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As it gets closer to Christmas, the old Christmas songs start playing, which brings the politically correct crowd out in full force to tell us all we’re racist, sexist or some other discriminatory thing because we hum along to an old tune from the 50’s. So, are we right to be enraged by something from over 50 years ago, or are people being too easily offended these days? Take a look at our list of ‘offences’ below:

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

This old Christmas classic has been in the news again. It seems that every Christmas, someone else is offended by this song. It was written in 1944 and used by MGM in a film in 1949. There’s no reference to Christmas in the song, but it’s regarded as a Christmas song from the clear winter theme. So, what’s the problem? On the surface, it appears to be a song about a man trying to get his female ‘friend’ to stay the night, trying to convince her it’s too cold to go home, there’s no taxis at that time of night etc. Campaigners have also said there’s a line in the song that indicates he’s spiked her drink to get her to stay – the line is “hey, what’s in this drink?” But is this true?

Firstly, the woman has voluntarily stayed late after the date, unchaperoned. Which, back then, was not the done thing by ‘Good Girls.’ She wants people to carry on thinking she’s a ‘Good Girl’ so has to put up some pretence about the fact that she should leave. She mentions things that other people will say, not that she wants to leave. The line about the drink? It’s not literal – her drink hasn’t been spiked. Apparently, this is what women would say to get some plausible deniability. Blame it on the booze and you can pretty much get away with anything out of character – we’ve all done it! By the end of the song, they are singing together in harmony because they both want this thing to happen. So, should we be outraged at this song that depicts date rape and coercion, or should we view it as a woman fighting with feelings that go against what society say is acceptable? Read the full explanation on the Tumblr thread and make up your own mind.

Jingle Bells

What? Jingle Bells – no way! Apparently, the origins of the first performances of the song have extremely racist roots or so claimed a Professor in December 2017. Her research paper stated that the song was originally performed in black face by minstrels back in 1857. Now, I’m not suggesting that isn’t wrong, but should the origins of the performance of a song dictate how we view it now?

There’s also a line of thought that the song is about drag racing sleighs when drunk and doesn’t have anything to do with Christmas – it’s just another wintry song we dig out at this time of year. So how should we view this one, a true Christmas classic, or a song about drunk driving performed by a bunch of racists?

Bringing home the bacon

Okay, moving away from offensive Christmas songs, what about offensive phrases we use? PETA have jumped on the back of a statement made by someone at Swansea University that says using these kind of phrases can offend non-meat eaters. It also suggests phrases like killing two birds with one stone should be amended. So, should we look deeper into the origins of the phrases we use, and if we do, where does it stop?

What about Black Sheep? I’m sure most of us have used the phrase at some point – either we are or know someone who is the black sheep of the family. It even got caught up in a row over whether Baa Baa Black Sheep should be banned in schools due to the negative connotations of the nursery rhyme and the links to slavery. What about ‘no can do’ or ‘long time no see’ – these long and often used phrases have been linked to mockery of Chinese immigrants and Native Americans.

What about phrases depicting violence rather than just racism? Rule of thumb is thought to originate from an English Law from the 1600’s that allowed a man to beat his wife with a stick so long as it wasn’t thicker than his thumb. Cat got your tongue? This is thought to go back to the Navy when someone would be flogged with a cat-o’-nine-tails. The victim was in so much pain they often could not talk, hence the phrase we use today when someone has nothing to say. There is some debate about this one, but still, both phrases depict violence so why aren’t we outraged about these?

Where do we draw the line? Should we stop using these phrases because of their origins, or are we too quick to be offended these days? Are we true racists if we use one of these phrases or sing a song with our kids at bedtime? Or is it a case that our thresholds for these kind of things get reduced over time? For example, even back in the 1980’s inter-racial couples were still seen as taboo. Madness even wrote a song about it – Embarrassment. But now, it’s no big deal. So do we look deeper for things to be offended by and end up picking up every little thing we can jump on? Or are we just a little too sensitive these days?

Leave us a comment and let us know what you think – are things getting out of hand, or are we right to be offended by these things?

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