Monday, November 21, 2011


I learned thru blogging that the term "monkey" can be racist against black people. I figure since I never knew it until I read it thru blogging that I would ask the question here.

My kids were at the YMCA playing what we call "Monkey in the Middle" You know the game of whoever is throwing the ball and the middle person (what we call Monkey) gets it then the person changes place with the middle person.

When we were at the YMCA a little black boy about 12 or so asked if he could play with us. I almost said, "sure, we are playing monkey in the middle" then I remembered how I read thru blogging that it could be offensive to use the term monkey to him.

All in all.. we had a good time and after my youngest son and I got tired of playing my oldest son and him goofed around for quite a while. So what's the thoughts on this.. Would we been wrong to keep calling our game Monkey in the middle? Or did we do right not to use that term in front of him.

I honestly say that when I use the term monkey... I am thinking of a four legged creature that hangs from trees and eats bananas and I don't know where my game came from. I have always heard of that game since I was a kid. The same with sitting Indian style which I know the schools now call that criss cross applesauce.


Leah said...

Not sure you heard about the monkey having racist connations through my blog. But before our kids arrived (One who is black, as you know) we affectionately called them both monkey. I had no idea it was seen as racist. At all. I quit calling him monkey, but guess what his favorite animal sound currently is? You guessed it? A monkey.

I don't think you need to change the name of the game. That is the name of it. And like you said, you are thinking of the four legged creature.

Wendy said...

I think it would have been fine to use the word - all of the kids and you were playing the game together. It's nice like you singled out that child.

You're right about the term 'criss cross applesauce' being used now, my school that's what we always use. It just seems like the little kids really get the 'criss cross' part. I honestly hadn't thought about the term replacing 'Indian style.'