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Tips & tools

SHPS Taart

In our “How can you help?” section, you can read about the two steps that you can follow to help ban ‘Hanky Panky Shanghai. In our Q&A section, you can find alternative songs that can be sung instead. Additionally, you can always start the conversation about the racist nature of ‘Hanky Panky Shanghai’ with others. On our Stop Hanky Panky Shanghai website pages, you will find more information on this so-called birthday song, including an explanation of why the song is racist and how it contributes to the normalisation of racism against East- and Southeast Asians. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact us!

Why is this campaign relevant for (primary) schools?

‘Hanky Panky Shanghai’ plays a big role in primary schools, since this is where most of the respondents of our survey were first confronted with it. ‘Hanky Panky Shanghai’ is still taught at primary schools today.

Our respondents also expressed that this song is traumatic to them, because they would be confronted with it during every classmate’s birthday. This is why the campaign is especially important for primary schools; to ensure that children will no longer be discriminated against and be made to feel excluded; to combat racism at schools and, eventually, contribute to a more inclusive Netherlands.

What can (primary) schools do to support this campaign?

Help educators understand why ‘Hanky Panky Shanghai’ is an inherently racist song and should not be sung or taught at schools. Most teachers, parents, and children aren’t aware that the song is racist. It is the responsibility of schools and educators (i.e. teachers, guardians) to set an example for children and to teach them about racism and discrimination. Our teaching package about racism and discrimination for primary schools, which will be available soon, could be used for this. Having conversations with parents and educators about racism is also useful. This way, primary schools can contribute to a racism-free classroom and inclusive birthdays for their students.

Why is this campaign relevant for educators of primary education teachers in the Netherlands (pabo)?

These educators are usually not (fully) aware of the racist nature of ‘Hanky Panky Shanghai’. This is problematic since future teachers should not be taught racist songs. This is why it is important to make sure that future teachers won’t teach children discriminatory and racist behaviour. It is not only important that the song will no longer be sung, it is also important to understand why it’s racist.

What can primary education teacher training programs in the Netherlands (pabo) do to support the campaign?: 

Do not include ‘Hanky Panky Shanghai’ in the list of birthday songs that are taught to pabo students and have conversations about racism in (primary) education. Get inspired by our teaching package and alternative songs.

Teaching package

Asian Raisins is developing a teaching package for primary schools in partnership with Zetje In. You can soon download this for free. The purpose of this teaching package is to make children and the adults in their surroundings aware of (anti-East and Southeast Asian) racism and discrimination. We advocate for racism-free classrooms that are considered safe and inclusive by every child; an environment in which every child feels heard and understood (by teachers and authority figures).

stop racism in the classroom

STOP Hanky Panky Shanghai