Tuesday, October 12, 2010

You've got to be carefully taught-





You've got to be taught

To hate and fear

You've got to be taught

From year to Year

It's got to be drummed

in your dear little ear

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 are 6 or 7 or 8

To hate all the people

your relatives hate

You've got to be carefully taught


[Thanks to Laura for lyrics]

As I was in rehearsal for the local production of “South Pacific”, I was jolted again of the sense of urgency Roger’s and Hammerstein need to include this song in the musical. There was a storm again it’s being included and that was during the filming of the movie, in the Fifties.

It is heartbreaking to acknowledge that nothing has changed in the 60 years of so of it’s Broadway Premier in the way of children learning to hate by example. The reasons that these lyrics were included are just as relevant today as it was in those times. We have turned our hate towards other peoples, to other genders, to others size, or afflictions or disabilities that we ‘fear’, because they ‘are not like us’. We become bullies because it’s a way to fit in with those we perceive to have power over us. Our need to be included in a group sometimes blinds us to the dynamics of that particular group. The collective rage and hate churning out on those that the group doesn’t want to be associated with.

As individuals, groups or nations, we control others we fear by creating fear. Wouldn’t it be just as productive if we learned to listen and engage our children in conversations, where we would know if he or she is ‘bulling’ others we could stop them or when we would know if our children is being bullied for being different we could help them and let them be who they are.


The lyrics’ of that song in “South Pacific” which was written during a great time of national struggle is still such an important message for us, even today;


You've got to be taught

Before it's too late

Before you are 6 or 7 or 8

To hate all the people

your relatives hate

You've got to be carefully taught


Just one more thought, please

2 comments:

Veronica said...

The idea of the Blank Slate remains popular, but I think actual evidence is against it. We don't have to be taught to hate and fear. We have to be taught not to. Evolution has given us an innate suspicion of "other." It probably once served a purpose such as keeping the tribe safe. I think it's good to overcome this. The danger lies in not acknowledging it.

Melissa said...

You know, I think Veronica is on to something here. As adorable as they are, there is nothing more self-centered than an newborn. All they think about is their own needs and desires. They have to be taught to respect, and have value for the rights and needs of others.......but I certainly get, and agree with the gist of your post. By the way, South Pacific is one of my all time favorite Broadway musicals!

Melissa XX