School district pulls slave-era folk song from concert - 11/14/05
'The song's lyrics included "Jump down, turn around, pick a bale of cotton. Gotta jump down, turn around, Oh Lordie, pick a bale a day." '

Unless their version of the lyrics differs substantially from Leadbelly's version, I don't see what the cotton-picking problem is. My white late mother-in law picked cotton when she was a kid in the Thirties or Forties. She probably hated it, and she might never have sung or liked that song, but is it offensive just because it describes something that happened in slave-era?

The offended people seem to be reading stereotype into the song, assuming that anyone singing about a person picking cotton must be making fun of slaves.

They should have kept the song and discussed the context if they felt necessary. It's not even elementary or middle school, we're talking high school. Not like the kids are going to be traumatized by hearing it or wondering what it meant back then, what it means today.

I'm not the typical reactionary to people calling out what offends them, but this one is too far. I can almost see if they were singing, "Shoo fly, don't bother me, Cause I belong to somebody." Even then I'd say sing the song and discuss it afterwards. But this one is off base. What's next -- "Chain of Fools" can't be included because of the imagery of bondage?


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