You can guess you’re on the NPR website – and the “Code Switch” race-matters blog – when an article on ice-cream trucks comes with an editor’s warning: “This article is about a virulently racist song. Read no further if you wish to avoid racist imagery and slurs.”
Some trucks apparently play the well-known melody “Turkey In the Straw,” and Theodore R. Johnson III blamed "a great many" ice cream trucks for playing a melody apparently popularized by a blackface song named “Zip Coon” and a horrid 1916 ditty titled “"Ni--er Love A Watermelon Ha! Ha! Ha!"