A professor claims that the holiday song Jingle Bells was racist due to its original performance that involved blackface and offensive acts.
‘The legacy of ‘Jingle Bells’ is one where its blackface and racist origins have been subtly and systematically removed from its history,’ said Kyna Hamill, a theatre historian from Boston University, in her research paper, making waves on social media.
The claim shocked fans that traditionally listen to the famous Christmas carol, which has long been considered to be very inoffensive and family friendly.
Hamill started to research the song’s origins in order to settle an argument between Medford, Massachusetts as well as Savannah, Georgia – who both claim to have the location when the composer James Lord Pierpont, wrote the song.
Throughout her research, Hamill found that the playbill had been originally performed the name One Horse Open Sleigh as characters wore blackface.
‘Its origins emerged from the economic needs of a perpetually unsuccessful man, the racial politics of antebellum Boston, the city’s climate, and the inter-theatrical repertoire of commercial blackface performers moving between Boston and New York,’ said Hamill in her research paper.
Her claims, which were published last September, attracted an angry reaction from fans who feel as if she is attacking their Christmas traditions.
‘Jingle Bells is racist, White Christmas is racist, Baby it’s Cold Outside is sexist. What the hell happened to America I grew up in where people didn’t wake up every day trying to find something to be offended by?,’ said one user on Twitter.
‘What the hell is wrong with these liberal professors to do they have nothing better to do besides sit around and Pick A Part our history and call everything racist,’ said another.
Hamill has since spoken out about the research, saying it was misinterpreted.
‘In 1857 when it was performed in blackface — that is white men blackening up with burnt cork on their faces — it would have been racist,’ the professor said to the Boston Herald.
‘I never said it was racist now,’ Hamill stated.. ‘Nowhere did I say that.’