Friday, February 6, 2015 | By: Angela Brown

Evergreen in Action - Start the Conversation

When I posted a few of my thoughts on Dr. Martin Luther King, the Civil Rights era, and how we can so easily slip into a new era of terribly warped citizen views if we aren't vigilant, I was humbled to receive comments indicative of showing there are so many others with eyes on the prize of unity and co-existence instead of always looking for ways to belittle each other in the name of raising one "category of people" up.

Donna Weaver did me the honor of sharing the lyrics from a song in the movie South Pacific that really made me get a little teary-eyed at the depth of it's truth. Here they are for "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 diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.

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

The truth in those words is so scary to think of. Someone has to willingly tell another human being that this person or that person or people who like this or that aren't worth the effort of being treated as equals.

Babies are born crying, no doubt upset they were violently shoved and pushed out of a warm, safe place. They don't understand red is a color. Talking is a form of communication. Holding hands is a way of staying close to someone you care about and that cares about you. They know hunger, thirst, cold, pee, poop. All of those can happen at one time, too (Good LAWD do I remember those sleepless nights and days lol!!) But they don't know hate based on skin color, sexual orientation or religion. These are things that have to be taught.

Because it has to be taught (through relatives, friends, media outlets, etc.), is it ever too late for someone to learn differently?


Julie Flanders said...

I used to listen to this song all the time when I was a kid because my parents had the record. I've never forgotten it - such fantastic lyrics.

LD Masterson said...

I also grew up listening to my parents records, including the score from South Pacific. May I recommend you watch the movie version. There are some very powerful messages layered into the music and the dual love stories.

~Sia McKye~ said...

No, it's not too late to change our perspective if we want to do so.

Yes, the song lyrics are true. I had a southern parent who did have prejudice. It wasn't by any means extreme, but it was there. My mother, on the other hand, didn't like any prejudice. She felt that people were people regardless of where they came from and there was joy and richness in learning about different cultures. I've been so lucky to have so many friends from so many races and cultures. I love the variety. I've taught my guys the same tolerance and acceptance of all sorts of people.

If I have any prejudice at all it's in dealing with narrow minded people. I choose not to associate with them. :-)

Sia McKye Over Coffee

Angela Brown said...

I'd only heard of the name of this movie in passing conversation. Now that I've heard this song, I see I've been missing out.

Angela Brown said...

Recommendation noted and being worked on to rectify my lack of knowledge about this movie.

Angela Brown said...

I think I can understand the prejudice when dealing with narrow minded people. Mine would be the ignorant who chooses not to learn better for themselves and be led by the nostrils with every wind that blows

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

What great lyrics, Angela, and what an excellent point. I can't believe I've never really thought about it that way, but you're right. No one comes into the world with hate and prejudice... if only they were never taught. I think they're hard to unlearn once ingrained.

Nicole said...

Although I didn't see the movie South Pacific, those song lyrics speak of a sad reality within the society of man. In most circumstances, I think it's not too late for someone to learn differently when they are open to new perspectives and willing to be taught by way of their own experiences and valid information rather than through the lens of another person's viewpoint, especially if that viewpoint is based on bias, fear, ignorance and/or an environment where learned hatred for differences in other human beings has festered and grown over time.

Adulthood has the advantages that allow individuals to learn ways different from what they've been taught, if there is an interest in doing so. Unfortunately, I believe there is a lot of work to be done if we ever want to get to a place where people unite based on shared humanity rather than differences.

Just here in the western world alone, most of us are quick to consider ourselves living in a new day and age but I believe that not much has changed since the civil rights movement and other battles for justice, equality and unity for all such as that of the religious and LGBT communities. These days, it's just dressed up, tucked away and not as blatant as it used to be...but it quickly surfaces when there is a conflict of interest or an incident where people allow their emotions and misguided "knowledge" lead them to having harsh reactions to certain events, decisions or developments in society that they may or may not disagree with.

I think that a lot of us around the world are living a false reality; it's sorta like society is the movie we play our roles of tolerance, hate, love, etc. in and it always takes for a big event (such as the unreported and unsolved murders of area residents during and following Hurricane Katrina, where it was reported that neighboring towns banded together on a killing spree of minorities...most notably black men who were trying to evacuate or find water, food, medical help, etc.)...or even a small one that is of significance to enough people (such as a halfway house for mentally challenged people being built near a close-knit residential community) to bring out either the best or the worst of however we really are when the game, or scene rather, is over.
- Nicole

Nicole said...

It's great to have friends from a variety of walks of life. That's one of the benefits of going away to school or studying in a different township. Traveling also can be such a wonderful way to learn about different cultures. I must find a way to get to France before I die :)

Raelyn Barclay said...

It's been forever since I've seen/heard this.

I think everyone is capable of learning new habits, beliefs, and attitudes. I definitely believe everyone deserves a second chance at creating a better them. I just think the majority don't want to put in the work.

Post a Comment

Talk to me :-)
Comments are welcome.