It’s that time of year again when we hear the dulcet tones of Bing Crosby on the airwaves. However, this year there will be a slight difference. After over seven decades of regular airplay and featuring on virtually every Christmas compilation ever issued, Bing Crosby’s classic 1942 hit “White Christmas” has been criticised for carrying racist overtones.
BBC executive Ray De Yeoman issued the following statement to the assembled media:
“It has come to our attention that racist groups such as UKIP and Britain First have taken a lovely song and exploited it for their own racist agendas. We at the BBC are against racism in all forms, and have no wish to make any non-white listeners feel unwelcome in this country, and if this song encourages racism then something must be done about it.”
Rather than ban the song outright however, they are taking the unusual measure of hiring a Bing Crosby impersonator and overdubbing the word “white” to “snowy”, and adjust the final verse from:
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, with every Christmas card I write.
May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be white.
I’m dreaming of a snowy Christmas, with every Christmas card I send.
May your days be merry my friend, and may all your goodwill never end.
Some have welcomed the move, others have described it as political correctness gone mad. A petition to reinstate the original version of the song has already been started online.
The move applies to both the original version of the song and all subsequent cover versions, of which there are many, as the song has proved enormously popular with crooners since the beginning, with Frank Sinatra, Perry Como and Andy Williams all recording their versions of it, not to mention the more recent attempts by the likes of Bette Midler, Martina McBride and Andrea Bocelli.
Those who are still alive are already overdubbing their own performances, with impersonators hired to do the same for those singers who are no longer with us.
We await the results with baited breath.