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Racism in Beatles
3 February 2022
4.34pm
Bob Rob Robertson7
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I was curious about this topic today, and look what I find- an old photo of Ringo Starr !

Ringo BlackfaceImage Enlarger

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6 February 2022
8.16pm
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Expert Textpert
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I had a feeling it wasn’t all peace and love. There you’ve gone and proved it. 

I will never feel the same about The Beatles again. 

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7 February 2022
10.51am
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Ahhh Girl
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Yep, Paul McCartney admits to saying racist things when he was young https://time.com/4358104/paul-…..-as-a-kid/

But, The Beatles realized that racism was wrong in their early adult years. They refused to play to segregated crowds. Paul wrote Blackbird . Billy Preston became a integral part of the Get Back project. Paul has made a record with Kanye and Beyonce.

I’m sure the non-racist list involving Beatles is many, many times longer that any list of them showing racism.

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7 February 2022
4.30pm
magus26
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Listening to the Get Back Nagra tapes tonight (january 6, end of disc 1) and was quite shocked to hear Paul casually refer to John Lee Hooker as a ‘spade blues singer’.

8 February 2022
2.30pm
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Ron Nasty
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What annoys me about the new political correctness, the woke culture – on subjects from racism to gender politics to sexuality – is how people seem to judge those who came before by today’s standards.

Yes, you wouldn’t send your kid out to a fancy dress event in blackface now, and if you did, it’d the parent who’d be judged, not the child. Somehow though, Ringo as a young child appearing in blackface in the ’40s is offered as a suggestion of racism on his part, despite the fact that blackface was a common form of entertainment. It has rightly become viewed as racist and unacceptable, but at the time it was a normal part of life, with the majority of those involved in it not associating it with racism in any way.

Again, with Paul using the word “spade”, it’s use was common at the time, among people of all colours, and without the majority of those who used the term believing they were being racist. No different to the use of “Paddy” to describe the Irish or “Jock” the Scottish. They were not viewed as the lazy, offensive stereotypes they are now then.

I grew up in ’70s, and am well aware that there was language I used then that I wouldn’t use now, as well as things I did then that I wouldn’t do now (bad impersonations of the Indian/Pakistani bus conductor, etc.), but it was a different world, a different country, then, and judging these things by today’s standards does those who lived in different times a disservice – as well as those who’ll jump up and down condemning things decades later.

I’m not applauding the way things were, far from, but do recognise they were different times, and so don’t judge individuals by their use of language or blacking up in the same way as I would were they still doing it. That was then, we learnt, we got better, the societal norms changed.

What’s important is not their use of the language of the times, or their doing things like doing blackface at a time it was common and wasn’t viewed as being racist in the way it is now, but their interactions with those of different ethnic groups, and their standing against things that WERE viewed as racist at the times.

Their first proper tour of the US, they refused to play to segregated audiences. That took balls, especially in the Southern states, where most major artists – including black performers – were not challenging having to play to segregated audiences. The people they were always most excited to meet were the black American artists who’d so inspired them. From early on they appreciated those of different ethnicities to them, from Lord Woodbine to Roy Young to Billy Preston.

Hell, at the same time Paul is using a word like “spade” (again, common language at the time), from the early versions of Get Back  to stuff like Commonwealth and Enoch Powell, they’re protesting those things that were viewed as racist at the times.

The context is always important. You can choose to damn them for displaying some of the societal norms of the times which are frowned upon now, or applaud them for facing down and confronting the more overt racism of the time, and being a part of the change in attitudes which helped create a world where we can raise an eyebrow at some of what was quite normal then.

I choose to applaud them for the big part they played in changing those outdated views.

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8 February 2022
5.36pm
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Vera Chuckandave
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Ron Nasty said
What annoys me about the new political correctness, the woke culture – on subjects from racism to gender politics to sexuality – is how people seem to judge those who came before by today’s standards.

Yes, you wouldn’t send your kid out to a fancy dress event in blackface now, and if you did, it’d the parent who’d be judged, not the child. Somehow though, Ringo as a young child appearing in blackface in the ’40s is offered as a suggestion of racism on his part, despite the fact that blackface was a common form of entertainment. It has rightly become viewed as racist and unacceptable, but at the time it was a normal part of life, with the majority of those involved in it not associating it with racism in any way.

Again, with Paul using the word “spade”, it’s use was common at the time, among people of all colours, and without the majority of those who used the term believing they were being racist. No different to the use of “Paddy” to describe the Irish or “Jock” the Scottish. They were not viewed as the lazy, offensive stereotypes they are now then.

I grew up in ’70s, and am well aware that there was language I used then that I wouldn’t use now, as well as things I did then that I wouldn’t do now (bad impersonations of the Indian/Pakistani bus conductor, etc.), but it was a different world, a different country, then, and judging these things by today’s standards does those who lived in different times a disservice – as well as those who’ll jump up and down condemning things decades later.

I’m not applauding the way things were, far from, but do recognise they were different times, and so don’t judge individuals by their use of language or blacking up in the same way as I would were they still doing it. That was then, we learnt, we got better, the societal norms changed.

What’s important is not their use of the language of the times, or their doing things like doing blackface at a time it was common and wasn’t viewed as being racist in the way it is now, but their interactions with those of different ethnic groups, and their standing against things that WERE viewed as racist at the times.

Their first proper tour of the US, they refused to play to segregated audiences. That took balls, especially in the Southern states, where most major artists – including black performers – were not challenging having to play to segregated audiences. The people they were always most excited to meet were the black American artists who’d so inspired them. From early on they appreciated those of different ethnicities to them, from Lord Woodbine to Roy Young to Billy Preston.

Hell, at the same time Paul is using a word like “spade” (again, common language at the time), from the early versions of Get Back  to stuff like Commonwealth and Enoch Powell, they’re protesting those things that were viewed as racist at the times.

The context is always important. You can choose to damn them for displaying some of the societal norms of the times which are frowned upon now, or applaud them for facing down and confronting the more overt racism of the time, and being a part of the change in attitudes which helped create a world where we can raise an eyebrow at some of what was quite normal then.

I choose to applaud them for the big part they played in changing those outdated views.

  

Couldn’t agree more @ Ron Nasty.

When I was about the age that Ringo was in that photo I would sit and watch the black and white minstrel show on the BBC and throughly enjoy it. This was, after all, harmless (or so I thought)”entertainment” at the time.

Of course I now look back  and realise how thoroughly inappropriate the show was but it was, be it right or wrong, of its time and society moves on. No nine or ten year old can possibly be aware of this so cannot be judged. In fact, I am proud to say I never heard one racist comment from my  parent’s mouths despite the fact they also enjoyed this show and, (unfortunately)”goodness gracious me” by Peter Sellars and Sophia Loren which just sounds embarrassingly ridiculous now.

Oh yes, the 60’s and 70’s……As lennon sung in 1980….”strange days indeed”….

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8 February 2022
5.43pm
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Vera Chuckandave
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Actually, I think Ringo is in drag in that photo….not “blackened up”….correct me if I’m wrong….ahdn_ringo_09

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9 February 2022
1.53am
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meaigs
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I don’t think either kid looks like Ringo mccartney-shrug_01_gif

Also, well said @Ron Nasty !

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10 February 2022
5.35am
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The Hole Got Fixed
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I’m fairly ‘woke’, and believe cancel culture has its place (although that place is not nearly as common as it is currently). 

There is a line between fighting fights worth fighting, and fighting pointless fights. This is one of those things that more often gets reported by the Murdoch media as a beat-up to anger its conservative supporters towards progressives, through virtue of having a provocative headline. 

‘Woke culture takes aim at beloved drummer Ringo Starr !’

No.

There is a satirical newspaper who sent a tip-off to our branch of Murdoch here last year, claiming woke people were trying to ban fairy bread (popular Aussie dessert). They did no research into it, instead just published it trying to cause a stir, then got egg on their face when it was revealed who tipped them off.

Nobody is claiming that a 10 year old Ringo was the cause of suffering for generations of minorities. As AG said, the moment they grew old enough to develop critical thinking, they realised it was wrong – as well as fought what fights they could to make things right. There is no issue here, just something aiming to cause a stir.

Ron Nasty said
What annoys me about the new political correctness, the woke culture – on subjects from racism to gender politics to sexuality – is how people seem to judge those who came before by today’s standards. 

What I’ve been trying to get at in this reply is this – yes, the line of where to judge people from days gone by is probably too harsh currently, however there needs to be a line. As people become adults they develop critical thinking, they should realise that it discriminating on other humans is wrong – yes societal norms were different, but there were too many hurtful things to excuse all of them. A “bad impersonation of the Indian/Pakistani bus conductor” is not something that should be punished 50 years later (like a 10 year old in blackface), but there are many things that should be. 

Kids show learned behaviour, you can’t punish that. Adults should display intelligent behaviour and be role models.

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10 February 2022
8.55am
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Von Bontee
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magus26 said
Listening to the Get Back Nagra tapes tonight (january 6, end of disc 1) and was quite shocked to hear Paul casually refer to John Lee Hooker as a ‘spade blues singer’.

  

Yeah, there was an unfortunate tendency in the 60s among certain white people enamored of Black culture (John, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Plant, others) to occasionally use that word “spade” in an admiring (yet still “othering”) sort of way. Similar to how some white hip-hop kids would address one another with the n-word.

It seems to be a case of white people reasoning that their own personal anti-racism makes it OK for them to use these slurs as a misguided show of solidarity.

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