Monday, September 20, 2010

Carefully Taught

Sitting having tea, I heard a man freely use a hateful word about a woman, struggling to make change for him, struggling in a language not her own, struggling to smile through his impatience. I heard him use this word, this hateful, hateful word in front of a little girl. A little girl who looked at him, listening carefully and learning the ways of discrimination.

Sitting having tea, I heard a teenager freely use the 'r word' as a man with Down Syndrome walked slowly by. A man struggling to make his own way, alone and independent. A man struggling to live with dignity, struggling to keep pain off his face. A teenager out with his little brother. A little brother who thought his big brother cool, not cruel.

Sitting having tea, I am told of a clerk, a man of colour, in a store who had an odd tattoo on his inner arm. It said simply, 'I'd rather be hated for who I am.' A tattoo that must have been written on his heart long before he had it written on his arm. A man, now, struggling to ensure that all know, clearly know ... that children are carefully taught ...



Lyrics by Rogers and Hammerstein

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!

8 comments:

coffeetalk said...

Dave, many years ago a teacher in one of my Early Childhood Education classes said "Give me a five year old and I'll give you a man". Children learn most of their "moral lessons" before age six. Advertisers know it....if you want to create lifelong consumers, you target the young. It is a sad situation when the actions of the people that are infiltrating a child's eyes, ears and minds are ignorant to this fact. Tolerance begins in childhood. Thank you for the reminder.

Blog editor said...

Wonderful video clip.

Belinda said...

How true, the eyes that are on us; the feet that will walk in our tracks. A big responsibility and a great privilege.

Yo Mamma Mamma! said...

I was taught not to look. Not to stare. Not to ask. Not to wonder. Not by parents who didn't care, but by people who didn't want to offend. Now, I look at people who are different - you know what I see? People who aren't that different. Children in wheelchairs who are loved and cared for and doted upon. People without a leg but who are strong. People who don't talk clearly, but think clearly. This is a great gift I've received from my daughter with Down syndrome - the ability to see!

Kristin said...

Wonderful clip Dave!

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Anonymous said...

thanks amigo! great post!

Anonymous said...

Hola, Interesante, no va a continuar con este artŠ½culo?.