of those reasons and the fact that it’s not a banger, let’s ditch it and move on.

And seriously, anyone who wants to play classical music at an event, I’m down. Give me a date and time when we aren’t under quarantine and I’ll be there because that sounds awesome and way better than what we currently have to put up with.