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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Selected Examples Of Referents For Black People In Children's Rhymes

Edited by Azizi Powell

[Revised June 23, 2017]

This pancocojams post provides selected examples of referents for Black people in English language children's rhymes. The word "rhymes" in this post is a generic term "rhymes" that refers to multiple children's recreational compositions including jump rope rhymes, hand clap rhymes, singing games, parodies, "choosing it' rhymes, chants, children's cheerleader cheers, and the sub-set of cheerleader cheers that I call "foot stomping cheers" but which some people call "steps".

The following referents for Black people are included in these rhyme examples:
Black
Brown
Colored
Soul sister
the spades
-snip-
In addition, this post documents some examples of children's rhymes that include the line "step back jack/your hands are too black" and examples of children's rhymes that include the line "Get your black hands off of me".

Many children's rhymes from the past and the present include what is commonly known as "the n word" -either fully spelled out or given in some euphemistically represented form such as I've done. However, I've chosen not to include any children rhymes that include the "n word" in this compilation.

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The content of this post is presented for folkloric and cultural purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

DISCLAIMER:
This should not be considered a comprehensive listing of English children's rhymes that include references to Black people.

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PANCOCOJAMS EDITOR'S COMMENTS
This post doesn't include any analysis of or comments about these examples except for my general editorial statement and comments about these rhyme examples:
1. [some versions of] "I Love Coffee, I Love Tea" rhymes
2. the phrase "the spades go" [found as an introduction to some "I Love Coffee I Love Tea" rhymes]
3. the line "dark as the Black boy chasing me" [found in some versions of "Miss Susie Had A Steamboat" rhymes]
4. the line "Get your black hands off of me."

These comments will be given after each of those entries.

Generally speaking, these referents can be given as
-a racial identification/ statement of fact, with likely positive connotations (one example: "This brown girl is going to boogie for you.")

or

-as a racial identification/ statement of fact without positive or negative connotations (one example: "I gonna get a black boy to beat your behind".), although this example might also have positive connotations.

or

-as a racial descriptor with negative connotations (examples: "Get your black hands off of me", "Your skin is too black/you look like a monkey on a railroad track", and "darker than the black boy chasing me").

It's my position that some White people and other non-Black people might use Black racial referents with negative connotations in children's rhymes not because they are actually racist, but as a reflection of societal norms and as a way of engaging in risque behavior with little or no real consequences (depending on where, when, and around whom they use those terms.

When Black people use Black racial referents with negative connotations we* are also reflecting societies negative connotations of our race, but I think that the element of engaging in risque behavior is less a factor- or is a different factor than when those referents are use by non-Black people.

*I use that inclusive pronoun although I can't recall myself doing this.

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EXAMPLES OF CHILDREN'S RHYMES THAT INCLUDE REFERENCES TO BLACK PEOPLE
These examples are given under the rhyme name and are presented in no particular order. Multiple examples that are given within each listing are numbered for referencing purposes only.

The Black racial referents with their accompanying noun are given in italics to highlight that referent. Note that the racial referent "White" may also be include in some of these examples.

I. NINETEEN MILES TO BLACKBERRY CROSS
"Nineteen miles to Blackberry Cross,
To see a Black Man ride on a white horse.
The rogue was so saucy he wouldn't come down
To show me the road to the nearest town.
I picked up a turnip and cracked his old crown,
And made him cry turnups all over the town
-Guest, Children's Street Songs, 01 Jul 04 - 03:18 AM

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II. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, CHILDREN TOO
"Ladies and gentlemen, children too
This brown girl
She gonna boogie for you
She gonna turn all around
She gonna wear her dresses up above her knees
She gonna shake her fanny just as much as she please.
I never went to college.
I never went to school.
But when it comes to boogie,
I can boogie like a fool.
You go in out, side to side.
You go in out, side to side.
- Barbara Ray (African American female), memory of childhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the 1950s; collected in November 1996 & in August 2009 (second interview) by Azizi Powell

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2. Partial introduction to The Pointer Sisters' performance of the Jazz song “Wang Dang Doodle” without any instrumental musical accompaniment https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8G6a6bIrmg8
"Thank you!
Here we go:

Walkin down the alley, alley, alley
Shakin your jally, jally, jally.
Swingin your partner, partner, partner.
LADIES, and gentlemen, children too
These brown babies gonna boogie for YOU."...

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III. I LOVE COFFEE I LOVE TEA, (also known as "I Like Coffee I Like Tea" and "Down Down Baby"
1. "This may be classed as un PC now but.this is what we sang ...

I like coffee
I like tea
I like sitting on a black man's knee

we sang it as a skipping song "
-sasbear [Female], http://britishexpats.com/forum/barbie-92/playground-songs-448434/page3/, May 9th 2007, 12:03 am, #39

**
2. "I like coffee
I like coffee I like tea I like sitting on a black mans knee With a one and a two and a three on "three lift your skirt, turn tround quickly, bend over and show your bum< -http://www.odps.org/glossword/index.php?a=term&d=3&t=381, retrieved June 22, 2017
-snip-
The directions given beginning with "with a one..." are given in italics in this example.

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3. Down, down baby
Down, down the roller coaster
Sweet, sweet baby
I'll never let you go
Chimey chimey cocoa pop
Chimey, chimey pow
Chimey, chimey cocoa pop
Chimey, chimey pop
I like coffee, I like tea
I like a colored boy and he likes me
So lets here the rhythm of the hands, (clap, clap) 2x
Let hear the rhythm of the feet (stomp, stomp) 2x
Let's hear the rhythm of the head (ding dong) 2x
Let's hear the rhythm of the hot dog
Let's hear the rhythm of the hot dog
Put em all together and what do you get
(Clap clap, stomp stomp), ding dong, hot Dog!
-Yasmin Hernadez; 2004; memories of New York City {Latino/ African American neighborhood in the 1980s; www.cocojams.com [This was my website. It is no longer active.]

**
4. Down down baby
down down the roller coaster
sweet sweet baby
sweet sweet i love you so
Jimmy Jimmy coco puffs
Jimmy Jimmy pow
Jimmy Jimmy coco puffs
Jimmy Jimmy pow
take a peach
take a plum
take a stick of bubblegum
no peach
no plum
just a stick of bubblegum
I like coffee and i like tea
I like a colored boy and he likes me
So step back whiteboy you don't shine
I'll get my colored boy to beat ya behind
He beat ya high
he beat ya low
he beat you all the way to Mexico
-Aiakya at April 4, 2006; http://blog.oftheoctopuses.com/000518.php. [website no longer available], retrieved by Azizi Powell in 2006.

**
5. "I went to elementary school starting in 1980, in Bloomfield, Connecticut (adjacent to Hartford). The girls (including my sister) did clapping games on the bus everyday it seemed, and when they hung out in the street, etc. Demographic note: my family is White; Blacks (including many Jamaicans) are a majority in the town, and were most of our playmates.

The version to this one went:

I like coffee, I like tea
I like a Black/White boy an' he likes me
So step back White/Black boy, you don't shine
I'll get a Black/White boy to beat your behind."

The girls would switch the race of the boy, depending on who was singing. Sometimes there'd be confusion if a White and a Black girl were playing together, and they'd sort of get jumbled up on that word and try to push their version. Sometimes they would agree on a skin tone based on a previous conversion about who the girl whose "turn" it was actually "likes."
From GUEST,Gibb (, 05 Mar 09 - 12:21 AM, http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=115045&messages=66, Not Last Night But The Night Before-rhyme

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6."Ina Lina Thumbelina
Two times Thumbelina
Iriatchee Liriatchee
I love you
Take a piece take a plum
not a piece of bubblegum
I like coffee I like tea
I like a Black/White boy
And he likes me
So step back White/Black boy
You don't shine
I gotta a Black/White boy
To kick your behind
See that house on top of the hill
Thats where me and my baby gnna leave
We gnna chop some wood
Eat some meat
Come on Babi
Lets go to sleep
- GUEST,17yr old kid at heart:), Children's Street Songs,20 Jul 10 - 11:47 AM
-snip-
I reformatted this example from essay form and all capital letters.

This example reflects the much higher value placed on how fast a person can write something online than whether the comment contains correctly spelled words and the correct use of punctuation or any punctuation.

"gnna"= gonna [going to]

**
Read the above comment from Gibb about the meaning of "Black/White" in these "I Love Coffee I Love Tea" rhymes.

Also, hat tip to Patrick B. Mullen, author of The Man who Adores the Negro: Race and American Folklore https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0252074866 for his comment [on page 171] that females of one race might indicate a racial preference for males of another race "as reflection of her individual preference." In the example that Mullen gives of that rhyme in his book [on page 170-171] two African American sisters chanted "I Love Coffee I Love Tea" and at the same time one girl said "I love a white boy" and the other sister said I love a black boy". Prior to reading this I thought that the [Black/White] referents in these rhyme examples meant that a Black girl and a White girl were chanting this rhyme together and that the Black girl said "I like a Black boy" and the White girl said "I like a White girl".

**
7."Went to a pretty racially mixed elementary school in Georgia in the early 90's. We white girls *definitely* knew Down Down Baby as a story of white aggression:

"I like ice cream
I like tea
I like a white boy and he likes me
So stand back, black boy
You don't shine
I got a white boy to beat ya behind!"

I don't remember ever seeing black girls doing that rhyme, so I don't know if they did it differently. But as a child it made sense to me that the rhyme would assert white dominance. It was just another example of the casual racism we were immersed in in rural Georgia. Even at that age my white friends and I understood that a white boy beating up a black boy for flirting with his girl was the expected norm, not the other way around.
- GUEST,mindy, 28 Feb 2015 Lyr Add: Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes
-snip-
Here's a comment that I wrote in 2008 about contemporary (post 1970s?) racialized examples of "I Love Coffee I Love Tea":
From http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=115045" "Not Last Night But The Night Before", Azizi Powell

" "I Love Coffee I Love Tea" {also known as "I Like Coffee I Like Tea"} handclap rhymes are unique among contemporary English language children's rhymes from the USA because of their references to race. This is a marked change from the "standard" versions of this children's rhyme. The standard version {meaning the version of this rhyme that is usually published in books} contains no references to race and no contentious encounters between the children. But these rhymes are also unique just because of their reference to race, a topic which is seldom mentioned in other children's rhymes that I have collected from {mostly} African American children, teens, and adults over the last twenty years.

Based on the number of examples that have been sent to my website on children's rhymes in the last five years, and also based on the examples that I have read elsewhere on the Internet, these versions of "I Love Coffee I Love Tea" are rather widely known throughout the USA. In each of the examples that I've heard {in Western and Eastern Pennsylvania} and that I've read online, a Black girl rejects the offer of romantic friendship from a White boy and boasts that he doesn't shine*. The Black girl then threatens that White boy by saying she will get a Black boy to beat his behind**. It should be noted that to date, I haven't heard or read any example of this rhyme that contains the pattern of a White girl saying "step back Black boy". I have read one example in which the lines are "Step back White girl, you don't shine/I'mma get a Black boy to beat your behind". It's important to note that I've not found any examples of this "racialized" version of "I Love Coffee I Love Tea" in any off-line publication {books, magazines}, though examples of this version may be included in children's folklore journals.

The pattern for this "racialized" version of "I Love Coffee I Love Tea" indicates to me that it originated among Black people. That said, I've read online examples of this book that appear to have been recited by White children since they use the racial referent "colored boy", a racial referent that has been retired by African Americans for forty years or so {except for its retention in names of some organizations, especially the NAACP}. However, I that conclusion may not always be valid. For instance, I received an example of this rhyme that used the term "colored boy" from a Latino woman who indicated that she remembered the rhyme from her childhood in a Black/Latino borough of New York City in the 1990s.

I don't think that the use of the old referent {"colored"} means that the examples are from the time when that term was used as a group or individual referent by African Americans. Were that the case, it seems to me that some examples of that rhyme would have been included or referenced in books of American children's rhymes that were published during those decades or since. That doesn't appear to be the case.

I believe that the racial referents that are widely found in these contemporary versions of "I Love Coffee, I Love Tea" rhymes reflect & document the racial tensions that were {are being?} experienced in newly integrated schools and/or other newly integrated social settings. For more commentary and examples of this rhymes, visit here.

* My interpretation of "don't shine" is that the girl is saying that the boy doesn't measure up to her standards; he's not someone whose personality or physical being shines brightly.

** "Beat your behind" means "fight you"; "beat you up" "
-snip-
Since I wrote that comment, I've learned that the racial referents in versions of "I Love Coffee" aren't as unique as I thought they were. That said, with regard to another example of race in "I Love Coffee" rhymes, I believe that "I like sitting on a black man's knee" are older examples of this rhyme which may be "localized" in the United Kingdom.

Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2012/01/racialized-versions-of-i-like-coffee-i.html for a few other racialized versions of "I Like Coffee I Like Tea" rhymes.

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IV. MISS SUSIE HAD A STEAMBOAT
"Kids Dont jump rope to this song im in the fourth grade and we just sing it we dont do any movements to the song
Miss Suzie had a steam boat
The Steamboat had a bell
Mrs.Suzie went to heaven
The steamboat went to

Hello Operator
Give me number 9
if you disconnect me
I'll kick you from

Behind the refrigerator
there was a piece of glass
Miss Suzie sat upon it
And broke her little

Ask me no more questions
ill tell you no more lies
The boys are in the bathroom
Zipping down their

Flies are in the meadow
Bees are in the grass
The boys and girls
Are kissing in the

D-A-R-K D-A-R-K
Darker than the ocean
Darker than the sea
Darker than the black boy
That's chasing after me

Dark is like a movie
A movie is like a show
A show is like a T.V. set
And that is all I...

Know my dad is a robber
I know my mom is a spy
I know that I'm the little brat that
Told the F.B.I.

My mom gave me a nickel
My dad gave me a dime
My sis' gave me a girlfriend
And I know she's is witch

she made me wash the dishes
she made me wash the floor
she made me wash her underwear
So I kicked her out the door

I kicked her over London
I kicked her over France
I kicked her to Hawaii"
Guest, http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=90418, RE: Folklore: Lady's alligator purse? Her own thread, 27 Feb 11 - 01:54 PM
-snip-
I reformatted this example to separate its strung together verses.

The example "dark as the Black boy chasing me" [which is usually found in some versions of "Miss Susie Had A Steamboat"] is probably has a negative racial connotation for non-Black people that it doesn't have for Black people. Also, the "dark as the Black boy chasing me" line probably doesn't have the same scary or titillating meanings for Black chanters as might have for White chanters.

Also, I don't think that any skin color tone (as in "dark skin" or "light skin" Black people) has any relevance to this particular children's rhyme.

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V. I AM A PRETTY LITTLE GIRL
[variant title: I AM A SECOND GRADER]
"Zing Zing Zing
at the bottom of the sea.
I am a little __ second grade*
as pretty as can __ be be. {"___" indicates one beat before recitation begins again}.
And all the boys around my house
go crazy over __ me me.

My boyfriend's name is __ Yellow.
He comes from Ala__bama
with 25 toes
and a pickle on his nose
and this is how the story goes.
One day I was ah __ walkin
I saw my boyfriend __ talking
to a very pretty girl
with cherry pie curls
And this is what she said
"I L-O-V-E __ love you."
"I K-I-S-S __ kiss you."
"I A-D-O-R-E __ adore you"
So S-T-O-P. STOP!
1-2-3-4
Get your black hands off of me!
-Diarra, K'azsa, and Michelle, Fort Pitt Elementary School, Pittsburgh, Pa, 2004; collected by Azizi Powell, 2004
-snip-
*"Second grad" = "second grader", the girls' year in elementary school
"1,2,3,4" is usually given as the rhyming phrase "1,2,3".
-snip-
In April 2010, I collected the same rhyme from two 9 year old African American girls (Takeya and Alexus) who live in the same neighborhood as Fort Pitt Elementary School (now titled Fort Pitt Accelerated Learning Academy). When the rhyme called for the girls to give their grades, one girl chanted "I am a second grader" and the other girl chanted "I am a third grader". Both girls said the "get your black hands off of me" line."

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VI. STEP BACK, JACK (YOUR HANDS ARE TOO BLACK)
Note: This couplet could be a stand alone rhyme, but is often found in other children's rhymes such as "I Love Coffee I Love Tea".

1. "down down baby down by the rollercoaster
sweet sweet baby, I'll never let you go
shimmy shimmy coco pop, shimmy shimmy rah!
shimmy shimmy coco pop, shimmy shimmy rah!
I like candy, I like tea, I like a little boy
and he likes me.
so step off jack, your hands are black
your looking like a monkey on a rail road track
To the front to the back to the side by side
To the front to the back to the side by side,
Ladies and gentlemen children too
this old lady's gonna boogie for you
she's gonna turn around
touch the ground
boogie boogie boogie till her pants fall down!!!

this version i remember from when i was little..i loved it!!"
-GUEST,guest..jenna, Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes, 01 Oct 10 - 04:12 PM

**
2. "Lol. I'm a guy and I remember Black girls saying this in the 70s in Tx. They said "Step back Jack, your hands too black. Looking like a monkey on a railroad track"
-GUEST,Jj Peterson, Down Down Baby-Race in Children's Rhymes 26 Mar 16 - 04:45 PM

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VII. I'LL BE
"I'll be. be
Walking down the street,
Ten times a week.
Un-gawa. Un-gawa {baby}
This is my power.
What is the story?
What is the strike?
I said it, I meant it.
I really represent it.
Take a cool cool Black to knock me down.
Take a cool cool Black to knock me out.
I'm sweet, I'm kind.
I'm soul sister number nine.
Don't like my apples,
Don't shake my tree.
I'm a Castle Square Black
Don't mess with me."
-John Langstaff, Carol Langstaff Shimmy Shimmy Coke-Ca-Pop!, A Collection of City Children's Street Games & Rhymes {Garden City, New York, Double Day & Co; p. 57; 1973}
-snip-
"What is the story"/"What is the strike" = "What's happening". "What's up?".
"Take a cool cool Black to knock me down" = It would take a cool, cool Black [person] to knock me down. "Cool" is used in its vernacular sense and means "hip" (up to date with the latest street culture and also "unruffled", in control of her or his emotions.
"Castle Square" is probably a neighborhood or a housing development [a housing project] within a neighborhood known as "Castle Square".

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VIII. UNGAWA, WE GOT THE POWA
1. "soul sister number nine stuck it to me one more time
said un, ungawa, we got the power
said un, ungawa we got the power
little sunny walker walking down the street
she don't know what to do
so she jump in front of me
and said go on girl do your thing,
do your thing,do your thing,
said go on girl do your thing, do your thing, stop!
-snip-
ayraness, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWbVAbCwc_M, This video is entitled "serbiiis" and is a poor visual quality video of two girls doing hand clapping routine in a car; on Sep 21, 2009

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2. "My husband actually taught my daughter's a song that he remembered as a child in the late 60s/early 70s.

Hey you, over there, with the nappy nappy hair.
My back is achin' my pants too tight, my bootie shakin' from the left to right
M' Gowa, Black Power, yo' mama needs a shower.
Destroy, little boys, soul sister number nine, sock it to me one more time.
Mmm! Mmm! Mmm!"
GUEST,Shamiere, http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=4300, Children's Street Songs, 24 Mar 04 - 02:25 PM

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IX. TWO LIPS
[with introductory phrase: "The spades go"]
1. "I remember parts of this song:

The spades go two lips together
tie them together
bring back my love to me.

What is the me-ee-eening
of all these flow-er-er-ers
they tel the sto-or-or-y,
the story of love,
from me to you.

I saw the ship sail away,
it sailed three years and a day,
my love is far far away,
and I love him so, oh yes I do.

My heart goes bump ba de dump bump,
bump ba de dump bump,
over my love for you.

You are my one and only,
I love you passionately,
Source: Guest, susan; http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=81350 I'm Rubber . You're Glue: Children's Rhymes

**
2.
"Nobody has mentioned my favorite one, which had a more complicated clapping pattern than most of the rest:

The spades go:
Two lips together, tie them forever
Bring back my love to me
What is the me-ee-eaning
Of all these flo-ow-owers
They tell the sto-o-ory
The story of love
From me to you

My [someone] bought a new car
He painted it red with a star
He crashed it into a rock
And now he’s dead, oh yes sirree

(and lots of other verses I don’t remember)"
-DemiGoddess, https://kateharding.net/2009/10/02/miss-lucy-had-friday-fluff/, October 2, 2009 at 5:12 pm
-snip-
Here's a comment that I wrote in a 2012 pancocojams post https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-real-meaning-of-spades-go-space-go.html "The REAL Meaning Of "The Spades Go" & "The Space Go" In Playground Rhymes":
"I believe that most children who chant rhymes that begin with the phrase "the spades go" didn't in the past and don't currently attribute any meaning whatsoever to those particular words. Instead, children say those words, if not the entire rhyme, by rote memory and focus more on the rhythm and the performance activity.

That said, it's my position that, early on, when a specific meaning was given to the introductory phrase the "spades go", that phrase meant "(This is the way) Black people go (say or do this rhyme). Unlike the idiom "calling a spade a spade"*, no pejorative connotations were/are attributed to the words "the spades go" in children's rhymes. Saying "the spades go" was a way of attributing the words of those rhymes or the way the rhymes were performed to Black people (or more specifically, to Black girls). That attribution lent authenticity to those rhymes and/or to their performance activities. That was because Black girls were (and still are) considered to be the arbiters of "the real way" that those songs or those hand clap rhymes were/are supposed to be sung, or chanted and performed...

[Furthermore] Black girls were/are considered to be the sources of many of these rhymes, or were/are considered to be the "coolest" or "hippest" examples of how those rhymes should be performed. This same dynamic can be found in the use of introductory phrases as "the Black people say" or "the Black people sing" in vaudeville songs. And this same dynamic can be found in past and current attitudes that mainstream American (i.e. White America) had/has about Black people being the "go to" population when it comes to learning how to do popular R&B/Hip Hop dances."....
-snip-
This comment was reformatted by me for clearer readability.

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X.ET FROM OUTER SPACE
1. ET. ET.
ET from outer space.
He has an ugly face.
Sittin in a rocket
eatin very tocket
watchin the clock go
Tick tock
tick tock shawally wally
ABCDEFG
You betta get your black hands offa me
You gotta smoooth cho
You gotta smoooth cho
You gotta smooth, smooth, smooth, smooth, smooth. Now Freeze!
(alternative last line: My mama said "Black eye peas").
-Kiera, African American girl, 8 years old, (Pleasantville, New Jersey) and Kion, African American male, 6 years old, (Pleasantville, New Jersey), 11/8/2008l collected by Azizi Powell
-snip-
"You gotta smoooth cho" is also found in some "Miss Sue From Alabama" rhymes as "take a smooth shot".

**
2. E.T.::clap clap::
E.T.::clap clap::
E.T. from outer space
he had an ugly face
sittin in a rocker eatin betty crocker
watchin the clock go tick tock
tick tock she walla wala
tick tock she walla wala
A. B.C.D. E. F.G.
YOU BETTA CET CHO BLACK HANDS OFFA ME
I gota smooth shaa(?)
I gota smooth shaa(?)
I gota smooth smooth smoth smooth shaa(?)
and then u say sumthin like ya name and then go FREEZE! LOL!
-SharmaineB: http://bn-in.facebook.com/notes.php?id=505682703&_fb_noscript=1 “HandClaps Throwbacks”; posted 2007; retrieved 9/15.2009
-snip-
"smooth shea" probably means "smooth shot". People probably did a sliding side to side movement while chanting that line.

**
3.
ET
ET from outer space.
He had an ugly face.
Sitting in a rocket.
Eating chocolate.
Watching soap operas
All day long.
A B C D E F G
Get your black hands off of me.
Now freeze!
-Naijah S.; (African American female, 9 years old; Hazelwood section of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; January 14, 2011; Collected by Azizi Powell 1/14/2011
-snip-
[Note written January 2011] While waiting for others to come to an African storytelling session that I was commissioned to do for children of members of Zeta Phi Beta, Sorority Inc. a historically Black sorority, I took the opportunity to collect rhyme examples from a little girl who had arrived early.
Naijah recited "ET" without my asking for it by name. She said that the "ABCDEFG" part is used in another rhyme which she later recited. (Read "I Am A First Grader" in this Hand clap rhyme series.

*I said to Naijah that I heard that "get your Black hands off of me line before in other rhymes and I
wondered if if meant that people were ashamed of being Black. Naijah looked shocked and said "I enjoy my heritage".
-snip-
I've never heard of or read any children's rhyme with the line "Get your White hands off of me" or "Get your brown hands off of me". In spite of (then) nine year old Naijah's response to my question, I still believe that "black" in the line "Get your Black hands off of me" reflects some Black people's continued use of "black" as an insult.

To provide some background to some Black children's use of "black" as an insult, in 2005-2006 I worked as a substitute teacher at a predominately (99.9%) African American elementary school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania {Fort Pitt school]. On several occasions, I had to stop arguments between two Black students in which one student called the other student "Blackie". And, sometimes, the person calling the student "Blackie" was darker than the student that was being addressed by that term.

My daughter who was a teacher at that school, shared with me that some newly enrolled students at that school from Somalia, East Africa were being taunted by some African American students at that school because of their dark skin color.

****
XI. EENY MEENY SYSALEENY (also known as "Take A Peach Take A Plum"]
Hi I live in East Harlem in New York and hand games are very much alive.
Eeny Meeny
Sys a leeny,
ooh aah tumble leeny,
ochy Cochy Liver achy
I Love you.
Take a peach
take a plum
not a stick of bubble gum.
No peach no plum
just a stick of bubble gum.
I saw you with your boyfriend last night.
I looked through the window.
Nosey.
I ate a bag of cookies.
Greedy.
I didn't take a bath.
Dirty.
I jumped out the window .
Now I know you crazy.
I like icecream
I like tea
I like the color boys
and they like me
so step off white boy
you don't shine,
I'm gonna get my boyfriend
to kick your behind.
He'll kick you up,
he'll kick you down,
he'll kick you all around the town.

(very racial driven at the end I know)
-Guest, KLC (East Harlem, New York, New York) ; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=63097 "Folklore: Do kids still do clapping rhymes?" ; July 10, 2008
-snip-
Here's is part of the response that KLC posted on that Mudcat discussion thread to my request that she provide demographical information about who plays this rhyme and other rhymes she shared:
"The children that play these games range from 5 - 12 years old. Both boys and girls play these games but girls are more into it and know a lot more hand games then the boys. The children that I see playing these games are Hispanic, African American, Carribean, Caucasian and Asian because that is the population that I serve at my program."
****
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Visitor comments are welcome.

Conceptualizing, Collecting, & Sharing Contemporary Black Children's Rhymes

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post presents statements about why and how I collect, document, study, and share English language children's recreational material.

The word "rhymes" in this post is a generic term "rhymes" that refers to multiple children's recreational compositions including jump rope rhymes, hand clap rhymes, singing games, parodies, "choosing it' rhymes, chants, children's cheerleader cheers, and the sub-set of cheerleader cheers that I call "foot stomping cheers" but which some people call "steps".

Since I began informally collecting children's recreational rhymes in 1985, I've been most interested in Black children's rhymes -particularly contemporary (post 1960s) African American children's rhymes. I'm most interested in this sub-set of children's recreational rhymes in part because I'm African American and also because it appears to me that there has been very little collection, documentation, and sharing of those sub-sets of children's recreational material. And, if I were to drill down even farther, "foot stomping cheers" are the types of African American children's rhymes that I really most interested in.

I've recently published this post in which I critique the analysis of a children's parody that appears to be widely known among African American children and non-African American children: https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2017/06/were-african-americans-originally.html "Were African Americans The Originally Composers Of "I Believe I Can Fly" Parodies?"

This evening I happened upon this second online excerpt that provides a number of analysis of contemporary African American children's rhymes: "Children's Rhymes from 1971 to 2001" in The Man who Adores the Negro: Race and American Folklore by Patrick B. Mullen, https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0252074866.
While I very much agree with Mullen's conclusion that [certain] "play activities [can be] "part of the process of racial and gender identity formation", I very much disagree with some conclusions that that researcher/writer made about certain rhymes that I'm very familiar with. I believe that Muller relied too heavily on literal meanings and gave far fetched explanations for specific words and for famous fictional and real characters who were named within those rhymes. I wondered if Muller had paid too little attention to the possibility of rhyming word play as the reason for those words and for some of those character placements. Also, it seems to me that Muller ascribed political and/or sociological meanings to specific rhymes in general and to specific lines or verses in those rhymes although the rhyme's contributors (informants) didn't indicate those were the meanings of those rhymes and when it didn't at all appear to me that those meanings were warranted.

Reading that excerpt led me to this decision to write what it is that I believe is important about how and why I collect, document, and share children's recreational material. I do so for my own clarification and for those who might be interested.

Recognizing that anyone can disagree with me, and that different people who are interested in the same subjects may have different methodologies and interests, here's my list of what I consider when I'm collecting, documenting, studying, and sharing children's recreational rhymes, with special attention to African American rhymes (i.e. rhymes that I directly collected from African Americans and/or have collected online and elsewhere which are either attributed to African Americans or are said to be performed by African Americans and/or which meet certain textual structures, textual content, are percussive, and -usually- have some performance activities)

[I've numbered these points although they might not be in any real order of preference.)

1. Text and performance activity

I'm interested in documenting the text (words), the performance activity (if any), and as much demographic information as I can [including race, ethnicity (i.e. Latino/a or any other ethnicity) nation, city, state, neighborhood, age when recited or learned/heard this rhyme, age range who performed this rhyme, year or decade when first recited this rhyme, and gender (girls only or boys only?).

Also, with regard to the rhyme, I'm very interested in document the vernacular meanings of the text for those who are sharing that example, and their meanings of any topical elements in that example. I'm also interested in documenting how the rhyme contributor learned that rhyme, and if she or he knows any other versions of that rhyme.

With regard to the performance activity, I'm interested in documenting whether the rhyme is a sung/chanted in unison or in a call & response pattern. And if it is performed in a call & response pattern, I'm interested in documented what form of call & response pattern is used.

I'm also interested in knowing the tune and tempo of the rhyme. When I collected rhyme examples face to face, I taped the examples. When I collect text only rhyme examples online, if the words and the textual structure are the same or similar as an example that I already know (from direct collection), I can assume that the tune and tempo are the same, but I can't be certain of that. I check YouTube to see if I can find a video (or less often, a sound file) of that rhyme, and often YouTube has examples. Of course,
that still doesn't mean that the text only online example that I found has the same tune and performance activity. But it's likely that it does.

2. Textual structure

I'm interested in how the rhyme is written (structured) i.e. the rhyming pattern, whether the rhyme is made up of strung together verses that are often unrelated and are often found as "floaters" in certain other rhymes, or could be used as standalone (independent rhymes).

Certain types of rhymes (traditionally*) have their own characteristic textual structure. For instance, "Foot stomping cheers" have a textual structure and a performance style that is distinct from hand clap rhymes, jump rope rhymes, other cheerleader cheers, and other categories of children's recreational rhymes. Foot stomping cheers "traditionally"* have a signature group call & consecutive soloist response structure. "Group call" means that the entire group (or the group minus the first soloist) is heard first. "Consecutive soloist"' means that in that cheer is immediately repeated from the beginning so that every member of the squad can an opportunity to be the soloist. Each soloist's performance is the same length. Some foot stomping cheers have several group calls followed by brief responses by the soloist before the soloist has a somewhat longer verbal and/or movement response. Other foot stomping cheers have one or two group calls followed by the soloist's verbal and/or movement response.

*By traditional, I mean the way that foot stomping cheers were performed by African American girls in the late 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, and perhaps also in the early 2000s to dste. I've noticed changes in the way that these cheers are performed as they become more mainstream (i.e. are performed by White or predominately White cheerleader squads.)

3. Dating rhyme examples, and ascertaining the possible source/s for specific rhymes and

I'm interested in finding early or the earliest example of rhymes and I'm interested in comparing those early rhyme examples to other early (and later children's rhymes) as well as to recorded songs, poems, folk sayings, television ads, etc.

I'm interested in comparing the performance activity of contemporary rhymes with the "old school" performance activities such as "show me your motion circle singing games".

4. Examine Societal influences on Rhymes

I'm interested in exploring how other aspects of African American culture influenced/influence children's recreational rhymes. For instance, I believe that foot stomping cheers were greatly influenced by "stomp and Shake cheerleading, Funk music, and Go Go music, all of which were developing around the same time and around the same geographical area.

I also believe that racialized rhymes such as the "I Love Coffee I Love Tea" versions with their "Step back white boy/You don't shine/ Imma get a black boy to beat your behind" verses were/are influenced by the nation's racial tensions and (also possibly) with experiences with integration in schools.
-snip-
June 22, 2017 [11:17 AM]
Here's an excerpt of my comments in this 2012 pancocojams post: https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2012/01/racialized-versions-of-i-like-coffee-i.html Racialized Versions Of "I Like Coffee I Like Tea"
"I believe that children's playground rhymes often reflect the mores of the society in which children live, move, and have their being. Therefore, girls (or boys) who recite rhymes with racial content are usually echoing what they have absorbed from society in myriad (often unconscious) ways. Just as I don't think that every mention of race or ethnicity is racist, I don't think that every mention of race in children's playground rhymes is racist."...
-end of addition-

5. taboo words, "dirty" content

I examine whether the rhyme has profanity and/or other taboo words, other risque content, and I am interested in how the contributors describe these examples- for instance a statement like "My mother would have whipped my butt if she saw how I was shaking my hips when I said that rhyme" or "If my mother knew that I said that rhyme I wouldn't have been allowed out for years".

6. Rhyme types & rhyme family

I document the category of rhyme that the example is (if possible, based on the contributor's comments, and/ or based on its performance activity). I also note what "family" of rhyme that example belongs to (based on its words, textual structure, tune, and performance activity).

7. Collect multiple versions of each rhyme

I'm interested in collecting multiple examples of each rhyme to document how that rhyme is the same or different within populations (including the same race and other races/ethnicities, age groups, and perhaps also genders) at the same time within the same city, state, nation, and/or within other cities, states, nations.

I'm also interested in reading comments about what the contributors think their version of the rhyme is about.

8. Continuity and change

I'm interested in examining multiple versions of a particular rhyme to ascertain if that rhyme's text, textual structure, tune, tempo, and/or performance activity has remained the same over time or how it has changed within the same population and with different populations at different times.

9. Values and Concerns

I'm interested in studying (analyzing) the text of a rhyme or families or rhymes to consider what values and/or concerns that rhyme or those rhymes may be expressing. For instance, I believe that many "foot stomping cheers" promote the twin values of being "hard" (tough, assertive, able to defend yourself against anyone who might attack you verbally or physically) and also "sexy" (physically attractive and stylish in the latest Black urban street "fly girl" fashions).

10. Rhymes as opportunities to play, to be creative, and to excel

I'm interested in documenting the fact that children play because they like to play. Rhymes provide opportunity to develop, reinforce, and enhance children's creativity. Rhymes also provide opportunities to learn and reinforce social skills and gross motor skills while having fun. Children performing hand clap routines or jumping single rope or double Dutch, or doing step routines are memorizing words or quickly thinking of new responses, or new rhyming lines that fit the rhythm of a foot stomping cheer while at the same time remaining on the beat of a synchronized, choreographed foot stomp routine. Mastering these elements is work, but it's also enjoyable- and also is a way for children to learn self-confidence and gain status if they do well. Sometimes -maybe a lot of the time- the performance (which is often play acting in the dramatic sense) is more important than the words.

11. Preparing for adulthood

I'm interested in how certain rhymes in particular say about adult roles and adult experiences, and since most rhymes are performed by girls, I'm particularly interested in the ways that rhymes's words and performance activities help prepare girls and teens to be women.

12. Influence and impact on Black people

I'm interested in whether and how specific rhymes help Black people cope and confront racism. For instance, although it's not a contemporary example I believe the words of the African American singing game"Johnny Cuckoo" were composed to help Black children learn how to develop self-esteem that would help them (us) in the withstand verbal racial attacks. I'm specifically thinking of the "Johnny Cuckoo" being told "You are too black and dirty" and then answering "I'm just as good as you are".

13. Giving credit where credit is due

I'm interested in helping to ensure that African Americans and other Black people get credit for recreational material that we originated or adapted.

Too often African Americans' creative products are appropriated and our contributions are denied or minimized. I see that happening already with the foot stomping cheers.

****
I may add to this list in the future. Thanks for reading!

****
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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

References To "The FBI" In Children's Rhymes Before The "I Believe I Can Fly I Got Shot By The FBI" Parodies

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post documents various examples of American children's rhymes that include references to the FBI that were known before the children's parodies of R. Kelly's 1996 inspirational song "I Believe I Can Fly".

The oldest children's parody example of "I Believe I Can Fly" that I've collected (directly and via the internet) is from 1999. Here's that example:

I believe I can fly.
I got chased by the FBI. (or "I'm being chased by the FBI").
It's all because of those collards greens
that I ate with those chicken wings.
I believe I can fly.
See me running through that open door.
I believe I can fly.
I believe I can fly.
-African American boys & girls (ages 7-12), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, collected by Azizi Powell, 1999

In contrast, the earliest example that I've found online of a children's rhyme that mentions "the FBI" is from the mid to late 1940s. That example is given below as A #1.

Note that according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Bureau_of_Investigation, the United States government department that is now know as the FBI was created in July 26, 1908. However, that department wasn't named "Federal Bureau of Investigation" (FBI) until 1935 and therefore no children's rhymes with that acronym could have existed before 1935.

****
The content of this post is presented for folkloric, cultural, and recreational purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.
-snip-
Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/10/childrens-parodies-of-i-believe-i-can_2.html and https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2017/06/were-african-americans-originally.html for pancocojams posts that include examples of "I Believe I Can Fly" parodies.

****
DISCLAIMER:
This post is not meant to be a comprehensive compilation of children's rhymes (songs) that include a reference to "the FBI". Please add to this compilation in the comment section below, especially if you know any children's rhymes that mention "the FBI" in other rhymes besides those given in this post. Don't forget to add demographic information (particularly decade and geographical location such as city & state). Thanks!

****
"THE FBI" MENTIONED IN THE CHILDREN'S RHYMES
These examples are given in rhyme sub-categories and are numbered within those categories. The examples within those sub-titles are given in no particular order.

When an entire long rhyme is given, the verse that includes "The FBI" is written in italics to highlight that particular verse.

These sub-categories are presented in order according to the number of examples with "the FBI" references that I have found (to date), with "the rhyme/song family" with the most examples given first.

A. I WOKE UP SUNDAY MORNING" RHYMES (also known as "Roaches and Bedbugs", "The Wiffer Woofer" and other titles)

From http://rolandanderson.se/bedbugs.php
Numbers #1 and #2 in this sub-category

Pancocojams Editor's Note:
I'm prefacing these two "The FBI" examples with the following excerpt from the book Bald Mountain Childhood by Roland Anderson:
"Centered around Mary Pawlak, this is an autobiographic, biographic and historical description of growing up in a Carpatho-Rusyn family on Bald Mountain near Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania during the 1920's and 30's.

[...]

Verses [of "Beetles And The Bedbugs"] similar to the ones that Mary recite occur in innumerable versions of folk songs popular during the early 1900's. A version that appears to be one of the oldest concerns the trepidations of a vagrant in New York City. That the song was also popular in the Wilkes-Barre and the surrounding Luzerne County area is attested to by the fact that there is a version of the New York City song that has been modified so that it refers to Luzerne County. The verses are included in the song "I don't want no more of this army life" which was popular during World War II. This comic description of army life was sung by Bugs Bunny in a Warner Brothers cartoon film during the war years. This version of the song is frequently resurrected when the United States engages in new conflicts. Additionally, the verses about the bedbugs playing baseball are quite popular and often occur in songs built up from bits and pieces taken from a number of sources. Below are a few of the folk songs in which contain verses similar to the one that Mary recalls."...

[Pancocojams Editor: I've numbered these selected examples from that book.]

"THE BEETLES AND THE BEDBUGS

1. This song version evidently comes from Oregon. The secret agent occurring in a verse in "Bedbugs and Skeeters" above, has here become a german and hints at a WWII origin

My mother was a German
My father was a spy
And if you don't believe me
Just call the FBI

Someone, likely wanting to keep the song up-to-date during the 1950's, replaced the German spy verse above with the following:

My mother is a Russian
my father is a spy
And if you don't believe me,
just ask the FBI"
-snip-
Roland Anderson indicates that the German spy verse is from the 1940s [World War II]

****
3. From https://kilowan.wordpress.com/2006/09/02/skeeters-and-the-bed-bugs/
{Comment] A fellow camper
September 12, 2006 at 11:04 am
How I learned it:

"I woke up Sunday morning
and looked up on the wall
the beatles and the bed bugs
were playing a game of ball

The score was seven-nothing
The beatles were ahead
The beatles hit a home run
and knocked me out of bed

I’m singing
eenie-meenie and a minie moe (oh oh oh)
catch a whipper-whopper by the toe (oh oh oh)
and if he hollers hollers hollers
let him go (oh oh oh)
eenie-meenie and a minie moe

I went downstairs to breakfast
I ordered ham and eggs
I ate so many eggs
The ham rolled down my legs!

I’m singing…

My mother was a German
My father was a spy
And if you don’t believe me
Just call the FBI

I’m singing…

I fell into the sewer
That’s where I plan to die
Some people call it murder
I call it sewer-cide

I’m singing…"

****
4. From http://maripai-songbook.tripod.com/songlyrics.html http://maripai-songbook.tripod.com/songlyrics.html
"I Woke Up Sunday Morning
I woke up Sunday morning, and looked upon the wall
The skeeters and the bedbugs were playing a game of ball
The score was three to nothing, the skeeters were ahead
The bedbugs hit a home run, and knocked me out of bed

Chorus:
I’m singing, eener meener and a miner mo
Catch a whipper whopper by the toe,
And if he hollers, hollers, hollers, don’t let him go
Im singing, eener meener and a miner mo

I went downstairs for breakfast, I ordered ham and eggs,
I ate so many pickles, the juice ran down my legs
My mother gave me a nickel, my father gave me a dime
My sister gave me a boyfriend, who kissed me all the time
My mom’s a secret agent, my father is a spy
And I’m the little big mouth, that told the FBI
"

****
5. From http://dragon.sleepdeprived.ca/songbook/songs5/S5_79.htm The Whipper Whopper Song (Eener Meener); contributed by Sue Moore
"I woke up Sunday morning,
I looked up on the wall,
The beetles and the bedbugs
Were playing a game of ball.

The score was 6 to nothing,
The beetles were ahead,
The bedbugs hit a homerun
And knocked me out of bed.
Chorus:

I'm singing - Eeny meeny and a miney mo, mo, mo, mo
Catch a Whipper Whopper by his toe,
And if he HOLLERS, HOLLERS, HOLLERS, let him go.
I'm singing - Eeny meeny and a miney mo, mo, mo, mo
I went downstairs for breakfast,
I ordered ham and eggs,
I ate so many eggs
The ham ran down my legs.

I went outside to play,
I looked up in the sky,
I saw a little bluebird,
It poo-pooed in my eye.

My mother is a butcher,
My dad's a side of beef
And I'm the little hot dog
That runs around the street.

My father is a crook,
My mother is a spy,
And I'm the little big-mouth
That told the FBI.


I fell into the sewer,
And this is where I'll die,
Some people call it suicide,
I call it sewer-cide.
-snip-
6. This verse is found in another example of this rhyme that was contributed by Aubrey:
"My mother is a banker,
My father is a spy,
And I'm the little big mouth,
Who told the FBI."

****
7. From http://playgroundjungle.com/2009/12/i-woke-up-saturday-morning.html I Woke Up Saturday Morning
Example posted by Paul Kyle:

I woke up Sunday Morning
I looked up on the wall
The beetles and the bedbugs
were playing a game of ball

The score was 6 to nothing
The beetles were ahead
The bedbugs hit a home run
and knocked me out of bed

I’m singin’, Eenie-Meenie and uh, Minie-Moe
Catch a tigger tiger, by his toe
If he hollers hollers, let him go
I’m singin’, Eenie-Meenie and uh, Minie-Moe

I went downstairs for breakfast
I ordered ham and eggs
I ate so many eggs
the ham rolled down my legs.

I’m singin’, Eenie-Meenie and a, Minie-Moe
Catch a tigger-tiger, by his toe
If he hollers-hollers, let him go
I’m singin’, Eenie-Meenie and a, Minie-Moe.

My father is a baker
my mother is a spy
and if you don’t believe me
go ask the FBI

-snip-
8. From the Comment section of that post:
Suzy January 18, 2010
"Well, I have heard this as "the cooties and the bedbugs".

[...]

My father is a commie
my mother is a spy
and I'm the little hotdog
that told the FBI
".

Midwest during the 1980's but I heard them from my dad who grew up in Iowa in the 50's and 60's.”

**
9. Patrick, July 13, 2016
"So many different versions. I lived in Kansas City, and a new neighbor from “who-knows-where” taught it this way (but my mother banned us from singing it any more.):

My mother was a commie
my father was a spy,
I’m the little “blankty-blank”
that told the FBI."

****
10. From http://www.allthelyrics.com/lyrics/childrens_songs/eenie_meenie-lyrics-1138582.html
"I woke up Sunday morning
And looked up on the wall
The cooties and the bedbugs
Were having a game of ball.

The score was six-to-nothing,
The cooties were ahead.
The cooties hit a home run
And knocked me out of bed!

[Chorus]

I'm singin
Eenie meenie and a-miny-mo
Boom boom boom
Catch a whifferwhaffer by the toe
Boom boom boom
And if he holler hollers let him go
Boom boom boom
Eenie-meenie and a-miny-mo

My father gave me a nickel
My mother gave me a dime
My sister has a boyfriend
Who looks like Frankenstein

[Chorus]

My father is a lawyer,
My mother is a spy
Me and my big mouth
I told thee FBI!


[Chorus]

I went downstairs for breakfast
I ordered ham and eggs
I ate so many eggs
That the yolk ran down my leg

[Chorus]

I went into the sewer
And that is how I died
They didn't call it murder
They called it "sewer-side!"

submitted by guest"

****
11. [with note] From http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=312
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Roaches and Bedbugs?
From: GUEST,cosmos42
Date: 21 Aug 15 - 10:15 PM

"May I repeat that you people are amazing?

I have a list of songs which I need to add to my songbook, some of which I don't have the words for. Guess what song I added to that list yesterday.

Catch A Wiffer Woffer!

It's now stuck in my head, but it's worth it.

Another verse which we used:

My mother is an Indian
My father is a spy
And if you don't believe me
I'll call the FBI"

****
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Roaches and Bedbugs?
From: GUEST,cosmos42
Date: 21 Aug 15 - 10:26 PM

"And, skimming other internet songbooks, it seems like most peoples' mothers were something that made more sense than "an Indian" - a German, a Russian, or even a banker or martian."

****
B. "MISS SUSIE HAD A STEAMBOAT" ("MISS LUCY HAD A STEAMBOAT") RHYMES
#1. From http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=90418
Subject: RE: Folklore: Lady's alligator purse? Her own thread
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Feb 11 - 01:54 PM

Kids Dont jump rope to this song im in the fourth grade and we just sing it we dont do any movements to the song
Miss Suzie had a steam boat
The Steamboat had a bell
Mrs.Suzie went to heaven
The steamboat went to

Hello Operator
Give me number 9
if you disconnect me
I'll kick you from

Behind the refrigerator
there was a piece of glass
Miss Suzie sat upon it
And broke her little

Ask me no more questions
ill tell you no more lies
The boys are in the bathroom
Zipping down their

Flies are in the meadow
Bees are in the grass
The boys and girls
Are kissing in the

D-A-R-K D-A-R-K
Darker than the ocean
Darker than the sea
Darker than the black boy
That's chasing after me

Dark is like a movie
A movie is like a show
A show is like a T.V. set
And that is all I...

Know my dad is a robber
I know my mom is a spy
I know that I'm the little brat that
Told the F.B.I.


My mom gave me a nickel
My dad gave me a dime
My sis' gave me a girlfriend
And I know she's is witch

she made me wash the dishes
she made me wash the floor
she made me wash her underwear
So I kicked her out the door

I kicked her over London
I kicked her over France
I kicked her to Hawaii
Where she did the Hoola Dance!

-snip-
I reformatted this example to separate its strung together verses.
-snip-
[#2 & #3] Two similar versions of this rhyme, but with the first line "Mrs. Lucy Had A Steamboat" and "Miss Lucy Had A Steamboat" can be found at http://bussongs.com/songs/miss-lucy-had-a-steam-boat.php. One of those versions has "the FBI" verse as exactly given above, and one has that verse without the "I know" preface to those lines.

Note: Neither of those "bussong"s versions have the "black boy chasing after me" verse.

****
#4. [Added June 23, 2017]

"hey i remember this version of ms suzy:

Ms. Suzy had a steamboat,
the steamboat had a bell toot toot,
the steamboat went to heaven
ms. suzy went to
hello operator,
plase give me number nine,
and if you disconnect me,
ill chop of your
behind the 'fridgarator,
their lay a piece of glass,
ms. suzy sat apon it
and broke her little
ask me no more questions,
tell me no more lies
the boys are in the bathroom
zipping up their
flys are in the meadows
the bees are in their hives,
ms suzy and her boyfriend
are kissing in the
D-A-R-K D-A-R-K dark dark
dark as in the movies
the movies like a show,
the show is like a tv screen
and that is all i know
i know my ma,
i know i know my pa,
i know i know my sister
with the 40 acre bra.
My mom gave me a penny,
my dad gave me a dime,
my sister gave me a boyfriend,
who kissed me all the time.
He made me wash the dishes,
he made me scrub the floor,
he made me clean his underwear
so i kicked him out the door.
I kicked him over london
i kicked him over france,
i kicked him over china,
and stole his underpants.
Brocolli makes you smell good,
carrots help you say,
bananas make you constipate
and water makes you pee.
My mother is a burglar,
my father is a spy,
and im the little bugger,
that told the F.B.I.

Hello operator
please give me number 10,
and if you disconnect me,
ill sing this song again!!"
-posted by megan at March 28, 2006, http://blog.oftheoctopuses.com/000518.php [retrieved by Azizi Powell, 2006; website no longer available]
-snip-
I reformatted this example from essay format to enhance its readability.

****
C. "FBI" MENTIONED IN OTHER RHYMES
(besides those given above, including "I Believe I Can Fly" parodies)
#1. From http://mudcat.org/jumprope/jumprope_display.cfm?rhyme_number=69
"Don't say 'ain't'.
Your mother will faint.
Your father will fall
In a bucket of paint.
Your sister will cry.
Your brother will die.
Your dog will call the FBI.

Source: Hastings (1990)"

****
#2. From http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=110403

Subject: RE: Law Officers in Songs &Children's Rhymes
From: Cool Beans
Date: 19 Apr 08 - 09:49 AM

My country tis of thee
Sweet land of Gernmany
My name is Fritz.
My father was a spy
Caught by the FBI
Tomorrow he will die.
My name is Fritz.

(Learned in the 1950s when I was a little kid.)

****
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Monday, June 19, 2017

"Ooh Ungowa", "Funky Chicken" & Five Other Camp Songs & Cheers From Contemporary African American Sources

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post showcases seven American children's camp songs or cheers that I believe have their source in contemporary (post 1960) African American songs, rhymes, cheers, or rhymes.

These examples are from the website http://www.girlscoutsaz.org/en/camps/our-camps.html [the Girl Scout camp named Camp Maripai in Prescott, Arizona].

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, cultural, and recreational purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.
-snip-
DISCLAIMER:
This post is not meant to be a comprehensive listing of contemporary children's camp songs or cheers that have African American sources.

I believe that some song examples* on that showcased website may be post 1960s variant forms of older African American (or Caribbean) songs or rhymes. However, in this post I chose to focus on post 1960s examples or post-1960s songs or rhymes.

*For example, "Little Sally Walker, walkin’ ‘round the street" is a contemporary form of the very old singing game "Little Sally Walker".

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PANCOCOJAMS EDITOR'S COMMENTS
I happened upon this web page of children's camp songs while looking for examples of children's rhymes that include the term "FBI". After reading the example entitled "Emerald’s Chant" on that website's page and given below, I published a pancocojams post on the 1988 Hip Hop track (song) "Rollin With Kid N Play" https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2017/06/kid-n-play-rollin-with-kind-n-play.html.

I consider children's rhymes, cheers, singing games, camp songs etc. to be folk material and as a self-identified "community folklorist", I'm interested in documenting sources for folk material-including demographic information (race, ethnicity, gender, geographical location). Also, as a community folklorist, I'm interested in documenting how rhymes are spread across geographical areas, including nations- in this case from the United States to Canada.

I'm also interested in documenting continuity or changes in the lyrics and/or performance activities of American children's rhymes, cheers, singing games etc. over time or in different populations at the same time.

No songs from that camp's website mention race, and I consider a few examples to racially offensive- the most offensive example is entitled "The Washerwoman" which (I believe) stereotypes Asians -note the speech patterns and the references to doing laundry in that example:

Washerwoman Song
I live-ee in-ee a teeny weeny house-ee
I live-ee on-ee the thirty-first-ee floor
I take-ee in-ee the dirty dirty laundry
Ruffles on the petticoat ten cents more.
I like a pow pow better than a chow chow
I like a little girl, she like-a me.

One day in Hong Kong
Bigga Momma come along-a
Take away my little girl
Poor poor me.'

-snip-
That website also includes a form of the traditional African American song "Dry Bones" that includes the African American dialectic use of the word "dem" for "them": .
"Dry Bones
Dry bones sittin’ in a canyon, some of dem bones are mine
Dry bones sittin’ in a canyon, some of dem bones are mine
Some of dem bones are (enter person or unit name here)
Some of dem bones are mine
Some of dem bones are (enter person or unit name here)
Some of dem bones are mine"

-snip-
Also, given the racist use of "monkeys" as a derogatory referent for Black people, the line in the example entitled "Emerald's Song" which is given below "Those girls are funky/Always acting like monkeys!" could be considered offensive or could at least be problematic if Black or Brown girls were part of the group who was singing this song.

These example provide me with an opportunity to share the following links to some of the pancocojams posts that I've published about children's rhymes and race:

https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2012/01/racialized-versions-of-i-like-coffee-i.html "Racialized Versions Of "I Like Coffee I Like Tea"

**
https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/07/anti-asian-rhymes-i-went-to-chinese.html "Anti-Asian Rhymes - I Went To A Chinese Restaurant"

**
https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/10/stereeotypical-references-to-american.html "Stereotypical References To American Indians In "I Went To A Chinese Restaurant" Rhymes"
-snip-
Here are comments that I wrote from some of those posts:
I believe that the stereotypical content in playground rhymes should be documented for the folkloric record, and also for the purpose of encouraging people interested in an eradicating stereotypes to the presence of this content.

In spite of children's attachment to the version of a rhyme that they first learned, given the large number of non-stereotypical versions of "I Went To The Chinese Restaurant, I believe that children can be complimented for their creativity but still be redirected to alternative, non-stereotypical examples of that rhyme. It's up to adults to educate the children in their care that the words and/or accompanying actions of these & some other playground rhymes are problematic and hurtful.

The children's rhyme "Eenie Meenie Miney Mo" stands as a strong testimony to the fact that offensive references can be completely excised from playground rhymes, as many adults today who grew up with that rhyme and are surprised to learn that it once included a pejorative reference for Black people.

**
Although most of the video examples and, presumably, also most of text examples that I've found of this rhyme are from White children and White adults, I'm including this subject in this blog that focuses on Black cultural indices because non-offensive and some offensive examples of "I Went To A Chinese Restaurant" appears to have become a part of the cultural body of playground rhymes in the United States and in some other English language nations to a large extent regardless of children's the race/ethnicity. Note that a link given below to another pancocojams post given includes a video of two young Black women who indicate that they remember reciting this rhyme in their childhood. Also, there are people with Black/Asian (or Asian/Black) descent in the United States and elsewhere. Therefore, this topic is quite suitable for a blog about Black culture & customs in the United States & throughout the world.

**
It's important to consider that the words to examples of "I Went To The Chinese Restaurant" may appear to be non-offensive, but those words might be accompanied by the gesture of holding the skin at the ends of both eyes to mimic a squinting look. And while there should be no question that gesture is offensive, it clearly is something that children have to be made aware of, even if they don't intend to be hurtful or otherwise cause offense.

-snip-
Some of the examples featured in this post are from the sub-category of children's recreational material that I call "foot stomping cheers". Here's a quote from one of several pancocojams post on foot stomping cheers https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2017/06/at-playground-foot-stomping-cheer-that.html "At The Playground" - A Foot Stomping Cheer That Combines Words From A TV Commercial, The "Homey Don't Play That" Saying, & A Kiddie Hip Hop Record
"Foot stomping cheers" is the term that I coined in 2000 for a relatively new category of children's recreational play that is (was?) performed mostly by preteen and younger girls and that involves chanting and choreographed foot stomping combined with (individual) clapping movements.

Foot stomping cheers" have a textual structure and traditionally* have a performance style* that is distinct from hand clap rhymes, jump rope rhymes, other cheerleader cheers, and other categories of children's recreational rhymes. That record featured four examples of African American girls from Washington D. C. performing cheers in 1973-1975.

*By traditional, I mean the way that foot stomping cheers were performed by African American girls in the 1980s and 1990s, and perhaps in the early 2000s. I've noticed changes in the way that these cheers are performed as they become more mainstream (i.e. are performed by White or predominately White cheerleader squads.)"...

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EXAMPLES OF CHILDREN'S SONGS/CHEERS THAT (I BELIEVE) HAVE THEIR SOURCE IN CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN AMERICAN SONGS, RHYMES, OR CHEERS

Pancocojams Editor:
These examples are given in alphabetical order on this pancocojams website. I've assigned numbers to these examples for referencing purposes only.

A link to a pancocojams posts about (what I believe are) the African American sources for these examples is given below the camp example itself.

***
From http://maripai-songbook.tripod.com/songlyrics.html
[website Last Updated: May 20, 2009


1. A Boom Chicka Boom
(a repeat song)
I said a boom-chicka-boom!
I said a boom-chicka-boom!
I said a boom-chicka-rocka-chicka-rocka-chicka-boom!
Uh huh!
Oh yea!
Again!
(Put next name of style here) style!
Styles:
Underwater: sing with fingers dribbling against your lips
Loud: as loud as you can!
Slowly: as slow and drawn out as possible
Opera: sing in an opera voice
Alien: high-pitched, beep sounds
Valley Girl:
I said, like, boom-chica-boom!
I said, like, boom chicka-boom!
I said, like, booma-chicka, like, rocka-chicka, like, rocka-chica like boom!
Like, uh-huh!
Like, for sure!
Like, same thing...
Janitor style:
I said a Broom-Pusha-Broom,
I said a Broom-Pusha-Broom,
I said a Broom-pusha-mopa-pusha-mopa-pusha-broom.
-snip-
This is listed in that camp song website under "FAST songs"

I've categorized "A Boom Chicka Boom" as a song (chant) with an African American source even though I haven't been able to track down the earliest example of that song/chant. "A Boom Chicka Boom"'s text (words) and its call & response format are the elements that strongly suggests to me that it originated among African Americans (or was composed in imitation of African American cheers). I've collected similar foot stomping cheers such as "A Rah Rah A Boom Tang" in the 1980s among African American girls in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2016/09/foot-stomping-cheers-alphabetical-list.html.

****
2. "Big Fat Pony
Ride around that big fat pony
Ride around that big fat pony
Ride around that big fat pony
This is how she does it:
Front to front to front my baby
Back to back to back my baby
Side to side to side my baby
This is how she does it.
Actions: This is a dancing game that is done in a circle. One girl is in the center of the circle, and while the whole group sings the first three lines and claps, the girl in the center gallops like a horse around the circle. When the fourth line of the song is reached,the girl much stop in front of the girl she is nearest, and both shimmy towards each other, then turn and shimmy away from each other, then turn to the side and shake their hips back and forth. The partner for the center girl now becomes the new center girl."
-snip-
This is listed on that camp song page under "DANCING/GAME/CHANT songs"

Click https://cocojams2.blogspot.com/2014/11/little-sally-walker-ride-that-pony_9.html for a cocojams2 post about this game song.

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3. "Emerald’s Chant
(repeat song)
Oh-la, oh-la, eh!
Roll, roll, roll to the beat, now
I don’t know
Just what it is
Those girls are crazy
Always shakin’ their daisies!

Oh-la, oh-la, eh!
Roll, roll, roll to the beat, now
I don’t know
Just what it is
Those girls are funky
Always acting like monkeys!"
-snip-
This is listed on that camp song page under "DANCING/GAME/CHANT songs"

Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2017/06/kid-n-play-rollin-with-kind-n-play.html for the lyrics and videos of the 1988 Hip Hop song "Rollin With Kid N Play".

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4. "Funky Chicken
(Leader) Let me see your funky chicken!
(All) WHAT'S THAT YOU SAY?
(Leader) Let me see your funky chicken!
(All) WHAT'S THAT YOU SAY? I said....

Chorus: (everyone)
Ooo, ah-ah-ah ooo, ah-ah-ah ooo, ah-ah-ah ooo,
One more time, now!
Ooo, ah-ah-ah ooo, ah-ah-ah ooo, ah-ah-ah ooo,
One more time now!

Other Verses: Dracula, Orangutan, Elvis Presley, Cleopatra, John Travolta, do the polka, shopping car

(Actions: During first and third line of chorus, do silly movement that corresponds with verse)
-snip-
This is listed in that camp song website under "FAST songs"

Published on Dec 25, 2014
Provided to YouTube by Universal Music Group International

Click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nn-F_GmNr-A for a video of the 1970 Jackson 5 R&B song "How Funky Is Your Chicken"

[Since I can find no record that I've previously posted online the example that I collected around 1999 from three sisters under the age of 12 years (Faith, Grace, and ?, I remember that her name wasn't "Charity", African American girls in Braddock, Pennsylvania), here's that example- The girls said it was a cheerleader cheer:

[chanted in unison]

How funky is the chicken
How loose is the goose
So come on everybody
and shake your caboose
Shake your caboose
Shake your caboose.

[The girls shook their butt to the side while saying "Shake your caboose".)

****
5. "Gigalow

Person 1: Hey (insert Person 2’s name here)!
Person 2: Hey what?
1: Hey (Person 2’s name!
2: Hey what?
1: Show us how you gigalow, I said, show us how you gigalow!
2. My hands are high, my feet are low, and this is how I gigalow.
All: Her hands are high, her feet are low, and this is how she gigalows!"
-snip-
This is listed on that camp song page under "DANCING/GAME/CHANT songs"

Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2011/12/childrens-rhyme-gigalo-examples.html for the pancocojams post "The Children's Rhyme "Gigalo" - Examples & Probable Sources"

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6."Humpty Dumpty Song
Hump-dee, dump
Hump, hump, dee, dump-dee dump-dee
Hump-dee, dump
Hump, hump, dee, dump-dee dump-dee
(enter any nursery rhyme and sing for 12 beats of song)

(I.e.) Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet, eating her curds and whey (HEY!)
Along came a spider and sat down beside her…|
Singing UHH! Ain’t that funky now?

End song with the Humpty Dumpty rhyme."
-snip-
-snip-
This is listed in that camp song website under "FAST songs"

Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2014/02/pre-dozens-childrens-foot-stomping.html for the pancocojams rhyme "Pre-The Dozens Girls' Foot Stomping Cheer "Hump De Danda""

**
7. "Ooh Ungowa
My back’s a-breakin’, my belt’s too tight
My hips a-shakin’ from left to right
Singin’ ooh Ungowa, (enter person or unit name here)’s got the power
You know it, you said it,
And now you represent it.
Singin’ OOH UNGOWA (enter name here)’s GOT THE POWER!"
-snip-
This is listed on that camp song page under "DANCING/GAME/CHANT songs"

The lines "my back's achin and my bra's too tight" are found in the African American children's rhyme "Bang Bang Choo Choo Train". However, those children's rhymes lifted those lines from African American military cadences and the risque social song "Bang Bang Lulu". https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2015/08/bang-bang-choo-choo-train-rhyme-cheer.html.

Also, click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-real-origins-of-word-ungawa-various.html for the pancocojams post entitled "The REAL Origin Of The Word "Ungawa" & Various Ways That Word Has Been Used In The USA"

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