Racist Song
Everyday Racism
The racist origins of the all well known Ice Cream Truck Jingle.

Time to ruin your summer with some history. Did you know that the ice cream truck jingle from *look at the first link* is based on a coon song? Coon songs were a genre of music that presented a stereotype of black people. They were popular in the United States, Europe and Australia from around 1880 to 1920, though the earliest such songs date from minstrel shows as far back as 1848. However this wasn't first iteration of this song. No, the first one has a very familiar sound if you've ever grew up with Tom & Jerry and Loony Tunes *Look at the second link*. "Turkey in the Straw" was initially a popular tune for fiddle players. In the late 1820s and early 1830s, "Turkey in the Straw" was performed in minstrel shows by blackface actors and musicians, notably George Washington Dixon. years later a new song was made with similar tune and stars in a black caricature, Zip Coon. *look at the third link* The Zip Coon character was an urban dandy, the complete opposite of the Jim Crow character who was depicted as rural. Zip Coon wore a blue long-tailed jacket, a frilly lacy front shirt, watch fob and jewelry. At least 3 different performers claimed to have written the song - George Washington Dixon who is mentioned on the cover of sheet music published by J.L. Hewitt & Co. sometime between 1830 and 1835, George Nichols, who was an early blackface clown in circuses, and Bob Farrell, who was actually known as "Zip Coon", and is known to have performed it in New York in 1834. The song also had multiple versions in lyrics. Later until the early 20th century. The song got a new iteration, with a title and lyrics so ignorant I wont include the name *look at the fourth link*. This song became very popular. The ice cream crossover happened concurrently: 19th century ice cream parlors played the popular minstrel songs of the day. After World War II, the advent of the automobile and the ensuing sprawl required parlors to devise a way to take their products to customers. Ice cream trucks were the solution, and a music box was installed in them as a way to announce their presence in neighborhoods. Naturally, the traditional minstrel tunes of the previous century were employed to evoke the memorable parlor experience. This is the story of why our beloved ice cream truck plays blackface minstrel music that sends kids dashing into homes in a Pavlovian frenzy searching for money to buy a Popsicle *for more information, look at the fifth link*.
Alyeard Whitter | | | |
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Created on 2020-07-07 at 19:18 and last updated on 2020-07-08 at 03:06.