Until now, you probably never thought of the lyrics to the old nursery rhyme “Baa Baa Black Sheep” as racist, but officials at some Australian preschools do, and they’re asking the teachers to teach new lyrics to the children, in the name of political correctness.
After exactly zero parents complained — including exactly zero black parents — several childcare centers in the Melbourne suburbs have decided to change the lyrics to “Baa Baa Black Sheep” because of the racial connotations of the word “black,” the International Business Times is reporting. And the line “the little boy who lives down the lane” is being changed as well. Because it’s apparently sexist.
Celine Pieterse, of Central Park Child Care, told the Herald Sun that the children aren’t actually forbidden from singing the words “black sheep,” but that her school is encouraging the kids to use different words, while still keeping the song’s original ovine theme.
“We try to introduce a variety of sheep.”
“Baa Baa Tiroler Steinschaf sheep have you any wool” does have a certain ring to it.
The song’s political correctness has actually been an issue for over a decade now, at least in some Australian preschools. In 2000, a school official in Birmingham told schoolteachers to change the lyrics to “Baa Baa Black Sheep” because of its connection to slavery, according to International Business Times.
“The rhyme has colonial links: ‘Three bags full’ refers to the three bags of wool which the slaves were told to collect and ‘yes sir, yes sir’ is how the slaves would reply to the slave masters when told to do a task.”
Fortunately, just about everybody in Australia thought the idea was ridiculous, and the directive was scrapped. And the recent developments in the Black Sheep Controversy are no different: parents still think it’s ridiculous. A reader named Gavin, who is black, told the Herald Sun that the song doesn’t need updating.
“I am a person who has black skin. Can we please stop with the political correctness, it’s becoming a joke. The song is called baa baa black sheep. No need to change it!”
Other nursery rhymes have gotten politically correct revisions in Australia as well. “Rain! Rain! Go away!” has been changed to promote water conservation; Humpty Dumpty’s ending has been changed to be more positive; and at least one school in Australia has removed the words “santa,” “gay,” and all references to Christianity from its Christmas carols, according to the International Business Times.
The quest for politically correct children is not limited to Australia; last week, teachers in Nebraska were told to stop calling children “boys” and “girls” and replace those words with the more gender-neutral “purple penguins,” according to this Inquisitr report.
What children’s nursery rhymes do you suggest should be updated for political correctness? Let us know in the comments below.
[Image courtesy of: Coloring Pages]