Author Archives: Daniel Gilbert

Joke – University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

“ What do you get when you mix a black person and a Mexican?”

Answer: “ Someone who is too lazy to steal.”

BJ learned this joke from a friend at the University of Southern California during his freshman year of college at the age of 18. The joke came up as fellow students were discussing the issues revolving around race relations in the campus’ surrounding area. BJ claims that he did not understand the joke initially as he had grown up in Hawaii where he says there are very few Mexicans or Black people so the stereotypes do not thrive. After a friend explained the joke to BJ, he began to realize that this joke is an expression of racism towards two distinct groups of people. He believes that the joke intends to say that all black people are criminals and that Mexicans are not hard workers.

The joke seems to be a straightforward and outward expression concerning race tension within the city of Los Angeles. The city of Los Angeles has a history of gang activity involving both blacks and Mexicans. It therefore is easy to understand why they have become the subject of jokes. In addition, many people in Los Angeles are unhappy about the fact that there are many illegal immigrants from Mexico living in the city as well as legal immigrants who are not working at jobs but rather living on street corners and in the ghettos. In terms of the stereotyping about blacks, this joke seems to express a popular racist opinion that blacks are prone more than others to commit crimes. In combination of both of these stereotypes, one can see why the answer to the joke is a hybrid of two bigotry- based classifications of people groups.



Ben first was introduced to the practice of tinikling at the age of nine. He learned how to perform the dance during elementary school when a friend of his who had recently moved to the United States of America from the Philippines taught him after school. Ben learned how to practice tinikling from his friend and began to take serious interest in the dance and continued to show interest for about three years. He says he performed the dance at his elementary school’s talent show during his fifth-grade year.

According to Ben, tinikling is a dance/game similar to jump roping wherein there are at least three participants– sometimes more. There are two people sitting opposite from one another who are both holding onto opposite ends of two long poles, which can be made of plastic tubing or bamboo. He said they used plastic because there isn’t exactly a large surplus of bamboo in the United States. Then he said that the people on the ends hit the poles on the ground in unison and then bring the poles together in the middle, while the third person jumps in and out of the poles in a fashion similar to jump-roping. Ben says that after one masters the basics of jumping in and out, it is fairly easy to implement other sorts of movement such as acrobatics for example. He claims that he is able to do cartwheels through the poles while tinikling, a skill, which took him a few painful practice runs to perfect.

Ben is currently a student at the University of Mississippi and studies Philosophy and Creative Writing. He grew up in Marietta, Georgia and attended a public elementary school there where he first came into contact with the practice of tinikling. He is a third-generation American with family backgrounds coming from Europe: Sweden and Scotland.

Variations of Tinikling are also present on a variety of websites such as the following: April 14, 2007. 9:30PM.

Game – University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

“The Hat Game”

Ryan is a recent graduate from the University of Southern California. He received a bachelor’s degree in Print Journalism and Political Science. He is a fourth generation English-German-American and grew up in the small town of Somis, a farming community near the larger city of Camarillo, California.

Ryan learned this game at the University of Southern California during a Campus Crusade spring retreat. A friend of his by the name of Andy Hubert taught him the game, though Ryan says that he has come into contact with many people across the state of California who play this game or a variant of it.

Ryan told me that before the game begins each participant is to write on a small sheet of a paper, a word or short phrase. There are no specific limits on the length or content of the phrase, but players are encouraged to avoid phrases that would be completely impossible to guess. At this point in the game, everyone’s written phrase or word is placed into a hat or some other receptacle and mixed together. The players are divided evenly into two teams. Each player on the team should be sitting next to someone from the opposite team. Players are to be arranged in a circle, sitting side by side with opponents. At this point in the game, someone is arbitrarily picked to begin the game. During the first of three rounds in the game, each individual in order of the circle will have one minute in which they are to take a phrase from the hat or other receptacle and during the first round they are to attempt to get their teammates to guess exactly what is written on the piece of paper by using verbal clues, though the actual word or phrase itself cannot be mentioned. If they are successful with the first paper, they try to do as many papers as possible in a one-minute time frame. When the minute is up, they are to return the un-guessed paper into the receptacle without saying what was on the paper. When the minute is over the person keeps the papers, which he was able to convince his teammates to guess the phrasing on. The receptacle or hat is now passed onto the left or right depending on the predetermined direction. This person does the same with his teammates until all the papers are gone regardless of whether everyone in the circle has had an opportunity to play or not. At the end of the round, the team counts the number of correctly guessed papers and records this score. Round two begins then with the person after the last person from the previous round. All of the papers, regardless of whether they were guessed in the previous round or not, are then returned to the hat. Round two is the same idea as round one except that players have to this time, act out the phrase to get their team to guess. This is done without talking. Round three then proceeds, however in this round, the player only gets to say one word with hopes of clueing his teammates in on the word written on the card. The score for rounds two and three is calculated in the same way as round way and is therefore based on the number of correctly guessed papers. The team with the most points at the end wins.

“The Hat Game” as described by Ryan Webb appears to be lore in the form of a game that is passed on between a particular folk group. The folk group is known to at least expand beyond the USC community, as Ryan tells me that he has played with people from other surrounding universities. In addition, I personally, am aware of people who play a variant of this game who reside on the Eastern Coast of the United States of America. As the game is not known to have been created by a specific individual, the rights to this game can only be said to be equally shared by all of its players.


“Ring Around the Rosie…”

Ryan Webb is a recent graduate from the University of Southern California. He received a bachelor’s degree in Print Journalism and Political Science. He is a fourth generation English-German-American and grew up in the small town of Somis, a farming community near the larger city of Camarillo, California. He is twenty-three years old. During his childhood he attended the Calvary Chapel in Camarillo, a place where he spent much of his time involved in activities with the children’s and youth ministries.

Ryan claims to have first learned how to play this game at church when he was about three years old. He said that he learned it from the other children in his Sunday school class. He says that the underlying text of the game is supposed to be about the Plague in Europe, but he does not know why children are fascinated with this game. He believes that children are simply ignorant of the lyrics and messages contained within the songs they sing and the games they play. In addition to playing the game personally, Ryan recalls times when he shared the game with younger children, such as those he babysat for, as he grew older.

According to Ryan, the game starts as the players stand in a circle and join hands. Then the players step forward while still connected to the circle, then the circle revolves around in a circular fashion as the children sing, “Ring around the rosie, pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes, we all fall down.” At the point when this song is finished, everyone in the group falls down to the ground as though they have died.

It seems apparent that while Ryan may be correct in that the children are ignorant of the lyrics of some games, by the mere fact that the children are playing dead it appears that they understand the deeper meaning of this sing-song game. They are ultimately aware that when everyone falls down it is to represent the death of those, which are sung about in the song. This may prove evidence to the way in which children learn deep concepts about life, such as the inevitable presence of death in the world, through the format of a game or song.

Festival – Oxnard, California

“Strawberry Festival”

Ryan Webb is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California. He grew up and spent eighteen years of his life in the small farming community of Somis, California. Somis is in geographic proximity to Oxnard, the city wherein the Strawberry Festival takes place.

Ryan’s grandmother first took him to the Strawberry Festival at the young age of seven. He says that his grandmother has been going to the Strawberry Festival in Oxnard County, California for years. He says the Strawberry Festival is an important part of the Oxnard resident’s life. He claims that agricultural production in areas such as strawberry harvesting is important to Oxnard, California and is still largely a part of the economic lives of the citizens though it used to be more attached with the social and career aspects of people’s lives. He says, “It is important to keep the tradition of the Strawberry festival going because it is a way of honoring the agricultural base of the city and showcasing the expertise of the locals in a fun environment that stimulates community collectivity and exchange.”

The Strawberry Festival occurs once every year in the town of Oxnard, California. It is usually celebrated in mid-May. According to Ryan it will be held this year on May 19th, 2007. As one might suspect, the focus of this festival is honoring the strawberry harvesting that occurs in this town, therefore most of the activities participated in and food consumed at the festival is strawberry themed. For example, there are all sorts of strawberry delicatessens such as barbecued strawberries, strawberry cakes and strawberry flavored ice cream. In addition to fine strawberry cuisine, the festival also features a large variety of strawberry themed carnival rides. According to Ryan, every year the citizens of Oxnard push the limit and find new and innovative ways to celebrate the importance of the strawberry in Oxnard county citizen’s lives.