I Love a Good Slightly Racist Song

This fall, I started to learn swing dancing, Lindy Hop more specifically. I am absolutely loving it, but not just for the dancing. The music is also absolutely phenomenal. I knew of some of the songs played before, but I’ve also not heard many, so I am also engaged in finding good music I had never heard. It was during one of these sessions to build my Swing play list on Spotify that I found this awesome gem called the Oriental Swing that’s a little racist, but totally acceptable to me (an Asian) considering it was done in 1938. 🙂

And here are the delightfully clever, but selightfully racist, lyrics:

Now, Arab sheiks on the burning sands,
Come into their harems and clap their hands,
Said, “Come on, girls, are you ready to play?

Let’s have a little more of that swingin’ today.”

Now, geisha girls in old Japan,
Wink behind their peacock fans,
Since they learned to say, “Yeah!
Let’s swing it like Amelican’s swing swing dance!” 

Now, in the land of Fu Manchu,
The girls all now do the Suzie-Q,
Clap their hands in the center of the floor,
Saying, “Ching, ching, chop-suey, swing some more!”

Now, Gypsy caravans have changed their mode,

They truck down the Romany road,
With their hi-de-hos, and their hey-hey-diddle,
Doin’ the swing on the Gypsy fiddle.

Them eastern wisemen know the story,
Of the swing with Oriental glory,
They stroke their beards and grin,
Sayin’, “Swing, little children, till the dawn comes in!”

Do you think this song is too racist to be played at swing dances?

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