Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Happy National Brotherhood Week!

As many of you know, I am a big fan of Tom Lehrer, the satirical songwriter and singer (and mathematician) who was active in the 1950s and 1960s. And recently I've been thinking a lot about, and humming, his song titled "National Brotherhood Week*."

And wouldn't you know?! THIS WEEK just happens to be National Brotherhood Week! Or it would be if National Brotherhood Week still existed.

National Brotherhood Week, a celebration of tolerance and respect for all peoples, was created in 1934 by what was then known as the National Council of Christian and Jews (and is now the National Conference for Community and Justice). But it stopped being celebrated in the 1980s, because we had, under Ronald Reagan, totally eradicated bigotry and racism and hate crimes. (That would be sarcasm for all of you suffering from frontotemporal dementia.)

However, as intolerance and racism and hate crimes have been making a big comeback, especially against Jews, it may be time to resurrect National Brotherhood Week.

Now if only someone would resurrect Tom Lehrer's act -- or some younger satirist would take up Lehrer's mantle.

*Here are the lyrics:

Oh, the white folks hate the black folks 
And the black folks hate the white folks 
To hate all but the right folks 
Is an old established rule 

But during National Brotherhood Week 
National Brotherhood Week 
Lena Horne and Sheriff Clark 
Are dancing cheek to cheek 

It's fun to eulogize 
The people you despise 
As long as you don't let 'em in your school 

Oh, the poor folks hate the rich folks 
And the rich folks hate the poor folks 
All of my folks hate all of your folks 
It's American as apple pie 

But during National Brotherhood Week 
National Brotherhood Week 
New Yorkers love the Puerto Ricans 
'Cause it's very chic 

Step up and shake the hand 
Of someone you can't stand 
You can tolerate him if you try 

Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics 
And the Catholics hate the Protestants 
And the Hindus hate the Moslems 
And everybody hates the Jews 

But during National Brotherhood Week 
National Brotherhood Week 
It's National Everyone-Smile-At-One-Another-hood Week 

Be nice to people who 
Are inferior to you 
It's only for a week, so have no fear 
Be grateful that it doesn't last all year!

1 comment:

VB said...

The need to be reminded and encouraged to be kind is both depressing and inspiring.