Is the term ‘jungle drums’ racist?

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  • Is the term ‘jungle drums’ racist?
  • Doris I agree on being understanding but that comes with the caveat of understanding the why of the situation and not just accepting anything is a pejorative term based solely on one person’s say so.

    Your point about the reverse not being true holds no water here. Its not like he called him a [insert pejorative term] which then became acceptable when he left the room. The comment was not directed at him, was not used in a derogatory fashion and thus far whilst people have a couple of links to one other sole case where it caused offence nobody has managed to provide any evidence that it is racist in any way shape or form. This isnt a case of people deciding what’s not demonstrably racist as opposed to folk arbitrarily deciding something is racist with no proof whatsoever.

    If we can just decide what’s a pejorative term with no reasonable proof needed then as a Scot I expect the next person to use the terms ‘Edinburgh defence’ and ‘Scot free’ to feel the ban hammer. If anyone objects to this then how dare you decide what is and isn’t offensive.

    Sui
    Member

    Im with the “not racist” brigade on this. Its ridiculous to even think it is, its a popular colloquial term for disseminating information. Someone early mentioned about smoke signals, well these could just as easily be racist to Indigenous Americans, or anywhere else smoke was used in the world – im certain no-one will find it offensive though.

    To the OP, I think you’ve done yourself, and even the offendee a disservice by acknowledging his “offence”. There is no right in life to be “offended” just because you feel that way, sometimes you have to accept your just plain wrong and to get over it. I’d go as far to say, you need to go back to him and in a more polite way, say – “im not sorry actually, you’re just being a ****, and if you want to take it further, bring on a tribunal (or whatever)

    There’s a Stephen fry snippet somewhere that says it better..

    BruceWee
    Member

    Oh good, the ‘Black people, get over it!’ brigade have arrived.

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    Blimey! Its all gone a bit Jim Davidson on here, hasn’t it?

    Sui
    Member

    No the

    BruceWee

    Member
    Oh good, the ‘Black people, get over it!’ brigade have arrived.

    that’s not what is being said at all, and your ignorance to suggest it is plays a part in the problem of overly-sensitive views being given creedance. I think through the various posts we’ve mostly agreed there is nothing inherently worng with the saying, therefore the point about telling anyone who sees offense in something that they should not, irrepsecitve of colour, creed, sex that they do not have a valid point is right.

    BruceWee
    Member

    You literally told the OP to go and find this black person and tell him to ‘Get over it, you ****!’, you massive massive lunatic.

    johndoh
    Member

    I have not read all the responses, but my take on this is that if the OP had said the phrase directly to or referencing any person ‘of African descent’ then it could be considered racist but, if it was said as a term simply to suggest there is idle gossip running through the company then I think it would be quite absurd to suggest it was used in a racist manner.

    stevextc
    Member

    Aren’t “whitesplaining” and “mansplaining” racist and sexist by definition?

    Many terms however depend where you are and context… my mate was offended being told he couldn’t use the word “black” to describe himself but must use the word African American which he found offensive being Beninese.
    Even after he’d explained he was African not in any way American and found the American part inappropriate they refused to back down which is when he started to get offended.

    Sui
    Member

    BruceWee

    Member
    You literally told the OP to go and find this black person and tell him to ‘Get over it, you ****!’, you massive massive lunatic.

    No, i said go and find ‘the’ person who is being unduley sensitive to get over it.. At no point did i, or anyone else say “black people need to get over it”.. Context is important, and without leads to injustice or otherwise trial by media snippet like what you are doing.. POint stands – the OP should not have apologised and frankly going back to someone and saying, “do you know what, i’ve thought about this and actually i’ve come to some very carefull consideration, that i was not wrong and i believe you having taken a common term, and turned it to to bolster an invlaid view is injust”…

    Premier Icon binners
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    I’m sure that approach would end really, really well

    Definitely.

    Sui
    Member

    binners

    Subscriber
    I’m sure that approach would end really, really well

    Definitely.

    so are we afraid to put people right for fear of offending their incorrect view? Should we not say, do you know hat mate, that grass clearly isn’t blue, it’s green… Surely, and i’ll wager that at some point in your life someone has had to tell you you are wrong, and you may have considered it and gone, yeah i was. But what if they didnt tell you you were wrong, and you continued to push you [incorrect] view to the detriment of others – would that be good??

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    I’m not too sure now

    Clearly I’m not blessed with your extensive experience in international diplomacy and race relations

    tpbiker
    Member

    No it’s not racist. And of course you won’t get into trouble from hr. At worst you may be asked to refrain from using the term again.

    tjagain
    Member

    Just read what Molegrips said. He explained it well.

    FFS guys get over yourselves. Its not the 1970s.

    tjagain
    Member

    “Put people right?” A member of the white majority telling a member of the black minority that considered a statement racist that they are wrong? You cannot see what is wrong t=with that. jeepers. Before you judge a man walk a mile in his shoes

    The problem is you actually have to be able to tell me why it is racist though don’t you.

    No, I don’t – I’m white, I’m not a victim of racism, I haven’t experienced it. What I am trying to do is prompt you to listen and think, rather than act like you know all about it.

    Right molly, but that’s the point. I’m all ears. I am listening & you are unable to tell me why it is racist. I can’t avoid using racist phrases unless I have an idea why that phrase in particular (& even more importantly why a whole susbset of phrases which some people might think racist) unless I am able to recognise the factors that make the wording problematic.

    Before you judge a man walk a mile in his shoes

    …then you can say whatever you like, because you’re a mile away and you have his shoes.

    Premier Icon BigJohn
    Subscriber

    But if we stop using jungle drums, then we’re going to get the bass solo. And that’s what we all fear.

    trumpton
    Member

    I feel sorry for you OP. It is so easy to offend nowadays without intention. I’d be nice to him and ask him why it’s offensive so you have more insight and say your sorry.

    johnx2
    Member

    Init. Whether the language is racist is almost a side issue (albeit it’s got a few folk rather het up for some reason…). The main issue is not apologising for causing inadvertent offence.

    If I accidentally upset someone, I dunno, swhose granny had died of albumen poisoning, I’d not spend ages trying to justify myself and say really if they see things in a balanced way “teaching your granny to suck eggs” was a perfectly normal thing for me to say.so they should just get over it, especially as it was ten years ago and albumen poisoning isn’t a thing. You’d say, “really sorry, I had no idea, i’m really really sorry” wouldn’t you? Job done.

    Jungle drums? Nah. I take it back. As I type the phrase it now makes me think of casual use of clearly racist terms for black people with the word ‘jungle’in them, and on to bongo bongo land’, umbongo umbongo they drink it in the congo – yep that’s what’s lying round in my head. The 70s eh? What a time for free speech.

    But mainly:

    The bigger crime is it sounds like something David Brent would say

    Sui
    Member

    “Put people right?” A member of the white majority telling a member of the black minority

    here we go again – information snippets not used in context – are you “The Sun”, or the “Daily Wail”

    I have at no point used the term “people” in the perjortive of black vs white (or any other colour for that matter), to the contrary i made it explicityly clear, that any view point, no matter where it is coming from directed at whatever “crowd” (for want of a better term) where that view is not valid, is absolutley correct that people (again, not associating with any specific creed, colour, sex) should be called out and people (see last statement) should not be afraid to correct people (again see previous explanation).

    hodgynd
    Member

    @ Molgrips
    I wasnt aware that I was defending any position ..you really must try to stop second guessing what I’m thinking ( you’re not that clever ).
    It was a rhetorical question ..I was merely posting a link to a video which shows that drums are used in jungles / heavily forested areas as a form of communication ..I hadn’t actually given any personal opinion as to whether I thought it was a racist comment ..however for once I’m in complete agreement with your assertion that ” no no no it really is not ..”
    As for the rest of your post ..pure fluff…your veiled insults are water off a ducks back ” (apologies to any ducks who might find that comment offensive)..

    tjagain
    Member

    Again – trumpton has it

    Its an easy solution:

    “I did not realise that could be seen as racist, help me understand”

    It is both hilarious and frustrating watching white folk telling black folk what is racist and what is not.

    Premier Icon kennyp
    Subscriber

    Of course “jungle drums” is racist. They are words after all and therefore people are perfectly entitled to get offended by them.

    Reminds me of the time I saw the word “haggis” used. As a Scot I was utterly shocked. Okay it was on a restaurant menu, in Glasgow, but all the same the sheer racism off it made me almost choke on my deep fried Irn-Bru.

    scotroutes
    Member

    It is both hilarious and frustrating watching white folk telling black folk what is racist and what is not.

    As funny as watching an atheist define what is, and isn’t anti-semitic?

    johnx2
    Member

    I have at no point used the term “people” in the perjortive of black vs white (or any other colour for that matter), to the contrary i made it explicityly clear, that any view point, no matter where it is coming from directed at whatever “crowd” (for want of a better term) where that view is not valid, is absolutley correct that people (again, not associating with any specific creed, colour, sex) should be called out and people (see last statement) should not be afraid to correct people (again see previous explanation).

    I got lost halfway.

    Sui
    Member

    johnx2

    Member
    I have at no point used the term “people” in the perjortive of black vs white (or any other colour for that matter), to the contrary i made it explicityly clear, that any view point, no matter where it is coming from directed at whatever “crowd” (for want of a better term) where that view is not valid, is absolutley correct that people (again, not associating with any specific creed, colour, sex) should be called out and people (see last statement) should not be afraid to correct people (again see previous explanation).

    I got lost halfway.

    its OK i got lost halfway through writting it

    johndoh
    Member

    How about ‘smoke signals’? Racist?

    It is both hilarious and frustrating watching white folk telling black folk what is racist and what is not.

    So… Let’s take the ‘nitty-gritty’ example. Let’s just assume that it has been convincing demonstrated that the phrase has nothing at all to do with slave ships or derived from a racist French phrase or whatever & instead is just an adaption of the word grit. Humour me on this. Do you think that you shouldn’t actually point this out to someone who is accusing you of using a racist phrase?

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I wasn’t aware that I was defending any position

    No I think you are, internally. But yeah just a supposition.

    Right molly, but that’s the point. I’m all ears. I am listening & you are unable to tell me why it is racist.

    I’m not going to tell you why or even if it’s racist – I’m white, it wouldn’t really be appropriate even if I thought I knew. I’m suggesting things to think about as to why people might be upset by this use of language.

    It’s pretty clear the OP was oblivious to the impact of his words and is entirely innocent. But we should take this as an opportunity to think about things from a different point of view. Not have a cock fight about who’s right.

    As funny as watching an atheist define what is, and isn’t anti-semitic?

    Oof!

    johnx2
    Member

    As funny as watching an atheist define what is, and isn’t anti-semitic?

    top derail. 4 pages?

    The traditional drumming found in Africa is actually of three different types. Firstly, a rhythm can represent an idea (or signal). Secondly it can repeat the accentual profile of a spoken utterance or thirdly it can simply be subject to musical laws.

    Drum communication methods are not languages in their own right; they are based on actual natural languages. The sounds produced are conventionalized or idiomatic signals based on speech patterns. The messages are normally very stereotyped and context-dependent. They lack the ability to form new combinations and expressions.

    In central and east Africa, drum patterns represent the stresses, syllable lengths and tone of the particular African language. In tone languages, where syllables are associated with a certain tone, some words are distinguished only by their suprasegmental profile. Therefore, syllable drum languages can often transfer a message using the tonal phonemes alone.

    In certain languages, the pitch of each syllable is uniquely determined in relation to each adjacent syllable. In these cases, messages can be transmitted as rapid beats at the same speed as speech as the rhythm and melody both match the equivalent spoken utterance.

    Misinterpretations can occur due to the highly ambiguous nature of the communication. This is reduced by context effects and the use of stock phrases. For example, in Jabo, most stems are monosyllabic. By using a proverb or honorary title to create expanded versions of an animal, person’s name or object, the corresponding single beat can be replaced with a rhythmic and melodic motif representing the subject. In practice not all listeners understand all of the stock phrases; the drum language is understood only to the level of their immediate concern.

    http://begin-english.ru/stati-na-angliiskom/drums-in-communication

    Some context. But of course, as in all forms of communication – the irony is that the intent and context is interpreted not by the transmitter but the receiver. Am currently enjoying (sarcasm) the fourth consecutive year of familial estrangement owing to the **** grapevinedrumwhispers over spouse email to in-law. It was perceived by the receiver as an insult (an inversion of context and meaning, ie it was intended as support through a tough time) and then no amount of explanation would shift the wrong perception. So, the meaning of the communication was perfectly inverted and then used against the sender.

    Once someone decides to take ‘offence’, they will often heavily invest in being ‘right’ and never, ever back down, neither have the humility or empathy to see that it is in fact they who are causing the harm and hurt. Or maybe they can see, and think ‘job done’. Who knows?

    * Irony writ large! (As per OP)in spoken and written lamguage the misintepretation is often increased by using a stock phrase.

    For instance, when I tried to moderate aforementioned family spat by suggesting that that the email in question had been subject to an ‘uncharitable interpretation’ – the response was much crying and an angry ‘I don’t want charity’. So you see, sometimes there is literally no way to escape the permanently offended unless you speak in ‘their language’. But if their ‘language’ is primarily emotional and skewed – then the effort becomes gargantuan and usually fruitless.

    Sit tight and stick to your guns.

    I’m not going to tell you why or even if it’s racist – I’m white, it wouldn’t really be appropriate even if I thought I knew. I’m suggesting things to think about as to why people might be upset by this use of language.

    So the logical outcome of this is that as a white person, I will end up going around using offensive phrases (at least until I am informed about each individual, specific phrase by a black person) because apparently I have no way of knowing what is racist and what isn’t…… really?

    Edukator
    Member

    Before you judge a man walk a mile in his shoes

    Sexist expression that. I suggest using “before you judge a person walk a mile in their shoes”.

    before you judge a person walk a mile in their shoes”.

    Discriminates against people in wheelchairs, that does.

    johnx2
    Member

    So the logical outcome of this is that as a white person, I will end up going around using offensive phrases (at least until I am informed about each individual, specific phrase by a black person) because apparently I have no way of knowing what is racist and what isn’t…… really?

    …and not just racist language – there’s all kinds of ways in human interaction you can put your foot in it. I mean common sense and knowledge help a bit, as does being open to learning, but mainly just try being polite and saying sorry when you’ve got something wrong.

    you can put your foot in it.

    Amputeeist!

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    If we’re doing it in a non-sexist way, does that mean we all have to potentially walk a mile in a pair of stiletto’s?

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