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New York schools drop ‘Jingle Bells’ song over historical roots

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BRIGHTON, NY (WROC) – Brighton Central School District, located just outside of Rochester, New York, is addressing the use or lack of the holiday classic “Jingle Bells” in its curriculum.

In a letter to the families above BCSD website, Superintendent Kevin McGowan wrote: “That may seem silly to some, but the reality is that ‘Jingle Bells’ was first performed in minstrel shows where white actors performed in costume. blackface is really important when questioning what we use as materials in schools. . ”

According to Boston University professor Kyna Hamill, who researched the origins of the song for a 2017 article, “The legacy of ‘Jingle Bells’, as we shall see, is a prime example of a common misreading of 19th-century popular music, where the roots are blackface and racism. of it has been subtly and systematically removed from its history.”

McGowan said he addressed the song situation after a community member write an article in an online publication Rochester signal about the problem and how it is no longer taught at the district’s Council Rock Elementary School.

“The selection of songs that are not ‘Jingle Bells’ is not a major policy initiative, ‘banning’ the song or some significant change to a concert repertoire made in response to This is not a ‘disappeared liberalism’ or ‘culturing at its best’ as some have suggested. No one says you should not sing ‘Jingle Bells’ or ever suggest it to your child in any way.”

The director adds that the song is tied to a religious holiday that isn’t celebrated by everyone in the community, meaning “it wasn’t a song we wanted to put on the show in the first place.” teach at school.”

Follow The district’s K-2 Diversity and Equity curriculum for Council Rock Elementary School, “Jingle Bells” is not the only song that is no longer being taught to students. McGowan highlighted other songs with “questionable” histories, including ‘Ching a Ring Chaw,’ ‘Canoe Song’ and ‘Cumberland Gap’, which have been “replaced with more modern and relevant content. “

Last year, Brighton announced they will be changing their mascot from ‘Baron’ to ‘Bruins .’“In a few “major” steps forward for the district toward “diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

https://wgntv.com/news/new-york-schools-drop-jingle-bells-song-over-historical-blackface-roots/ New York schools drop ‘Jingle Bells’ song over historical roots

CELINE CASTRONUOVO

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