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[DIVERSITY] South Pacific's "You Have to Be Carefully Taught"

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  • madchinaman
    Rogers and Hammerstein s South Pacific http://www.midtermpapers.com/view.php/Music%20and%20Movies/2791.htm In Rogers and Hammerstein s South Pacific, the main
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 30, 2004
      Rogers and Hammerstein's South Pacific

      In Rogers and Hammerstein's South Pacific, the main theme is racial
      prejudices. The two main characters, Emile de Becque and Nellie
      Forbush are faced with these problems as they attempt a

      Two other minor characters, Lt. Joe Cable and Liat, are faced with
      the same dilemma. Both Nellie and Joe Cable have a hard time copping
      with their own racial prejudices;
      Joe loves Liat, yet cannot marry her because she is Tonkinese;
      Nellie loves Emile, but cannot marry him because of his former
      Polynesian wife. It is these prejudices that set the state for what
      might be the most significant scene in the production.

      In act 2, scene 3, Nellie reveals her prejudices to Emile.
      I can't help it. It isn't as if I could give you a good reason.
      There is no reason. This is emotional. It's something that is born
      in me.

      She looks to Cable for help in describing what she feels, but he
      offers no help.

      Emile tells her that it is not born in her, that it cannot be born
      in her.

      Nellie, who is crying, runs off. Emile is left with Joe, who is
      thinking over his own relationship with Liat. Emile asks him why he
      and Nellie think that these prejudices are born in them. Joe, giving
      him the product of his thoughts, tell him "It's not born in you."

      It is at this point that Joe Cable begins singing "Carefully
      Taught," a character song in which Joe is able to vent his
      frustrations and anger about his own prejudices.

      The music is slightly upbeat, which helps to illustrate that by
      singing this song, he is beginning to feel better. The words that
      Joe sing tell the audience that he realizes that prejudices aren't
      born within someone, but taught to them.

      You've got to be taught to be afraid
      Of people who's eyes are oddly made,
      And people who's skin is a different shade –
      You've got to be carefully taught!
      …To HATE all the people your relatives hate –
      You've got to be carefully taught! (II,iii)

      Joe realizes that there would be no prejudices in the world if it
      nobody were to teach it to the children. He sees that if nobody had
      even spoken against other races or people that were different, he
      would have no problem with marrying Liat.

      He realizes that he actually does not feel these things at all
      and the ideas that have been planted in his head can be as easily
      uprooted as they were planted. Joe, feeling better, sits down and
      listens to Emile begin to speak.

      Emile tells Joe that it was prejudice that he had been running away


      You have 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 have to be carefully taught.
      -Oscar Hammerstein, 1949 South Pacific


      Carefully Taught
      performed by Rogers and Hammerstein
      from the album South Pacific Soundtrack (Purchase from Amazon.com)
      about unlearning oppressive attitudes we've been 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,
      You've got to be carefully taught."


      The Roots of Racism
      by Mark Ross

      You have to be taught to hate and fear
      You have to be taught from year to year
      It has to be drummed in your dear little ear
      You have to be carefully taught!
      -Rogers and Hammerstein


      Different People
      performed by No Doubt
      from the album Tragic Kingdom (Purchase from Amazon.com)
      about the positivity of diversity:

      "He and she two different people
      With two seperate lives
      Then you put the two together
      And get a spectacular surprise
      'Cause one can teach the other one
      What she doesn't know
      While still the other fills a place inside
      He never knew had room to grow"
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