View Full Version : What Do You Think of This?

maestro wooz
05-17-2007, 02:15 AM
Coon songs almost always aimed to be funny and incorporated the syncopated rhythms of ragtime music.[3][11] Coon songs' defining characteristic, however, was their caricature of African Americans. In keeping with the older minstrel image of blacks, coon songs often featured "watermelon- and chicken-loving rural buffoon[s]."[12] However, "blacks began to appear as not only ignorant and indolent, but also devoid of honesty or personal honor, given to drunkenness and gambling, utterly without ambition, sensuous, libidinous, even lascivious."[12] Blacks were portrayed as making money through gambling, theft, and hustling, rather than working to earn a living.[12]
Coon songs also portrayed blacks as "hot," in this context meaning promiscuous and libidinous. They suggested that the most common living arrangement was a "honey" relationship (unmarried cohabitation), rather than marriage.[13]
Blacks also were portrayed as inclined toward acts of provocative violence. Razors were often featured in the songs and came to symbolize blacks' wanton tendencies.[12] However, violence in the songs was uniformly directed at blacks instead of whites (perhaps to discharge the threatening notion of Black violence amongst the coon songs' predominately white consumers). Hence, the specter of black-on-white violence remained but an allusion.[14] The street-patrolling "bully coon" was often used as a stock character in coon songs.[15]
The songs also showed the social threats that whites believed were posed by blacks. Passing was a common theme,[16] and blacks were portrayed as seeking the status of whites, through education and money.[17] However, blacks rarely, except during dream sequences, actually succeeded at appearing white; they only aspired to do so.[18]