Does Singing Jingles Bells Make You A Racist?

Everyone – make that most people know – certain traditions around Christmas are rooted in racism.

For instance the Dutch have Sinterklaas aka Santa Claus, who has a little sidekick named Zwarte Piet aka Black Pete.

Starting around Christmas time, thousands of the Dutch people can be seen walking around in blackface celebrating Black Pete.

In similar fashion, a theater historian is claiming that one of the most well-known Christmas carols is actually steeped in racism.

Kyna Hamill, a BU theater historian, claims the popular tune was written by James Pierpont, who composed “Jingle Bells” for singers to perform in blackface.

“Pierpont capitalized on minstrel music and entered upon a ‘safe’ ground for satirizing black participation in northern winter activities,” Hamill wrote in a paper published on Cambridge Core.

“As a result, the sentimental narrative of this popular song that has persisted for so long requires some unraveling in order to examine the traces of its blackface minstrel origins,” Kyna Hamill wrote.