Baa baa, blacklist

The Madhya Pradesh government yanks “Western” nursery rhymes from schoolbooks–no more Baa Baa Black Sheep, no more Johnny Johnny, Yes Papa, and Humpty Dumpty can go jump. This is kind of puzzling; instead of banning nursery rhymes, my nephew’s school in Delhi offers original and bootleg versions, so that kids sing Incy Wincy Spider and Choti Moti Makdee with equal elan, which is probably a more sensible approach.
But the MP government is in excellent company. As this story reported, well-meaning educationists in Aberdeen changed the words of Baa Baa Black Sheep to “Baa Baa Happy Sheep” in order to avoid any offensive racist overtones; in Britain a local council went a step further, eschewing “black sheep” in favour of “rainbow sheep”.
What do we learn from this? Sheep are racist. Stick with cows, they’re merely sacred. Oops, no; it turns out that way back in 2002 someone decided that milk was racist too.

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