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Sondheim tried to tell us in a warped fairy tale; hatred is taught, not born. Prejudices are enforced with blind caution create a self-perpetuating cycle of racism, gender bias, and mindless violence.
My own experience reaches back to first grade where I sat in a classroom with white kids, black kids, Asian kids, and who knows who else! My rationale behind how I interacted with my classmates was based on our personal interaction; if you were kind to me, I was kind to you.