Saturday, February 15, 2014


After seeing the reaction by bigots about the recent Cheerios commercial, Les and I were discussing the prevalent racism we see on a daily basis and Les commented, "I guess all we can hope for is for that generation to die." Unfortunately, I see and hear a great deal of racism from people who are younger than my generation. I am disheartened when I see denigratory comments about the President on Twitter and Facebook coming from people young enough to be my children and grandchildren.

My friend Chiquita posted this picture on Facebook. I am reminded of the song You've Got To Be Carefully Taught from Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific. Listen here for the song from the movie soundtrack.

Here are the lyrics:

"You've got to be taught to hate and fear,
You've got to be taught from year to year,
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made*
And people whose skin is a different shade
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late
Before you're six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate.
You've got to be carefully taught."

*Please notice the asterisk above.

I have quoted--and sung--the lyrics of the first stanza numerous times since first seeing the movie in 1958. Listening to the song again, I had forgotten and was taken aback to hear the word "oddly" used in reference to the eyes. I told Les, "I'll bet Mr. Hammerstein would choose the word differently, rather than oddly, if he were writing that lyric today." Les said, "Now that's a little too PC, don't you think?" I said, "Since we have Asian people in our family, I guess I'm more sensitive than I was when I first heard the song back in the Dark Ages."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love that Cheerios commercial! ML