My parents didn’t teach me to hate. Thank you!

My parents didn’t teach me to hate

I look back over the years and realize what an amazing statement this is:  my parents didn’t teach me to hate.   Never once did I hear a word against any group or people, religion or race.   I didn’t grow up with the burden of prejudice.  I didn’t have to unlearn the lessons of racism.

You may not think this statement makes my folk sound special.  I hope your parents did the same.

What makes this fact  remarkable is that my father was born in 1904 and my mother, in 1907, hardly years of openness and acceptance of others.   I was born in the 1940’s and grew up in a world filled with bigotry and hatred, in a world of separate restrooms and in a city where the public swimming pool was closed because white people didn’t want to swim with black people.   Because of the way my parents raised me, I didn’t understand why anyone would object to this.    Thanks, Mom and Dad.  

I thought of this again about a week ago when I watched a PBS program about Oscar Hammerstein.  He was a man born in 1895, a man ahead of his time, a writer who asked questions and forced discussion on many issues, especially of race and prejudice, in the lyrics of his marvelous musicals.

In 1949, Hammerstein wrote South Pacific.   I was born in Kansas City, MO, a little off Broadway, but wonderful touring companies came through.  I saw South Pacific in the theater when I was eight.   After the show was over, I asked my mother about the song You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught.   She told me that some parents teach their children to hate other people, people who are different.  I asked her why.  She couldn’t explain.  Neither can I.

In Showboat written in 1927, Hammerstein  dealt with misogyny.  Julie, who had “black blood”,  was married to a white man, a union which was against the law.  I saw this movie when I was nine and couldn’t understand why two adults who love each other couldn’t marry.  I still don’t.

My parents raised me in church and taught me that the Gospel means acceptance and love for all,  no exceptions.  

Thanks, Mom and Dad.  


14 thoughts on “My parents didn’t teach me to hate. Thank you!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Louisa. Yes, they were–I wish I’d realized that sooner and asked how they got that way.

    1. What a lovely response. Thank you. I felt as if with a father who was a doctor, a monther who was a teacher both of who expected me to graduate from college and could pay for it–I had an easy life, easier than most peoples’ Especially wonderful–not having to unlearn hate.

  1. Hi, Jane. My parents also didn’t teach me to hate. I can remember being appalled when, around age 8 or 9, I went to the bus station and there were separate bathrooms and eating areas for blacks and whites. It didn’t make sense, and my mother couldn’t explain it to me, but she made it clear she didn’t approve. I also was appalled to hear a white man call an old Negro man ‘boy’. I loudly told my mother that was rude, and she shushed me, afraid of repercussions. I also knew that, if we used the ‘n’ word, we were punished. I still find racism totally unacceptable.

    1. How did our parents become this way? I wish I could ask them but it didn’t dawn on me how remarkable my upbringing was unti they were gone. I agree–discrimination makes all of us lesser.

    1. Thank you, Chris. I was really blessed to have been raised this way. I wish people could learn to pass on the positives to their children not to weigh them down with hate and prejudice.

  2. Loved this post. We share a similar generation (though I’m a tad older), and I had great parents, too. I grew up in central East Texas, more like the deep South than MO. As a kid I always wondered why I wasn’t allowed to drink from the water fountain that said, “Colored Only.” I figured that if you were thirsty, it shouldn’t matter which one anybody used. I also remember…well, don’t get me started.

    1. East Texas, huh? Your folks were amazing. I imagine you saw more than I did in Kansas City. Thanks!

  3. Thank you, Kit. I thought we were coming to a time when we would have finally overcome the race issue. I should have realized that a black president would draw out all the crazies who were so carefully taught to cause trouble.

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