Australian Schools and Childcare Facilities Seek Change in "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep" Lyrics

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In an effort to abide by ‘political correctness,’ many kindergartens and childcare facilities in Australia have begun changing the lyrics of the “Baa Baa Black Sheep” nursery rhyme.

The alleged word in question is “Black,” which apparently could have racial connotations if taken improperly.

The history of “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep,” which originated as an English nursery rhyme, can be traced back to its earliest version in 1731. There are two suggested historical meanings, though neither can be completely confirmed.

The first suggest meaning was that the rhyme had to do with heavy taxation on wool for the time period. Numerous nursery rhymes have to do with current events at the times of their inception, such as “Ring Around the Rosey” being about the Black Plague.

The second suggested meaning is that the adjective “black” was purposely used as to make reference for the slave trade. The sheep uses the word “master” when telling the narrator whom the wool is for. “Master” can be taken in a variety of ways, as either the literal term for the owner of the sheep or a more sinister reference to slavery.

Coordinator Celine Pieterse at Malvern East’s Central Park Child Care wants to incorporate the idea of diversity and that the sheep could take any form or color that the children wish to speak. Pieterse said that children could still use the term “black” if they wished, but at the childcare facility they try to “introduce a variety of sheep.”