Chances are if you grew up in the United States you are familiar with square dancing, and if you grew up in the Midwest and Southwest you probably took classes as a child and spent weekends dancing with friends at church socials.
Many people still enjoy the down-home country dance and if you are one of those who do – congratulations – you’re a racist! The wackjob leftists are now saying that good old fashioned country square dancing is a “tool of white supremacy”, a conspiracy promoted to oppress Jews and black folks.
According to an article on Quartz Media:
As it turns out, there’s an unusual reason why so many American students spend their formative years learning to do-si-do. Twenty-eight out of 50 states have declared square dancing their official dance. This is part of a coordinated campaign—a dancespiracy, if you will—to make square dancing the official dance of the United States, in the hope that doing so “would give square dancing and its related activities more visibility and have a positive effect on recruiting new dancers.”
But the institutionalization of square dancing isn’t just about the joy of dance. It’s also about America’s legacy of racism and anti-Semitism—and the surprising tools that get used in the effort to uphold whiteness.
The author of the story, Robyn Pennacchia, then goes on to make comparisons between Henry Ford and Hitler.
To understand how square dancing became a state-mandated means of celebrating Americana, it’s necessary to go back to Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Vehicles. Ford hated jazz; he hated the Charleston. He also really hated Jewish people, and believed that Jewish people invented jazz as part of a nefarious plot to corrupt the masses and take over the world—a theory that might come as a surprise to the black people who actually did invent it.
Like Hitler, who greatly admired Ford and even mentioned him approvingly in Mein Kampf, Ford believed that Jewish people were evil geniuses diabolically planning to control the world. Black people, he thought, were not necessarily evil, but certainly not as swift as white people, and were particularly prone to being manipulated and controlled by “the Jews.”
Ford and his wife had long had an interest in what he termed “old fashion dancing.” When he bought the Wayside Inn in Sudsbury, Mass, in 1923, he hired a man named Benjamin Lovett to not only teach square dancing to him and his wife, but also to guests of the Inn. At this time, however, the dance form was already seen as old-fashioned and, well, square. Even in the country, where these kind of dances had once been popular, jazz and swing were taking over.
By bringing back square dancing, as well as other primarily Anglo-Saxon dances like waltzes and quadrilles, Ford believed he would be able to counteract what he saw as the unwholesome influence of jazz on America. People, he imagined, would leave the dance halls and cabarets in droves to swing their partners round and round at liquor-free square dance clubs. If jazz was the cause of America’s moral decay, he reasoned, the road to repair it could be as simple as replacing it with fiddles and square dances.
Ford saw these dances as intrinsically white, and thus more intrinsically wholesome. Along with his wife and their square dance instructor Benjamin Lovett, he campaigned to bring square dancing to the physical education classes of students across the country, believing it would teach children “social training, courtesy, good citizenship, along with rhythm.” The schools agreed, and by 1928, almost half the schools in America were teaching square dancing and other forms of old-fashioned dancing to students.
Pennacchia continues on about a vast conspiracy to establish square dancing as an official national dance, even taking to the states, one by one, to possibly get it established via Constitutional Amendment, Brock Simmons, the GP reports.
Through the next few decades, Modern Western square dance clubs popped up all over the country. In 1965, these clubs—initially led by the California-based National Folk Dance Committee—began their long quest to establish square dancing as the official folk dance of the US.
From 1973 to 2003, there were over 30 bill proposals to make square dance the official folk dance of the United States. Curiously enough though, those who were most opposed to this were folklorists and square dancing purists, who thought that the Western-style square dancing promoted by these clubs was tainted by newfangled moves and their tendency to use recorded music rather than live fiddlers.
The attempt to nationalize square dancing was granted in 1982—but only temporarily. Sponsored by the late West Virginia senator Robert Byrd, a bill passed by the House and Senate and signed by then-president Ronald Reagan declared square dancing the national folk dance of the US for the years 1982 and 1993. The bill praised square dancing because “the American people value the display of etiquette among men and women which is a major element of square dancing,” and as a “traditional form of family recreation” that “dissolves arbitrary social distinctions.”
National groups like the United States Square Dancers and the American Folk Dance committee of LEGACY, International coordinated local and state square dance clubs to lobby their legislators to make square dance their official state folk dance. By convincing two-thirds of the states to do this, they hoped to be able to reintroduce the bill to Congress. To what end? Having more people to square dance with, I suppose.
Since no states at the time even had previously established “state folk dances,” square dance didn’t exactly have a lot of competition. Leaders of these clubs pushed the idea of square dancing as emblematic of “family values” and “American heritage” upon legislators in hopes of getting them to sponsor such bills, to great success. In a letter to the Washington Post defending the push to make square dance the official state dance of Maryland, Richard Peterson, state chairman for Maryland for the American folk dance bill, pleaded, “If we don’t begin to preserve our true American heritage now, what will we have to leave our children?” To which one might respond: Oh, I don’t know—maybe jazz?
Indeed, as Eric Zorn wrote in 1990 for the Chicago Tribune, there’s nothing inherently wrong with square dancing—but there is something sinister about declaring it to be more valuable than any other form of dance. “Legislatively recognizing one folk dance form, or any art form, and placing it above all others is wrong because it denies the diversity of cultural, ethnic and social traditions in America,” he explained. At a 1988 hearing in Washington DC, Zorn wrote, the people testifying against a motion to make square dancing the official American folk dance included “an African-American tap dancer, a Puerto Rican folk music and dance leader, [and] a Native American Indian dancer.” The tap dancer, Honi Coles, noted, “I could walk up and down 125th Street [in Harlem] and shout, `Square dance! Square dance!` and no one would have the faintest idea what I would be talking about.”
As innocuous as state-sponsored square dancing may seem, it’s just one of the many small ways that oppression has shaped the history and culture of the US. If Henry Ford hadn’t been a racist and anti-Semite who believed jazz would be the ruin of our country, square dancing would probably not be a state dance anywhere. And you almost definitely would not have had to do it in gym class.
But there was a ‘plot twist’, turns out that white people stole square dancing from African-Americans… so does that mean white people are, or aren’t racist for square dancing? I don’t think it matters, the entire concept is ridiculous. It’s a dance like any other, you like it, or you don’t.
PLOT TWIST: African-Americans invented square dancing https://t.co/6isIcEw9sy (Full disclosure: I wrote this)
— Erin Blakemore (@heroinebook) December 8, 2017