Acka-backa, soda cracker

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Jan 29 02:29:35 UTC 2005

At 4:02 PM -0500 1/28/05, Wilson Gray wrote:
>A version of this is the only instance of anti-Semitism that I recall
>from my childhood, ca.1940-1950.
>Acka-backa soda cracker
>If your daddy chews tobacco
>He's a dirty Jew
>One two three means
>"Out goes you"
>The first person out was "it" in a game of hide-and-(go-)seek or

Curious the way these choosing rituals incorporated ethnic slurs.  In
our neighborhood (Washington Heights, NYC, c. 1950) it was always

Eenie meenie meinie moe
Catch a tiger by the toe
If he hollers let him go
My mother said to pick this very one
Y-O-U spells you

(If you got away with it, you stretched it out with fillers until you
picked whoever you wanted to pick in the first place, but the first
three lines were invariant.)

But at some point I learned, to my horror, that this was bowdlerized
from the original, which was not based on the t-word.

And I see the cultural memory persists--
March 05, 2003
Toe Jam

 From the ArcaMax news service:
An April 15 trial date has been set by a Kansas City, Mo., judge for
a lawsuit against Southwest Airlines over a flight attendant who was
heard on the plane's intercom system saying, "Eenie, meenie, minie,
moe, pick a seat, we've got to go." Flight attendant Jennifer Cundiff
was boarding passengers, the Kansas City Star reports, when she
recited the ditty that has, in the past, been used as a racial slur
against blacks. Sisters Grace Fuller and Louise Sawyer sued, claiming
the airline was guilty of racism because the saying -- the original
version goes: Eenie, meenie, minie, moe, catch a n----- by the tow
(sic) -- was aimed at them.


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