To whom it may concern:
I was wondering if it has been brought to your attention regarding the unfortunate decision by Jars of Clay to use a racial stereotype in “The Valley Song”. Specifically, I am referring to the lyric that goes “When
death, like a gypsy, comes to steal what I love…”. I’m sure this was not intended in a malevolent way, but it is an unfortunate choice of words at best. It’s such a shame because it ruins what is an otherwise wonderful
piece of music, at least for me.
WNAZ, a station you sponsor, has been notified of this situation but for some reason continues to give this song airtime. As a sponsor of WNAZ, I hope you will exert your influence on the station manager to pull this song
from the station’s playlist. I may have been the only one to respond to this issue in writing to date, but they say for every letter written there are one hundred unwritten letters.
Here is some information on the Gypsies:
“Gypsies,” or the “Roma” as they prefer to be called, are an ethnic group
which originated in India (their language-Romany-is directly descended from
Sanskrit) which for unknown reasons took to a wandering lifestyle in the
late middle ages. Eventually they reached Europe and became part of the
ethnic mix of many countries, contributing much in areas such a music and
The Nazi regime viewed Gypsies both as “asocials” (outside “normal” society)
and as racial “inferiors” – believed to threaten the biological purity and
strength of the “superior Aryan” race.
As many as 250,000 to half a million Gypsies perished in the Nazi death
camps of World War II, according to scholarly estimates reported by the
Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.
I have been a loyal listener of WNAZ for quite some time, but will stop
supporting the station and its sponsors if this song continues to be played.
I just hope this issue will be addressed publicly and in the proper way so
that there will be no possibility of the gospel being hindered.
Michael N. Burch
I am sorry the song offended you, but I do not find it offensive. I think our nation has lost its
mind in the PC race to see which group can be most offended by by what they perceive as
racial stereotypes. I am Scotch Irish and I do not get offended by Scottish frugality jokes
or Irish drinking/cop/talkative/all-day-and-night-in-the-pub jokes. My Scotch-Irish father,
whom I loved very much, was both frugal and an alcoholic, but to take the Irish banter
seriously would be foolish on my part. People telling an Irish joke are not directing them at
me or my father – they are just going for a little levity.
Additionally, I cannot go to the movies or watch TV without hearing someone do an awful parady of a Southern accent and Southern mannerisms. If I took this seriously and let it offend me, I would be a misearble person!
As a student of history I am well aware of the persecution faced by the gypsies, but I am
also well aware that some groups of Roma stole or conned people as they passed through towns.
This has become part of their colorful history just as Irish pubs and leprechauns, not to mention Scarlett O’Hara batting her eyes, have become a part of my own colorful ethnic story.
Personally, I find it offensive that Americans now have to watch every word that comes out
of their mouths for fear of offending someone. We have to daily change the terms
associated with a particular group – is it handicapped today or physically challenged or mobility impaired? Is it
retarded, slow learner, learning impaired, or mentally challenged now? (By the way, I have a sibling who is a slow learner). Is it negro, colored, black, or African American now? Is it Spanish, hispanic, or latino these days?
We can no longer jew someone down, jerry rig a car, pinch pennies like a Scott, drink like
an Irishman, bring out the Irish in someone… or steal like a gypsy for fear of offending someone.
In no way do I think people should be ridiculed for their ethnicity or handicaps, but the extremes to which we have gone to make sure no one can take something we say the wrong way are ridiculous. In a similar vein, the special services and considerations demanded by more and more PC-emboldened special-interest groups are costly for taxpayers and lethal to many small businesses. We must raise ticket prices for everyone to provide extra seat width for fat people (or is it heavy or weight impaired now?); ramps and easy access for “movement impaired” individuals; additional instructions in Spanish and other languages for everything from employment forms to school instructions; Tenn Care for illegal aliens (as well as Tennessee drivers licenses) all in an effort to be “sensitive.”
We must hire people and/or rent to people whose lifestyles we find in direct opposition to
Biblical values. We cannot direct our security efforts towards Arabic males in their 20’s.
And God forbid we tell an ethnic joke! All of this PC sensitivity has gotten seriously out of hand.
My father was a military attaché and as such was trained in diplomacy. I was raised in a
house that discouraged ethnic jokes as a matter of politeness, but the extreme to
which the ethnic/racial/gender/lifestyle sensitivity pendulum has swung today, I believe is not only annoying, but
detrimental to our society.
To whom it may concern: