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No more Swing Low ?
Posted by: tedge (IP Logged)
Date: 19 June, 2020 08:40

BBC

Personally I wouldn't miss it as imo it's a bit of a dirge and I've no idea why England rugby fans sing it. Mind you it seems rather a pc thing to ban what is after all an African American spiritual about going to heaven when you die. There is certainly nothing which could be considered offensive to anybody in the lyrics. There again how would you stop a crowd singing it ?

Re: No more Swing Low ?
Posted by: Duckonstilts (IP Logged)
Date: 19 June, 2020 09:36

You can't stop a crowd easily.

I think its worth asking the question. See what the black fans and players think. If its an issue we stop.if noone is offended then we go on. Dialogue is the answer to most of these questions.

Re: No more Swing Low ?
Posted by: Jazzman (IP Logged)
Date: 19 June, 2020 10:18

I have an LP with Louis Armstrong singing 'Swing Low' do you think I ought not to play it anymore, or even destroy it?

(Sm77)

Re: No more Swing Low ?
Posted by: saint krige (IP Logged)
Date: 19 June, 2020 10:36

Interesting that Martin Offiah came out today and said "no black player thinks it should be banned". This just seems like another politically-charged attack with little merit to actually ban it.

I don't think it would stop Twickenham crowd erupting in to chorus anyway (if it was banned).

Re: No more Swing Low ?
Posted by: stoofer (IP Logged)
Date: 19 June, 2020 11:17

I don't think anyone is talking about banning a song?!?

The RFU do use it in their marketing - it's plastered around Twickenham, for instance - and the review might consider changing this. Personally, I've always found it a strange choice. But there are other issues too, like why England sing God Save the Queen?

Also, though I generally admire them as a club, I've always been quite perturbed by Exeter Chiefs' appropriation of racist Native American tropes. A load of middle-aged white blokes dressed in headdresses and warpaint carrying plastic tomahawks emitting war cries? Can't imagine this being tolerated in relation to any other ethic group. Especially one with their history of genocide and oppression.

Re: No more Swing Low ?
Posted by: Chris Hoddle (IP Logged)
Date: 19 June, 2020 11:50

I wonder what else will be targeted? ďAmazing GraceĒ has links as well



http://chrishoddle.smugmug.com/photos/i-TsCHdzK/0/M/i-TsCHdzK-M.gif

Re: No more Swing Low ?
Posted by: shendy (IP Logged)
Date: 19 June, 2020 12:09

Can't someone just write some decent lyrics to the Archers theme tune and use that? It's pretty much the national anthem anyway (according to Billy Connolly)
And it's a lot more jolly.

Re: No more Swing Low ?
Posted by: Saint Matt (IP Logged)
Date: 19 June, 2020 12:22

I'm sure that's tounge in cheek Jazzman, but you must see the difference between a black artist recording a song with links to the slave trade, and a predominantly white, predominantly middle class audience singing it during a sports match... Or as others have said, it being a core part of the RFU marketing.

As Duckonstilts says, dialogue is the answer. It should be the black community who say if it is/isn't offensive and if something needs to change, not a load of old white men...

Re: No more Swing Low ?
Posted by: Hantsaintsrus4 (IP Logged)
Date: 19 June, 2020 12:57

Yep we must vote on it at each game, those who want to sing it should sing, those that don't should keep quiet and kneel down.

Re: No more Swing Low ?
Posted by: Saint Maul (IP Logged)
Date: 19 June, 2020 12:59

Sir Trevor Phillips has also come out saying Swing Low shouldn't be dropped. He makes the point it is a black civil rights song of celebration of freedom and equality rather than oppression. He said Hitler's party tried to ban the song because of this.

From memory the song came about from when Chris Oti played for England at a time when black footballers were facing a lot of horrific abuse. I understood it as a positive affirmation of diversity.

If I misunderstood and it was really intended as derogatory then it was chosen incredibly poorly given the song's civil rights roots!

As long as it is sung with the intention of togetherness and perceived as such. I've never once heard it sung at a time or in a way that had any negative racial connotation.

[P.S. I wrote Hitler's party because the website blocks using the word N*zi]



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 19/06/2020 13:06 by Saint Maul.

Re: No more Swing Low ?
Posted by: stoofer (IP Logged)
Date: 19 June, 2020 13:08

Brian Moore suggests its association with English rugby predates both Offiah and Oti, and may be less high-minded and more juvenile that you suggest St. M.

Hand Gestures?

I've certainly seen it performed with the accompanying gestures in rugby clubs and bars in more recent times.

Re: No more Swing Low ?
Posted by: Stillgrinning (IP Logged)
Date: 19 June, 2020 13:41

Where does it stop if it is banned - what about the anti-English songs sung by the Welsh, Irish and Scots for instance ?

Re: No more Swing Low ?
Posted by: NottsSaint (IP Logged)
Date: 19 June, 2020 13:49

I'll put my hands up to being ignorant of its origins, to me its become a rugby song, thats how I know it,
As per Saint Maul, perhaps its because I dont understand, but Ive read into it today, and best I can gleen, its a song written by a black former slave about either, rather being dead than a slave, or the underground railway that was used to smuggle slaves to safety.
All interpretations I have read, and can make myself are that its an anti-slavery song.
Given this, I am not sure how it can be interpreted as a racist song, its perhaps been mis-appropriated as a rugby song and people have lost the knowledge of its origin, but its not racist (that I can tell).

I recognise, I dont know what I dont know, but I have tried to see why anyone would find it offensive, or it would sit uncomfortably with them.
And I have tried to find information explaining it. Either way, if it is determined that it is, I'm not exactly wedded to singing it and it wont upset me if the official stance is that it should be confined to the history books...

If anyone does understand, I would appreciate being pointed in the right direction so that I can.

Re: No more Swing Low ?
Posted by: stjj (IP Logged)
Date: 19 June, 2020 13:59

Why has it not been mentioned before? Thereís a lot of people jumping on the band wagon imo. Where does it stop? Do we remove the word black from our language?
I suggest that some people, not on here, should look up the meaning of the word racist.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 19/06/2020 14:03 by stjj.

Re: No more Swing Low ?
Posted by: St.Sinner (IP Logged)
Date: 19 June, 2020 14:18

Ignoring all the stuff to do with itís origins and politics etc..
I think itís a rubbish song for us , no relevance to rugby or England. And always been baffled why the hell its sung. Now I know what it is, itís even more confusing and pointless !
Our national anthem is rubbish too. Not knocking the queen before anyone cries. But itís so short, dreary and uninspiring compared to the great anthems of Wales and Ireland especially.

Re: No more Swing Low ?
Posted by: NobbyClarke (IP Logged)
Date: 19 June, 2020 14:35

It's a song, and songs are meant to be heard and sung! Were it a song that glorified the verbal abuse of women and gratuitous use of the "N" word as many do I could understand the uproar.

If someone has decided it's racial origin precludes other ethnic groups from singing it we are in a deep mess. Our very own Saints anthem could reasonably questioned, not by me just to be clear, under the same banner.

Sad that the RFU feel the need to jump on this apologist bandwagon but those are the times we live in, may they pass quickly and we get back to more relevant discussions about the game we love.

Re: No more Swing Low ?
Posted by: PembsSaint (IP Logged)
Date: 19 June, 2020 14:39

Quote:
Chris Hoddle
I wonder what else will be targeted? ďAmazing GraceĒ has links as well

Written by a white repentant former slave trader -
Probably appropriate for these times!

Re: No more Swing Low ?
Posted by: Saint Maul (IP Logged)
Date: 19 June, 2020 14:40

I definitely prefer When the Saints Come Marching In to God Save the Queen or Swing Low. The latter two aren't particularly rousing.

The French and Welsh anthems are the best of the 6 Nations ones for me. Catchy and emotional

Re: No more Swing Low ?
Posted by: BuckSt (IP Logged)
Date: 19 June, 2020 14:54

Quote:
stoofer
I don't think anyone is talking about banning a song?!?


Also, though I generally admire them as a club, I've always been quite perturbed by Exeter Chiefs' appropriation of racist Native American tropes. A load of middle-aged white blokes dressed in headdresses and warpaint carrying plastic tomahawks emitting war cries? Can't imagine this being tolerated in relation to any other ethic group. Especially one with their history of genocide and oppression.

Nail on the head regarding Exeter

Re: No more Swing Low ?
Posted by: gascon saint (IP Logged)
Date: 19 June, 2020 15:58

Brian Moore is correct. It goes back a long way in rugby clubs. I can remember singing it almost 60 years ago along with crude hand gestures - these accompanied the word "coming". But there were many other (non crude) gestures for "swing low", "chariot", "home", "looked over", "band" and "angels". It is only funny when you and your team-mates have had a skinful, and not hugely so even then. It has no logical connection with rugby whatsoever. But then the same could be said for pretty well all rugby club songs of a bawdy nature.
As I understand it, the original song is a @#$%& spiritual sung by slaves in the USA. The "sweet chariot" is an allusion to the system whereby slaves could escape to Canada by undercover routes operated by well-wishers. As such, it can't be regarded as racist or supporting the slave trade.
I do agree, however, that it is a dirge and I would be happy to see it go on grounds of taste rather than political correctness, misguided in this instance.

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