Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

Discussion in 'General Rugby Union' started by Cruz_del_Sur, Jun 19, 2020.

  1. Cruz_del_Sur

    Cruz_del_Sur First XV

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    "England rugby fans could soon be banned from singing 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot'
    RFU reviewing use of the American slave anthem which has previously been criticised by academics for cultural appropriation"

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/rugby-u...england-rugby-anthem-swing-low-sweet-chariot/


    Seriously?
    Is there an iota of truth in this?


    MODS: i really didn't know whether to place this here or elsewhere, but since it is rugby related i thought this was the better place. Kindly move if you think there's a better place. Kindly let me know tho. Thanks.
     
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  3. ncurd

    ncurd International

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    Banned is wrong term, asked kindly not to sing it and it's a review before coming to a decision with that being the strong response.

    Here's my take,

    Feels like one for those players of the ethnic group to speak up on. It's not sung out disrespect but in celebration. However it's not my place to decide if it's okay or not.

    Brian Moore has weighed in but as noted more interested in what Black players have to say. However it's true rude gestures were how I first learnt the song when I was a child.
    https://twitter.com/brianmoore666/status/1273711044515573769?s=19
     
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  4. Peter Brooks

    Peter Brooks Academy Player

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    Rugby Union must face up to its past.
    England and at least also Wales did not pick Black players for the international team. It’s policy was racist. Fact
    Singing swing low when a black player enters the field is unacceptable. Unpalatable but true.
    NZ RFU has apologised for its appalling treatment of the Maoris, England MUST do the same
     
  5. The_Blindside

    The_Blindside International

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    My take on it is it will be very difficult to get rid of it. You will still get fans singing it just to stick 2 fingers up at the establishment. Context or no context. And from there others will join in because they simply don’t give a **** about its origins when watching rugby and after having a few beers.

    “God save the Queen” has technically nothing to do with England or Britain as a Country (Referring to Moore’s bit about Swing Low not about England) but will still get sung because it’s our “national anthem”. Our nation does not rise and fall on her living or dying, IMO.
     
  6. Cruz_del_Sur

    Cruz_del_Sur First XV

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    Let me take this up a notch, just for argument's sake and please, for the love of god, dont take what I'm about to say personally. I am just trying to push the exact same logical argument to it's extreme, to fully understand it's consequences.

    What if the same people who find this offensive, and after seeing you are willing to concede, now argue the UK flag is racist because, under such flag, a lot of people benefited a lot from the slave trade. Would you concede that too? How about Nelson's columns on Trafalgar square? Balmoral? The British museum?

    And why start judging others 4/500 years ago. Why not extend the timeline and go 3000 thousand. Or even better, let's not put a time limit at all.

    What if they argued the pyramids were offensice? How about Aztec ruins? How about the sistine chapel? Angkor ruins? Velazquez' paintings (to name one)?
    How about the Colosseum? (note all of these (every single one) are related to slavery in one way or another. I know the pyramids weren't built by slaves but they are essentially pharaos' tombs which owned (LOTS) of slaves).
    What if descendants from the Thracians suddenly felt offended by the Colosseum because some of their great-great-great-great-great-great grandfathers were enslaved and thrown to the lions there?
    Should Italy just demolish half of Rome just to appease past offences?

    Is there any line that you are willing to draw or you would be willing to sacrifice pretty much anything just because someone claims to be offended by it? If so, where is that line? Why there?

    Full disclosure, I have many questions and very few answers. Not pushing you because i want to corner you. I want to corner your argument precisely because i have many questions and doubts.
     
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  7. ncurd

    ncurd International

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    You main issue is your dealing absurdisms which loads of people have been doing in this case, where does it stop? My simple retort is does it matter we assess each individual case on its own merits negative and positive listen to people who's community its effects and make a rational decision. A lot of the examples you have have significant (key word)

    So on Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

    My understanding it was a song written by a slave to convey the 'hope' of going to heaven once they are no longer a slave and die. Its pretty grim stuff when you think about it. Flash foward it some time and someone come up with a bunch of rude gestures to the song and it become a common rugby drinking song (most of which by todays standards are vastly inappropriate), this gets sung in some stadiums and eventually reaches national scale in tribute to Martin Offiah and Chris Oti cementing itself as the national rugby song.

    Its simple cultural appropriation and if people of that backgrounds feel its inappropriate I'm not going to lose sleep over it. We can find another song to sing I'm sure.


    On another one of you examples the Union Flag and the Flag of St. George have been almost co-opted as racists symbols in this country due to nationalism. Sadly the only time you see them proudly displayed outside of religious/governmental/sporting buildings is either during international Football (when its normally fine) or by racist thugs. Its actually quite to see that stuff get appropriated that way.
     
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  8. Not Eddie Jones

    Not Eddie Jones Academy Player

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    As this is your first post on the forum, I'm not sure I should be riled up by it, because I wonder if you've only joined to bait people. I usually don't comment about anything non-rugby on here, but congratulations, you've riled me.

    Here's the thing about history: it changes. Constantly. The world is not the same now as it was 20 years ago, or a hundred years ago, or a thousand years ago. And in 20 years time and then 100 years time, it will be different again, and the morals and ethics of today may well be looked on as backward and barbaric by future people with a sense of moral superiority and a desire to virtue signal. Homosexuality was legal in the ancient world, then banned by various churches, made illegal by the Victorians (but only for men, coz Victoria was a sexist!) and then legalised again in the 1960s. In the future, it may be made illegal again as moral compasses swing once more, or maybe instead other sexual preferences will be legalised as the world becomes more liberal. Who knows? Will they then look back at today and demand apologies and reparations from people of the 2020s who kept their pleasures illegal? Will they be right and us wrong? Will we even be alive, or will they just be tearing down statues of long-dead people, because they only thing they can find to support their sense of outraged injustice?:rolleyes:

    The point is, Swing Low was sung by slaves, yes, but its meaning has now changed. It's not about going to heaven to be released from slavery, its about England rugby playing well and bringing the trophy home. Its meaning has changed over time. That's what happens in real life. Change is the one constant. Hell, play any song to a dozen people and you'll get half-a-dozen different interpretations of its meaning, regardless of who first sung it. That's how songs work. And songs mean different things in the mouths of different singers. Every Breath You Take was a song about a stalker when sung by the Police, and about someone who died and was missed when sung by Puff Daddy. Same song, different singers, different meanings. Can black people not sing Over the Hills and Far Away because it was sung by white British troops about going to war and dying against Napoleon's armies? Would it be racist for a black person to sing it as there were no blacks giving their lives for Britain at the time? If you thinks its racist for 80000 fans to sing Swing Low when cheering their team on, made up of more than just blacks and whites btw, then you are entitled to your opinion, but that doesn't make your opinion any more valid than mine or than that of the 80000 fans, made up of all ethnicities under the sun btw. It's just an opinion and everyone's got one, and no-one person's opinion is more important than anybody else's, regardless of what sense of moral outrage is currently boiling in them. Should we ban God Save the Queen because the founder of the Royal Africa Company that bought the slaves from the West African markets for transport to the colonies was Elizabeth I, and that the major source of income for the monarchy under Charles I was his shares in the company? Are Anthony Watson and Kyle Sinckler being damaged by singing it before every match, coz they don't seem overly bothered to me. Should we go to Mali and tear down all symbols of their history because their empire was built on slaving their fellow blacks? Should we refuse to play Italy because the Romans slaved millions of people for 500 years, including thousands of Britons? Should we ban any Pacific Islanders from playing for us because they ate Captain Cook!? :eek:

    Change is something that people need to get their head around. Consider the change in meaning to the word 'racist'. It's now flung around so often and so casually that it's lost its original meaning. Consider the word '*******': it used to mean born out of wedlock, which in the past was morally wrong and therefore it was a bad slur. But when people call other people a ******* these days, we just mean they're a git who we disagree with, because being born out of wedlock is no longer considered morally unacceptable. Things change. And that's what's happening to the word racist now. By crying racist at anything and everything, it loses its meaning, and therefore its impact. With so many people using the word racist to silence disagreement, get people sacked and justify vandalism, the word is now just a general slur. It's like crying wolf: the more its cried without justification, the less and less people take notice of it.:rolleyes:

    Martin Luther King was a great, great man, because he got it, he really did. He said: "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character." And yet here we are across many nations talking about 'blacks' this and 'whites' that, as if the skin colour determines who someone is, gives them certains traits and feelings and characteristics and a united opinion, belief and purpose, rather than them being individuals and therefore all different. Well you can forget it. I'm an individual, not a skin colour, and that's why I believe in what Martin Luther King said. It's just a shame that so many people didn't understand the message. If they had, we wouldn't have these ludicrous attempts to ban anything and everything.:mad:

    God, everyone takes themselves so seriously these days! Why can't people learn to laugh at themselves, take things in good humour, shrug things off, be a bit self-deprecating and toughen up a bit. I know the lockdown is causing us all to be a bit uptight, but we've gone from annoyed to silly season and it's really getting on my wick. Man, I need some rugby! :(
     
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  9. TRF_Olyy

    TRF_Olyy English Arrogance

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    Feel the same as ncurd - if it's causing offence to PoC then get rid, it has nothing to do with rugby/England in the first place other than (modern) tradition.


    Not sure how they'd enforce a ban though - gonna to be a lloott of ****** up blazer wearing Jontys and Montys at twickenham who will sing it regardless of what the RFU say.
     
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  10. Cruz_del_Sur

    Cruz_del_Sur First XV

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    So you basically label the questions you don't like as "absurd", without any justification whatsoever, in order to dodge them. Got it.
    How very tolerant of you.
     
  11. ncurd

    ncurd International

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    No because your trying to equate possibly not singing a single song at a rugby match to tearing down the pyramids something nobody is even close to suggesting (although there will be some mad idiot on the internet I'll bet). They aren't remotely in the same wheelhouse of discussion and you want to use them because the obvious answer of course we are not going to tear the down pyramids. Well why note this one song? And the answer to that that is because its a song not the pyramids.


    I have zero idea where tolerance comes into this....
     
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  12. Tigs Man

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    IDK about offensive but I find it so "cringe".
    Especially when they start do the crappy hand gestures with it.

    Would be happy to see it gone.
     
  13. Tigs Man

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    I mean your comparing a song about Black slaves (A large amount transported by British ships) wanting freedom to a song about serving the British army in battle which funny enough had Black Soldiers serving the British army maybe not many but they served regardless. So "Would it be racist for a black person to sing it as there were no blacks giving their lives for Britain at the time?" is wrong and whitewashing in every sense (And I don't use that term often) and most likely sums up your mindset in quite a laughable way.

    Even more ironic given that a lot of the black members of the british army served as musicians.

    "Martin Luther King was a great, great man, because he got it, he really did. He said: "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character." And yet here we are across many nations talking about 'blacks' this and 'whites' that, as if the skin colour determines who someone is, gives them certains traits and feelings and characteristics and a united opinion, belief and purpose, rather than them being individuals and therefore all different. Well you can forget it. I'm an individual, not a skin colour, and that's why I believe in what Martin Luther King said. It's just a shame that so many people didn't understand the message. If they had, we wouldn't have these ludicrous attempts to ban anything and everything.:mad:"

    You know MLK I have a dream speech is nearly 50 years old?
    and in that time racial discrimination is still at a all time high?
    Yet you are getting upset over people saying you know what maybe don't sing that song?
     
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    Last edited: Jun 19, 2020
  14. Cruz_del_Sur

    Cruz_del_Sur First XV

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    I was thinking of replying to your points, but since you dodge the questions that are not convenient to your narrative, what's the point?
     
  15. ncurd

    ncurd International

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    Your decision, my point is they are not even close to being relevant to the topic at hand. You think they are, you do you.
     
  16. Cruz_del_Sur

    Cruz_del_Sur First XV

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    Just like your choice to dodge questions. And regardless of whether i think your question is relevant, i am not afraid to answer a straight question from you. That's the difference.
    Have fun.
     
  17. Not Eddie Jones

    Not Eddie Jones Academy Player

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    Okay, I'd take some issue with whitewashing, but maybe not the best example. However, the point still stands: does the song's original meaning and the situation of those who sung it dictate its future meaning and who can sing it in future? I'm in my mid-40s, I've only ever known that song as an England rugby song. It's part of my culture and I love it. Now I'm being told that someone is taking offence to it and that it might be banned as result. But I would take offence to it being banned, so would it be unbanned as a result? Why is one person taking offence more important than another person taking offence? In fact, why does taking offence even matter? Does it break people's limbs or give them leprosy? No. They'll get over it, or learn to live with it, just as we all do. We all have things we take offence to, every one of us, but that doesn't give us the right to go around banning things we don't like. The fact is that no-one in this country alive today was in any way involved in the slave trade, either as slaver, slave or profiteer. Yet people are taking offence for and against people they never knew and never even shared the same century with, and for what? To stop people singing a song? How does that improve anybody's life? Besides, it's not an enforcable ban. How are they gonna stop 80000 people singing? Arrest them all? Ban any song and it goes straight to number one in the charts. It will become a song of rebellion against this ludicrous 'I'm offended so you can't have it' culture.

    Racial discrimination is at an all-time high? Is it? This may be what's being peddled at the moment by the mainstream media, but newspaper sales are at an all-time low, viewers of BBC and ITV are at an all-time low and they're all desperate to try to pull in customers, so they're all going off on one in the hope the young twitter crowd will follow them. But really, where is this all-time high racial discrimination in the UK? Why is it the only targets people can find to attack are old sitcoms, rugby songs and statues of people that have been dead for 300 years? Why aren't they telling us what this racism is, where it is, giving us examples instead of all these vague slogans and taking offence at old films. We have the most racially diverse cabinet we've ever had, y'know, the people at the top fo the government of the country making decisions that affect all our lives, making laws and policies. How on earth did that happen if racism is at an all-time high?
     
  18. Tigs Man

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    I think the fact that you are in your mid 40’s and only know it as a rugby song sums up the big issues with it.

    If people can get over it why can’t you get over your rugby song that has been sung for what 22 years (is that even half your age?) might be upsetting or awkward for others?

    Also I’m sorry as a white middle man I’ll take your word on racial discrimination.

    Wasn’t the whole protest at this targeting the establishment? They are telling you what racism is going on but your too blinkered by the statues, Tv Sitcoms and rugby song to listen mate. Also thinking that a diverse cabinet = racism gone....

    How many BME are on the rugby council or admins Level?
     
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  19. Which Tyler

    Which Tyler First XV

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    I have no particular dog in this fight (I generally agree with Ncurd in that I don't have a problem, but that it's not for me to decide. Exeter's branding is far more troublesome IMO) - but you might want to check your maths here - it's been an England national rugby song for significantly longer than that; and rugby song in general for more than double.
     
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    Last edited: Jun 19, 2020
  20. Tallshort

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    Sang this at rugby clubs for years, never sang it at an International match because its a bit dull outside the cosiness of a clubhouse bar.

    I don't really have a problem with it but if players like Maro Itoje and Ellis Genge don't like it then we should respect that and not sing it. Its about how they feel that counts.
     
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  21. Tigs Man

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    I was thinking more about it's use in the England rugby which was 1988 so yeh my maths was wrong by 10 years.
    Still IMO doesn't change my stance 32 years isn't that significant in terms of time.

    I would also say that a talk should happen about Wales and Delilah TBH.

    I would imagine Exeter branding is only a matter of time.
     
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