Bill Moyers Journal look at the Kerner Commission Report excellent resource on race in America—then (40 years ago) and now

All week I’ve been thinking about and talking about Bill Moyers Journal March 28, 2008 look at “an update of the Kerner Commission Report, which blamed the violence on the devastating poverty and hopelessness endemic in the inner cities of the 1960s.” There is a transcript and podcast and background material here you’ll want to look at.

This segment is simply one of the best discussions on race in America I’ve seen. It includes an interview with former Oklahoma Senator Fred Harris, one of the last living members of the Kerner Commission, and Newark Mayor Cory Booker (“Forty years after race riots in Detroit, Newark, and dozens of other cities stunned the nation, has anything changed? Bill Moyers interviews Newark Mayor Cory Booker for a frontline report on race and politics today.”) Listening to Mayor Booker speak with such conviction, passion, vision, and seasoned wisdom is inspiriting.

It’s a fullscale symphonic news rendition of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught” from South Pacific. If it’s been awhile since you’ve heard that song, the lyrics and chords go like this.

[ G+/ C#dim7]

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

/ G – D9 – / G Am7 G – /

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made
And people whose skin is a different shade
You’ve got to be carefully 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

/ Cmaj7 G+ Cmaj7 G+ / Cmaj7 G+ Cmaj7 C#dim7 / D7sus4 – D7 – / G G7 Cmaj7 C#dim7 / D7sus4 – G – /

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