# Day 326 (Baa Baa “???” sheep…)

There were things one learnt as the children grew up, and now there are things that one is learning with a growing grandchild! And so while watching an animated version of an old and familiar nursery rhyme with him on ‘Chu Chu TV’, i was amused to see how ‘political-correctness’ can even extend to a traditional children’s rhyme. Apparently the racial implications of that old favourite, ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep…’ has prompted a change in lyrics and so the song playing out on the iPad screen he was holding in his chubby hands had ‘brown sheep’, ‘white sheep’—you get the gist! One almost expected there to be a ‘rainbow sheep’ added as well!! There is little doubt that we live in multicultural societies and we need to teach our children an attitude of inclusiveness and tolerance. Only sometimes we do carry things a bit far. Purely from an educational point of view, the rhyme is actually about helping the little ones imbibe the sound of the consonant ‘b’ through repetition. Surely the racial context in the case of this song comes from an adult’s perspective; for the children it would just be another catchy rhyme they love to sing. And so to drive home a point about adult prejudices, you have to give a makeover to a toddler-song that dates back to 1744! (Wikipedia tells me it was first published in Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book in 1744, believed to be the earliest surviving collection of nursery rhymes.)
Reminded me of a poem we had once used in high school to initiate a discussion among students on why preconceived notions of race and colour need to be debunked.
It was called “I Black” and went something like ~

When i born, i black
When i grow up, i black
When i go in sun, i black
When i scared, i black
When i sick, i black
And when i die, i still black

And you white fellow
When you born, you pink
When you grow up, you white
When you go in sun, you red
When you cold, you blue
When you scared, you yellow
When you sick, you green
And when you die, you grey
And you calling me coloured???

If only a choice of words was all that was needed to make us ‘more human(e)’….


About sunsur81

A gatherer of thoughts...exploring myths,metaphors and expressions of life...
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