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 taught to hate all the people your relatives hate.
I was raised on musicals. Classics from Irving Berlin to Rodgers & Hammerstein. So it should come as no surprise that South Pacific should make an appearance in this set.
Somehow, in spite of everything happening around him in the St. Louis at the time, my Grandpa managed to understand the deeper meaning of this song long before it existed. He passed that illumination on to my mother, who would sing it to me every time it became obvious that hatred was involved in something.
When this musical premiered in 1949, and then later when it was made into its film version in 1958, this song was extremely controversial. It brought up a subject we did not like to talk about – in the era just before the Civil Rights movement.
If we are honest, it is still a subject that we do not like to talk about.
Less than a decade ago, I had a mother suggest to me that there are times when hatred was the only way to explain to a child the difference between what is right and what is wrong. By then, we already had our first African-American president – which, contrary to popular belief, did not fix everything. This mother was not an exception. She is an example of the rule.
Hatred still runs rampant. Many believe it is necessary. They even tote biblical passages that will back up their position, because, yes, they do exist.
However, God has clearly proven throughout the millennia that hate is not the desired modus operandi of human kind (or God). It is instead a sign of the devastating hold sin has upon humanity. We pass the fear and hatred from generation to generation. For, make no mistake, we are not born with hatred in our hearts.
We have to be carefully taught.
It’s time we all grow back down again and unlearn those careful lessons of the generations before us.
Hatred is never acceptable. Ever.
Love does win, but only when we stop hate. When we stand against it. When we call it out for what it is. When we bind ourselves together, overcoming our fears. Because we are all human. We are all family. And it is time we start remembering that.