In the Monday April 1st edition of the The Globe student newspaper there appeared several articles, written tongue-in-cheek apparently, as a traditional celebration of the faux holiday. One in particular caught my attention as being extremely offensive.
Racism is and should be offensive to all, regardless of ethnic background. I hope I am not alone in voicing my concern.
On page A6 of the edition, in an article titled “Music on the Spot: A sign of the times in ‘NOW 1890s’, contributing writer Derrick Gainsforth references an actual minstrel song of the 1890s “All Coons Look Alike to Me” by Ernest Hogan. If the author had done further research he might have realized this was seen as offensive even at the time of its inception. According to Wikipedia, Hogan was dogged by criticism for his contribution to the song and “regretted” it before his death.
Was it really necessary to choose a notoriously racist song to cite in the article about music of the 1890s? What is humorous about it? I suggest the humor is the same as originally intended, and that is to remind readers of exaggerated racial stereotypes.
Perhaps an apology is due?
2nd Yr Student
Like most of our April 1 content, the humor of the NOW 1890s’ story was in the contrast of eras. By today’s standards, the turn of the century was a very different and backward time. The reference was not an attempt to reinforce racial stereotypes, nor do I believe it came across as such in the context it was presented.
The issue was a novice attempt at comedy through horse carriages, locusts and hoop rolling. Historical balance might be incidental in such a venture, but we at The Globe are news writers at heart.
If we were to deliberately avoid historical references to subjects which we find offensive, we would do our audience an explicit disservice. “All Coons Look Alike to Me” was a top hit of the time. I would never wish to present a scrubbed version of the past.