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The Left’s Corruption of Rodgers & Hammerstein

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
Tina Fineberg

The Broadway musical South Pacific was an instant hit when it debuted in 1949. It won 10 Tony Awards and enjoyed many theater revivals and film adaptations over the decades. 


There aren’t a whole lot of musicals about World War II but Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein did something more than just produce a show about war. South Pacific paid a lot of attention to issues involving racial prejudice.

The character Joe Cable, a young Marine officer, falls in love with a Pacific island girl but is conflicted about the relationship because of her race. He then realizes the truth about prejudice and performs the production’s most controversial song:

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.

We know from the Bible that all of us are conceived and born into sin but among little kids, their innocence shines through. Parents who have watched their children playing during pre-school have seen this. Three and four olds don’t care what race their playmates are, they’re just having fun.  

Lieutenant Cable’s revelation expands as he realizes the origins of his own prejudices:

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.

Controversy over Cable’s song erupted when a couple of Georgia Dixiecrats complained that it supported interracial marriage rather than recognizing the song’s simple observation; that bigotry is learned behavior. 


Racism is not an innate human characteristic. That’s why little children can have so much fun playing with kids of any race or background. They may notice that some playmates look different but it’s analogous to God making black puppies, white puppies, brown puppies or puppies of any particular coloring. 

Perhaps the greatest preventable atrocity of our time is how teacher unions have taken a page from Rodgers and Hammerstein, corrupted it in the most vile manner, and created curricula that teach race hatred to children. 

This evil flows into classrooms through components of Critical Race Theory, which indoctrinates children to judge others by how they look. With all the local, state, and federal laws that prohibit racial discrimination, not to mention a couple of amendments to the Constitution, it’s difficult to understand why these teachers and their union overlords are not being criminally prosecuted. 

Don’t get me wrong. I know some fantastic school teachers. They’re good people, dedicated professionals who genuinely care about preparing their students to be responsible, well educated citizens. But many of them are trapped in systems run by corrupt unions whose ideology aligns with Marxism and its spin-offs.


These spin-offs can be traced to the New Left, a school of thought that revised portions of original Marxism. By the 1950s, European and American totalitarians were coming to the realization that Marxism’s precepts of class struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat were outdated. 

Class struggle was the prime issue for agitation and propaganda, which are fundamental to Marxism. But by the late 1950s, America didn’t have so much class struggle. The middle class was rapidly emerging and thriving, and most people were pretty happy. 

The New Left needed something else to agitate about and they quickly identified race as a potent tool. Fuel for this agitation was provided by Democrat-led efforts to violently enforce Jim Crow laws across the south. 

No society is 100% free of racism. But by the dawn of the 21st century, most Americans were very tolerant of people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. 

The issue of race was losing its potency, just as Marx’s original sources of agitation did. The New Left needed yet another revision of Marxism, spawning Critical Race Theory and the teaching of race hatred to little kids. 

Yes, children have to be taught to be racist. That is what evil teachers and union thugs are bringing to schools to revive Marx’s tyrannical vision. 


I did not see South Pacific until adulthood but was introduced to its most controversial song as a teenager. A local musician named Michael Johnson recorded an early cover of it in 1973 and his rendition immediately resonated with me, much as the revelation of learned bigotry did with Lt. Cable. 

Wicked educators do not see our children as human beings; they are mere vessels to be filled with poison in pursuit of a totalitarian agenda. They are being carefully taught, at tender ages, to believe in a monstrous ideology and teachers hope we aren’t noticing. 

But we are, and it’s vital that we carefully teach our children about the love of Christ and the laws of God. This is the antidote to the race hatred of the American Left. 

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