The Right Coast

January 23, 2004
Einee meinee mienee moe
By Michael Rappaport

David Bernstein discusses a lawsuit involving the rhyme “einee meinee mienee moe, catch a tiger by the toe, if he hollers let him go, my mother says to . . . .” I said that hundreds of times as a child and my children say it sometimes. (In fact, when grading a paper that is between an A and a B, I still sometimes – no, skip that.) I had no idea that it was once a racist rhyme, with the N word substituting for “tiger.” That is quite sad. It also sad, however, that a hostile racial environment lawsuit was brought against an airline because its employee used a nonracist version of the rhyme and the lawsuit was not dismissed on summary judgement.