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Politically Incorrect Girl Scout Songs of the 70s: Did We Have A Clue?

Girl scouts sang different songs at camp than girls today—thank goodness!

In 1975, I was ten and had no clue of what I was singing. Some of the songs we sang around the old campfire in Girl Scouts back then would get you burned, or maybe even a lawsuit today! Consider these lyrics: “Big red indian, beats upon his drum, rum tum-tum, rum, tum-tum. Woo-Woo-Woo!” There was an obnoxious hand gesture of hitting your lips in a war cry on the woo-woos!

Another song, which I didn’t get at the time, was about a man named Ruffus Rassius Johnston Brown not paying his rent on time. Another one that I thought was so funny was about Fried Ham, Fried Ham, Cheese and Baloney. Each of the four verses was sung in different ethnically-slurred accents! Gads!

The topper had to be “Just plant a watermelon right on my grave and let the juice slip through…Now Southern fried chicken might taste mighty fine, but nothin’ tastes better than a watermelon rind..”

A sign of the times. Don’t make it right.

I don’t mean to pick on the Girl Scouts. In fact, some of my best childhood memories are from Camp Higganumpus, a Girl Scout camp in Higganum.

We kids picked up politically insensitive lyrics on our transistor radios. At recess, we’d march across the playground belting out, “Half Breed” by Cher at the top of our prepubescent lungs.

It was around this time, thank goodness, of the advent of Archie Bunker and All In the Family. The creators did us a favor by holding up a mirror. Each episode was blaring hyperbole of how small-minded and racist we could be.

Do you remember thinking your older relatives “were just like Archie Bunker”?

There was still some of it going on in the 80s, though. Recall the movie Sixteen Candles by John Hughes starring Molly Ringwald? Whenever the international student staying at the main character’s house appeared in a scene, a gong would sound punctuating his obvious Asian background.

So what is my point? As decades are unfolding now, just rounding my fifth one, I have to believe we are a little less coarse and more sensitive as a society today. I am pretty sure the Girl Scouts of 2014 would only allow sanctioned ditties that are 100% PC as a matter of good conscience, and not fear of litigation.

What do you think? Are we politically correct enough today? Do you think we’ve gone overboard and are too overly PC?

3 Responses to “Politically Incorrect Girl Scout Songs of the 70s: Did We Have A Clue?”

  1. Sean

    Thank God we have come to our senses and think before we speak (or sing) for the most part now. There is no room for racism in an intelligent caring society.

    Reply
  2. Rick

    In many ways, I think we have done well. I remember seeing Blazing Saddles in the last couple years, and more recently seeing Battle of the Network Stars re-runs and was shocked at the terminology and sexism exhibited as normal. That having been said, however, I think in many ways we are becoming overly sensitive to words. People are too quick to yell “Racist”, or “You can’t say that!”, when the intent of the phrase was completely innocent. I am a perfect example. When I say something that may have two different meanings, I typically mean the innocent one because I don’t think in those other terms…unfortunately, when someone catches what I say and “takes it the wrong way”, they call me out and it takes me a moment for my mind to catch on to what the heck they are talking about…of course, when I do finally get it, I have to backpedal, explaining what I meant. Part of that is my own sensitivity to how I use words, but I also think that part of it is the sensitivity of the listener, almost poised waiting to pounce on whatever innocent utterances may be taken in a sexist/racist/homophobic/insert your -ist here/way. I think that our “PC” world may have swung too far the other way. Instead, the intent of the words should be more closely monitored than the words themselves.
    Simple example, “Thank you very much” can be taken as an expression of gratitude for something or it could be taken in a sarcastic manner. If the INTENT was gratitude, it should be taken that way, not pounced upon by others as being sarcastic.
    Just my $.02

    Reply
    • tanjabuzzimoriarty

      Thanks for your thoughts, Rick. I loved singing all the camp songs back then. There were others, of course, that were just silly fun. A round, “Peanut butter, peanut butter. Jelly, jelly, jelly! Bread, bread! Stuck between your teeth.” “A fly walked into a grocery store! Alone, tee-hee, all alone…” Though I realize now, that this song accentuated drunkenness! LOL! A real mix! Final analysis, I grew up appreciating and having friends from all races, many nations. The overtly racist “kid songs” did not influence me adversely.

      Reply

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