The intransigence of hate

I first wrote about the intransigence of hate in our society back in 2009, and then again in 2010. And I’m sorry to see the topic is just as relevant today. Consider, for example, Iowa congressman Steve King’s comment on Sunday: “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”

At some point, at someone’s knee, King must have been taught that America — “our civilization” — consists and should continue to consist primarily of white Christians. Probably middle or upper class, too, just to be on the safe side. But that’s just a recent example. We’re already familiar with Donald Trump’s determination to keep Mexicans out with a wall and Muslims out with a travel ban. Then there’s the animosity between political factions that has in some cases devolved into riots and hate crimes.

It all brings to mind the deceptively simple but profound little song “Carefully Taught” from the 1949 Broadway show South Pacific. The song, composed in the wake of WWII, is still appropriate because the world still hasn’t learned the lesson. Until we stop teaching our children to hate and mistrust, until we stop indoctrinating them with our own prejudices and beliefs and misconceptions, things aren’t going to change for the better. Until we stop teaching that violence is acceptable and that anyone not like us is inherently bad, we’ll never have peace. The cycle won’t end until the adults of the world are willing to re-examine their own beliefs, adjust their own thinking, and stop perpetuating the problem. And if Washington DC today is any example, it won’t be happening any time soon.

So consider carefully what others, especially children, are learning from you, from your words and actions.

Hate, distrust, and intolerance all begin at home. Someone’s home. Your home?

Each generation teaches the next. What are you teaching?

For those who’ve forgotten, here’s a video and the lyrics of “Carefully Taught”:

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
You’ve got to be carefully taught



Categories: Society, video content

23 replies

  1. I was not aware, until now, of Mandy Patinkin’s performance of Carefully Taught.

    Representative Steve King’s remarks are the embodiment of fear, ignorance and hate – fear of change, ignorance of the unknown and hate resulting from fear and ignorance.

    • I didn’t even know he could sing until I came across this video in 2009 while looking for a video of somebody singing this particular song.

      It’s a shame people like King have a national forum for their hateful opinions. There’s way too much of that in DC these days.

  2. Fundamentalist Christian religion is behind a lot of this. They preach hatred and intolerance and the notion that all other religions are evil and wrong and that all those millions are going to hell. No way to have a peaceful world with that kind of mindset.

  3. Seems to me that the American Christians are anything but!

  4. Apparently the Girl Guides of Canada agree with you: teaching hate starts at home, but so does acceptance, and tolerance. So they’re staying home. It’s a weird world when the Girl Guides feel it’s necessary to issue a travel advisory against travelling to the USofA.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/girl-guides-of-canada-cancelling-trips-to-the-u-s-citing-travel-concerns-1.4022985

    From the article:

    Girl Guides of Canada has announced it will not be taking any trips to the United States in the near future, citing concerns about inclusivity.
    “While the United States is a frequent destination for Guiding trips, the ability of all our members to equally enter this country is currently uncertain,” international commissioner Sharron Callahan and director of provincial operations Holly Thompson wrote in a joint advisory issued Monday afternoon.
    “This includes both trips that are over or under 72 hours and any travel that includes a connecting flight through an American airport,” the advisory says.
    The statement does not directly mention — but appears to be a reaction to — the executive orders U. S. President Donald Trump has signed restricting travel to the United States.

    • I am saddened to hear this and deeply embarrassed. But it’s prudent of them not to come as long as we have an erratic, impulsive man-child in the White House.

      Yes, acceptance and tolerance are also learned at home. It’s up to the adults to decide what the lessons will be.

      As a side note, my brother went to Ecuador for a couple of weeks last month and it actually occurred to me, briefly, to worry about whether he could get back into the country. (He did.) There are no guarantees these days.

  5. I was proud to hear of the decision made by the Girl Scouts of Canada. Not that Canada is lily white either. But I do think religious bigots are lower profile here. Those values are taught by parents and the ‘parent’ church. I never understood how they can claim goodness and charity in one breath, and bigotry in the next!

  6. Reminds me of these lyrics to this song.

    Oh my name it ain’t nothin’
    My age it means less
    The country I come from
    Is called the Midwest
    I was taught and brought up there
    The laws to abide
    And that land that I live in
    Has God on its side
    Oh, the history books tell it
    They tell it so well
    The cavalries charged
    The Indians fell
    The cavalries charged
    The Indians died
    Oh, the country was young
    With God on its side
    The Spanish-American
    War had its day
    And the Civil War, too
    Was soon laid away
    And the names of the heroes
    I was made to memorize
    With guns in their hands
    And God on their side
    The First World War, boys
    It came and it went
    The reason for fighting
    I never did get
    But I learned to accept it
    Accept it with pride
    For you don’t count the dead
    When God’s on your side
    The Second World War
    Came to an end
    We forgave the Germans
    And then we were friends
    Though they murdered six million
    In the ovens they fried
    The Germans now, too
    Have God on their side
    I’ve learned to hate the Russians
    All through my whole life
    If another war comes
    It’s them we must fight
    To hate them and fear them
    To run and to hide
    And accept it all bravely
    With God on my side
    But now we got weapons
    Of chemical dust
    If fire them, we’re forced to
    Then fire, them we must
    One push of the button
    And a shot the world wide
    And you never ask questions
    When God’s on your side
    Through many a dark hour
    I’ve been thinkin’ about this
    That Jesus Christ was
    Betrayed by a kiss
    But I can’t think for you
    You’ll have to decide
    Whether Judas Iscariot
    Had God on his side
    So now as I’m leavin’
    I’m weary as Hell
    The confusion I’m feelin’
    Ain’t no tongue can tell
    The words fill my head
    And fall to the floor
    That if God’s on our side
    He’ll stop the next war
    Songwriters: Bob Dylan

  7. Hate is the enemy of love and love conquers all. Them who hate can love, them who love can be loved twice as much

“The opinions of others should not deter you from being yourself..” ~ Lailah Gifty Akita

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