This was at mainstream as it gets. So we can assume that interracial relationships were acceptable then. I mean, he's getting it on with a Mexican, an Eskimo, a German, a Chinese, and Polynesian. Only the German is, presumably, white.
Conspiculously absent is any black women. But it seems as though every other race was acceptable to mainstream America by 1961. I just find it interesting.
Perhaps at the time, Mexicans weren't considered a different race. Indeed, I remember a teacher telling us that when he was a boy, Mexicans were considered white. So this notion of Mexicans being non-white probably developed later on in the US (at least post-1961). Indeed, today in Europe (and probably the entire world if they have an interest in such things) Mexicans are considered white.
Eskimos are American Indians but was the writer aware of this? Surely, he knew they weren't white. But even as a child in the 1980s, Eskimos were kind of considered a distinct and little-known group. Sort of semi-mythical. So there's perhaps a comedy element to him having sex with an Inuit. Like nobody would actually do that.
If she's considered an American Indian, I would think it rather progressive to sing about sexual relations with such a woman. Rapes of American Indians by white soldiers and colonists and whatever happened with some frequency but the offspring faced much discrimination. And the last Indian war was in the 1920s so it wasn't really that long ago (from 1961).
Then the Chinese woman. It would be interesting to find out if there's ever been any societal unease about white man/Asian woman relationships. I can't imagine such things were ever prevelent until perhaps...I don't know. Figure the Chinese came to the US enmasse in the 1880s to build the railroads. But maybe just men? And only in the West Coast. There had to be some women but how many of them were marrying white men?
Then...there had to be other waves of immigration because there's loads of these people in the Western states. And by WWII, there were clearly enough Japanese to be considered a threat to national security. And that's just Japanese. Chinese are obviously the biggest Asian immigrant group.
I don't know. Something to look into. But clearly, by 1961, nobody was batting an eye about a white man singing about getting it on with a Chinese woman.
Then the Polynesian. Seems an interesting choice but this was around the time that Hawaii became a state and there was a lot of sexualisation of the women there. Certainly in the 1950s, they were selling lamps and whatnot in the shape of topless hula-dancing women. Probably in the 1940s too.
Even the German seems a daring choice just 15 years from the end of WWII. I mean, they could have chosen any country. Just looking at Europe, there were a fair few to choose from. And nobody associates Germany with any sort of sexualised women. France would be obvious choice here. Maybe Italy. Spain would be good. Just about anywhere. Holland. So why Germany?
Indeed, by 1961, were there already jokes about German women in athletics looking like men? Speaking of East Germany, but the woman in the song is from Berlin so could be East Germany. Also, the song was probably written by a Jew so that adds another odd element.
So you hear about the 1950s being such a conservative time in America but here's the posterboy of 1950s American values singing about all the interracial sex that he engages in and it's a hit song. And it's just 1961 so it's not like the hippies and whatnot were in full swing.
It would appear that the only race-based sexual taboo still in existence as regards white men was black women. I just find it surprising.
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