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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Joe Offer Origins: John Kanaka (50) RE: Origins: John Kanaka 03 Jan 21

Somebody was going to sing "John Kanaka" at San Francisco's Camp Harmony this evening, and somebody objected and the song wasn't sung. The same person objected when somebody sang "Rolling Down to Old Maui" at the Mudcat Singaround a while ago. I said we were going to move on and we could discuss the matter at Mudcat, but a few people said it was horrible that I disregarded the objections.
And then a few weeks ago, I read a few verses of "John Chinaman" songs to a book club I belong to, and one guy jumped all over me for reading such offensive lyrics. Heck, I was reading the lyrics to illustrate how offensive they were. Far more offensive than the use of the term "John Kanaka." But I thought I was talking to adults, who were strong enough to hear bad things without being offended.
I have to say that I think while the word may be objectionable to a very few people, the matter is very obscure. These are two good songs, and I think they should be sung. We can stifle a lot of our culture if we're too careful about what we say. Makes me think of A Chat With Your Mother.
Maybe we all need to ease up.

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