From England, A Great Stupid Christmas

Looking on the bright side, it’s heartening to know that after all these years, the United States is still less censorious than our cousins across the pond.

Two British radio stations ( Heart FM and Magic Radio; the BBC is said to be considering following their lead) have censored a line of Johnny Mathis’s song “When a Child Is Born” because of listener complaints that it is “racist.” On the recording of Mathis’s Christmas song that he introduced in the Seventies, the African-American singer speaks about the significance of Jesus’s birth:

And all this happens because the world is waiting–waiting for one child…black, white, yellow, no one knows. But a child that would grow up and turn tears to laughter, hate to love, war to peace, and everyone to everyone’s neighbor. And misery and suffering will be words to be forgotten forever.

What’s the racist part, you well may ask? It’s “yellow!”

“Black”‘s OK for blacks, thought they aren’t really black, and “white”‘s fine for whites, but “yellow” is racist. What is the vernacular for Asian skin-tone, then? Wait, is calling Donald Trump “orange” also racist? Who can keep up with these rules. much less the floating, ever flexible definition of “racist.” What an amazing word: it’s there anything it can’t do? It’s like duct tape or Silly Putty! A black singer speaking about how skin-color is irrelevant can be racist!


9 thoughts on “From England, A Great Stupid Christmas

  1. The offense is actually three-fold:

    1. In the song, “black” should be written as “Black”l
    2. The reference to “white” should be deleted, or at least annotated that “white” is a privileged oppressor, and
    3. The reference to Asians as “yellow” should also be capitalized as “Yellow” but making sure to show that “yellow” in the song refers to people from Asia and not the cowards commonly known as “yellow”.


    • Only if you let it. The mere fact that those who level the accusation believe only one race is a belligerent toward others is in itself racist. Remind them of that fact

  2. The irreplaceable, easily identifiable voice of Mr.Mathis is greatly appreciated. However, the Child has been born. His name is Jesus, That child grew to suffer passion, death, and resurrection. Before then he preached, taught, and practiced what is asked for in the song. Most of his followers try to do the same. Alo t do not succeed in being true to the child. But the hope remains that we children will grow in intimate and imitative relationship with THE CHILD
    The assault on THE CHILD continues when we do not name HIS NAME, comprehend what HE was, and not practice what he preached and exhorted us to do.
    Yes, Mr.Mathis, the child was born. To the myriads who sing “Mary Did You Know?” the answer is definitely YES- she knew, Joseph knew, the shepherds knew, the magi knew0, even the evil Herod knew.

  3. Wait, I thought black people couldn’t be racist? Wasn’t that the rule up until five minutes ago? Someone should really be writing these rules down, otherwise people might start suspecting that they’re capricious and arbitrary, tailored individually to each situation in order to express unearned power over other people.

  4. Yellow in his song is supposed to be about Asians. However, yellow, has often been associated with negative connotations towards lighter skinned Africans as well. The term “high steppin’ yellow” comes to mind as a term to denigrate lighter skinned Africans for acting superior to darker skinned ones.

  5. And through all of this it occurs to NO ONE that “yellow” might be being used as a metaphor to say that the color doesn’t really matter and thus we say the name of a color that doesn’t really represent any particular race?

    Change the line to “black, white, purple, no one knows” and see if they can figure it out.

    Oh right, not caring about skin color is white supremacy or some other such bullshit these days.

    Never mind, I’ll stop trying to play chess with the pigeon now.


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