Jeg har set en rigtig negermand

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"Jeg har set en rigtig negermand"
Rigtig negermand.jpg
Single by the Andersen Family
B-side "Den Lille Fyr"
Released 1970
Format 7" single
Genre Children
Length 2:55
Label Polydor Records
Writer(s) Niels C. Andersen

"Jeg har set en rigtig negermand" (English: I have seen a real negro man) is a Danish children's song that was popular in the 1970s. It was first sung by four-year-old Bo Andersen with the Andersen Family in 1970,[1] and quickly gained platinum status in Denmark, selling 165,000 copies.[1]

In 1970, the Andersen Family won the "best Danish band" competition sponsored by the newspaper Ekstra Bladet.[1] As a result, the family won a recording contract with Polydor Records, and released "Jeg har set en rigtig negermand" as its first single.[1] At the same time, the family was performing under contract at Tivoli Gardens, increasing the family's popularity, especially that of "Little Bo."[1]

The song describes different people of varying colors: "en negermand...sort...som en tjærespand" (a negro man, black as a bucket of tar), "en indianermand...rød...som en ildebrand" (an Indian, red as a fire), and "en kinesermand...gul...som en sodavand" (a Chinese man, yellow as a soft drink").[2] While some have interpreted this song as carrying a message of racial equality, others have criticized it for its racist language. The former argument focuses on the lyrics, "all people [to] be painted blue, to be funnier to look at, and then black and red and yellow and white live together in a world without strife." and "Let not the color of skin be a factor. We must meet with wholesome and honest minds." [2]

The song has fallen into varying degrees of disfavor as the lyrics use terms and similes considered incorrect in Denmark today as the society is becoming more multicultural. However, it is still a recognizable song learned by children even now.[citation needed]

The song became known more internationally after its appearance in Thomas Vinterberg's 1998 film The Celebration. In one scene, the brother of the protagonist sings the song with the intention of hurling racial abuse at a black party guest with whom he has just had a quarrel, so he stands up and calls for every party guest to join him in singing the song. The singer's sister, who happens to be the black man's girlfriend, then tells the latter that it is "a racist song". Only the first verse of the song is used in the movie, thus angering some that argued this facilitated a misunderstanding of the song as based on racism and xenophobia, while others praise the director's use of the song as a way to highlight the everyday racism that continues to persist in Denmark.