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  1. #1
    The Dentist English Noodles's Avatar
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    Swing Low, Sweet Chariot: England Rugby Bosses to Review Slavery Link

    Swing Low, Sweet Chariot: England rugby bosses to review anthem's 'historical context' amid slavery link

    The anthem dates back to its credited author, Wallace Willis, who was a freed Oklahoma slave.

    Rugby union bosses in England are to carry out a review into the "historical context" of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot - an anthem regularly sung by thousands of fans during matches at Twickenham.


    The song has its roots in American slavery in the 19th century, which many supporters may be unaware of.





    England's governing body, the Rugby Football Union, has said it wants to educate fans about its origins, as well as undertaking the review.


    It comes after global Black Lives Matter protests, including in the UK, about racial inequality in the wake of the police killing of unarmed black man George Floyd in Minneapolis.


    The anthem has been sung by fans since the late 1980s, but it dates back to its credited author, Wallace Willis, who was a freed Oklahoma slave.


    It became a popular spiritual song in the early 20th century and was popularised again among folk musicians during the civil rights movement of the 1960s.




    In 1987, it was sung by fans at Twickenham during a Middlesex Sevens tournament when Martin "Chariots" Offiah played.


    The fast winger was given the nickname Chariots Offiah as a play on words with the movie Chariots of Fire, about two runners competing in the 1924 Olympics.


    The RFU has decided many fans are unaware of the anthem's story and is ready to address the issue.
    A spokesperson said: "The RFU has stated we need to do more to achieve diversity and we are determined to accelerate change and grow awareness.


    "The Swing Low, Sweet Chariot song has long been part of the culture of rugby and is sung by many who have no awareness of its origins or sensitivities.


    "We are reviewing its historical context and our role in educating fans to make informed decisions."

    The BBC has said that it will no longer permit the anthem to be heard on any of the corporations future broadcasts.



    Swing Low, Sweet Chariot: England rugby bosses to review anthem's 'historical context' amid slavery link | UK News | Sky News

  2. #2
    Hangin' Around cyrille's Avatar
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    It's really fake.

    A Morris Dance equivalent to the hakka would be more appropriate, and allow Englishmen to show pride in their roots.



    But clearly there's nothing in that story to suggest anyone is thinking of banning the song, before our cerebrally challenged friends chime in.

  3. #3
    Hangin' Around cyrille's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by English Noodles View Post
    The BBC has said that it will no longer permit the anthem to be heard on any of the corporations future broadcasts.
    Noodle noddle has added this part himself.




    Following the editing of my post...this one should get the same treatment, Mods.

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    I've always thought it was a bit odd to have a African American spiritual co-opted like that. Does add to the spectacle and occasion though, no doubting that, however:

    Earlier this week Maro Itoje, the England international, expressed his concerns over the use of the song, explaining that its "background… is complicated".

    "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" was written in about 1865 by a former slave Wallace Willis and was widely adopted by the US civil rights movement a century later.

    ...

    Brian Moore, the former England international and Telegraph columnist, said he would be pleased if the song is banned.

    "I have always hated it," he said, "It is not appropriate. It has slave connotations and if the RFU makes that ruling I would be pleased."
    If the man widely tipped to captain England and a former international (*Name Drop Alert* who I've met incidentally, top bloke) aren't for it then good enough for me.

    Cue the outrage on here again by those bemoaning something they've never previously been that interested in though I suppose.


  5. #5
    Thailand Expat Dillinger's Avatar
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    Yay.... another bandwagon.

    Nah maybe not.

    Although God Save the Queen is probably worse with what the first Queen Elizabeth got up to.

    The British monarchy's involvement in slavery

  6. #6
    Thailand Expat
    Headworx's Avatar
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    Nothing better than listening to English fans singing swing low when they're down by 40 with 8 minutes left on the clock. Makes me smile every time.

  7. #7
    Thailand Expat Pragmatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by English Noodles View Post
    In 1987, it was sung by fans at Twickenham during a Middlesex Sevens tournament when Martin "Chariots" Offiah played.
    May be it'll be banned but I doubt it'll stop being sung. As I recall it's been sung in many a club house post game since before 1987. The reason IMO was that it was a song that could be interacted with. IE the Swing Low, Cumming, Carry, Home was acted out. In no way was it meant to take the piss out of blacks. Far from it. Many a black player took part in the singing and acting out and they never claimed to be offended. All this banning is stupid and I think the tradition will go on. Who's to stop them?

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat Dillinger's Avatar
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    Going back to this racist angle, Ant.

    Shouldn't the name The All Blacks be outlawed? It was a racist name given by the Brits.

    What about Mostly Blacks?


    The emergence of the name All Blacks occurred during this tour when, according to team member , a London newspaper reported that the New Zealanders played as if they were "all backs". Wallace claimed that because of a typographical error, subsequent references were to "All Blacks". This account is most likely a myth, because of their black playing strip, the side was probably referred to as the Blacks before they left New Zealand. Even though the name All Blacks probably didn't originate during their trip, the tour certainly popularised it.

  9. #9
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dillinger
    Shouldn't the name The All Blacks be outlawed? It was a racist name given by the Brits.
    You can't be racist against an item of clothing unless you're trying too hard.

    And yes, that 'all backs' thing is a myth.

  10. #10
    Hangin' Around cyrille's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyrille View Post
    But clearly there's nothing in that story to suggest anyone is thinking of banning the song, before our cerebrally challenged friends chime in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pragmatic View Post
    May be it'll be banned.


  11. #11
    Its all gleaming
    NamPikToot's Avatar
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    and the whole cultural appropriation angle

  12. #12
    ความรู้ลึกลับ HuangLao's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dillinger View Post
    Going back to this racist angle, Ant.

    Shouldn't the name The All Blacks be outlawed? It was a racist name given by the Brits.

    What about Mostly Blacks?

    Mostly Polynesian.....??

  13. #13
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyrille
    our cerebrally challenged friends
    There's a queue.


  14. #14
    Hangin' Around cyrille's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NamPikToot View Post
    and the whole cultural appropriation angle
    Pah, makes you wonder what ant was doing during the civil war, eh?


  15. #15
    Its all gleaming
    NamPikToot's Avatar
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    ^ what are you driveling about Syb, i was talking about the song. Loons on here, proper loons.

  16. #16
    Hangin' Around cyrille's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuangLao View Post
    Mostly Polynesian.....??


    Roll another dobbie, jeff.

  17. #17
    Thailand Expat Dillinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pragmatic View Post
    Who's to stop them?


  18. #18
    Thailand Expat Pragmatic's Avatar
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    Swing low lives matter.

  19. #19
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pragmatic
    ow lives matter.
    To you yes, clearly.


  20. #20
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pragmatic View Post
    Swing low lives matter.

    dumb fuck

  21. #21
    The Dentist English Noodles's Avatar
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    The last time people tried to ban it was 1939 in Nazi Germany.

  22. #22
    Hangin' Around cyrille's Avatar
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    ^ Chalk another one up.

    Is it OK to doctor stories in the news sections, mods?

  23. #23
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    This chap doesn't feel like singing a African American spiritual with roots in slavery at England rugby matches is a good idea because of its history making it problematic and ill-suited:





    Feel free to take it up with him directly.

    He's 6'5" and 115kg. Just saying.

  24. #24
    Thailand Expat Dillinger's Avatar
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    Here's Martin Offiah who is only 6 foot 1 and 91kgs but with far broader shoulders

    Martin Offiah hopes Swing Low, Sweet Chariot review helps fans have 'stronger affinity' with 'BAME players'
    Offiah: "I don't think the song needs to be banned. I just think we are singing it with an enlightened view. Maybe we will have a stronger affinity with the BAME players who are playing the game on the field"

    "I am learning that I am part of the history of the song and I am proud of that fact," Offiah told Sky Sports News.

    "I have had a lot worse things sung at me back in the early and late 1980s playing rugby union and rugby league, rather than 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot'.
    Martin Offiah hopes Swing Low, Sweet Chariot review helps fans have 'stronger affinity' with 'BAME players' | Rugby Union News | Sky Sports

  25. #25
    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    ...perhaps an updated version:


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