Baa Baa Sheep Sheep - Vtech Replaces Lyrics To Children's Nursery Rhyme On Toy

By November 11, 2018

After father Steve McCarthy from Durham, UK purchased a Little Star Activity table manufactured by Vtech, for his 2-year-old toddler, he was extremely surprised when the lyrics to the popular song Baa Baa Black Sheep had been replaced with Baa Baa Sheep Sheep.

The toy sheep used in the Little Star Activity toy had also had its colour changed to white and the words in an accompanying book had been edited too.

In 2014, Baa Baa Black Sheep had once again sparked debate after a kindergarten in Melbourne changed its lyrics due to racial implications.

Educators were left concerned over the connotations of 'black' while teachers were also troubled by the line 'one for the little boy who lives down the lane', which they believed had sexist overtones.

Baa, Baa, Black Sheep" is an English nursery rhyme, the earliest surviving version of which dates from 1731.

Uncorroborated theories have advanced to explain the meaning of the rhyme. These include it is a complaint against taxes levied on the Medieval English wool trade and it is about the slave trade. In the twentieth century, it was a subject of controversies in debates about political correctness.

The rhyme referred to resentment at the heavy taxation on wool. This has particularly been taken to refer to the medieval English "Great" or "Old Custom" wool tax of 1275, which survived until the fifteenth century. More recently the rhyme has been connected to the slave trade, particularly in the southern United States. This explanation was advanced during debates over political correctness and the use and reform of nursery rhymes in the 1980s but has no supporting historical evidence. Rather than being negative, the wool of black sheep may have been prized as it could be made into dark cloth without dyeing.

A controversy emerged over changing the language of "Baa Baa Black Sheep" in Britain from 1986, because, it was alleged in the popular press, it was seen as racially dubious. This was based only on a rewriting of the rhyme in one private nursery as an exercise for the children there and not on any local government policy. A similar controversy emerged in 1999 when reservations about the rhyme were submitted to Birmingham City Council by a working group on racism in children's resources, which were never approved or implemented. Two private nurseries in Oxfordshire in 2006 altered the song to "Baa Baa Rainbow Sheep", with black being replaced with a variety of other adjectives, like "happy, sad, hopping" and "pink".In 2012, a private nursery in Kingston upon Thames replaced "black" with "little" for their Easter show.

Reference:
Hussain, Danyal "Father Is Baffled After Children's Toy Changes The Words To Nursery Rhyme", Mail Online, 9 November 2018
Baa Baa Black Sheep, Wikipedia