Red & Yellow & Black & White

Hi! ¬†I’m Jenni Clayville.

Vince has generously invited me into his world to guest-blog, but you can usually find me over HERE at

So… I found Vince (or he found me… I can’t remember now) through my ridiculous addiction to Twitter and I quickly realized we had a lot in common. ¬†I was the Worship Director for Student Ministries for a big church in the Portland area the past 6 years but was hired on, back in August of 2008, to be the Worship Pastor at Church at Bethany, a local church plant. ¬†Seeing the connections yet?

Anyway… somehow… in our limited interactions via the internet world, Vince gave me free reign to say whatever I wanted… RIGHT NOW… on this page. ¬†SOME may say that’s not-so-smart, but THEY are the one’s that are… uh… “not-so-smart”. ¬†It’s only because THEY don’t know how ABSOLUTELY brilliant Vince is. ¬†You can judge for yourselves.

I always have a million random thoughts running through my head.  Let me enlighten you with just ONE of my current thoughts.

Since I’m a Worship Pastor, I’m often thinking and singing through songs. ¬†Let’s take this moment to talk about Christian children’s songs. ¬†How about “Jesus Loves the Little Children”.

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
All are precious in His sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Sooooooo… I sang this song as a child, and can I just tell you I had no idea I was “yellow”. ¬†I’m more of a tan-olive skinned chick. ¬†How was I supposed to know?

C. Herbert Woolston (1856-1927) wrote the lyrics to this song… but if you look at the date of his life, isn’t that when Black Americans (yes… “black” because they weren’t ALL from Africa) were still fighting for freedom and when the Chinese built the Transcontinental Railroad?

I just realized this post could be taken seriously. ¬†I can assure you, that’s not my purpose in writing this. ¬†There’s actually very little about me that “serious”. ¬†It’s just a real question I have… something that floats around in my head. ¬†What do you think?

With that said:

Does your church still sing this?

23 thoughts on “Red & Yellow & Black & White”

  1. Pingback: Vince Marotte
  2. Hi Jenni, welcome to Vince's blog. I'm old and often don't 'get it' but I'm not real clear on the reason for your question. I'm assuming that you are uncomfortable with this song because of its skin color references but the fact that the author wrote it when racial discrimination was much more prevalent than it is today makes it quite a forward-thinking, even revolutionary song, don't you think? More (or different) colors could have been included in this song of course (brown for one, since most of us are a shade of brown.) I remember as a child wondering what the colors represented, since I never actually saw anyone who was red or yellow, even black or white. I just knew it meant that Jesus loved everybody, regardless of their differences. But what did I know? I was only a child.
    My suggestion is … If the song is offensive to you, don't sing it. Language is important and never neutral. It changes in meaning over time and when it becomes hurtful or insensitive, then it should be discontinued. Songs are not sacred. I love the sentiment behind this song and wouldn't have a problem teaching it to my grandchildren but I understand your concern.

  3. Wayne… Thanks for the comment.

    I can assure you, this doesn't offend me at all. I actually like it. I sing it with my sons (we actually add "especially the yellow" really quickly after the "red and yellow, black and white" part just to have some silly factor in it all).

    I see this song the same way you do. Woolston was ahead of his time. My questions are simply:

    What do you think of the song now?
    Does your church still sing this?

    No hidden agenda… just a curious mind.

  4. you make me laugh. ;-)

    we sing this at bedtime too and I put their names in for each one. "Jesus loves the little Aidan's…all the Aidan's of the world…." Same with Dylan. And Owen. I do a lot of singing around here. HA!

  5. I don't believe we sing it at my church….it's all about cutting edge techno sounding stuff. but i like the song and sing it with my kids. Regardless of the era of writing the message is timeless. It brings back happier days when I was a kid and sat with my mom singing the song.

  6. I'm a little bitter that Jesus doesn't love brown people. Although I am not typically brown (more pinky-peach – except in the summer when I am almost completely brown except for… well.. you know… the naughty bits) – where was I? Oh yeah… although I am not typically brown, I am feeling concerned for my brown friends that apparently Jesus does not love.

    Maybe if He just spent some time with brown people. I've heard that once you go brown, you can't put it down.

    And we don't sing this song.

  7. @brandolynicole – that's a GREAT idea!!! I'm gonna start doing that with Chance and Paxton… but still sing the "especially the yellow" part :) you know.

    nate – DUDE!!! you should totally remix it into a techno song. can you imagine the possibilities? this song reminds me of happy childhood days too… except when i was singing it riding my not-so-stable tricycle… and fell on my face. i remember asking Jesus if he loved all the children but me. apparently, i got over it :)

    Pat – OMW!!! LOL!!! You are HILARIOUS!

    1. re techno kids songs…you really shouldn't plant these ideas you know…but I can just see the next Hillsong Kids album now

      Or my album, with the special hidden bonus track…

  8. I used to think this song was about jaundiced babies, until my mum explained the whole "yellow" thing as referring to Asians…to which I responded "but they're not yellow…Big Bird is yellow", never mind the fact that by that logic I'm not white and my Aboriginal friends are not black (well most of them, some are black as night).

    Not quite sure why I never asked who the red people were…I probably just thought it was referring to babies who'd just been born…

    Anyway…no, our church never did sing this song, and the church I grew up in always preferred Jesus Loves Me.

    Of course, there's always the PC alternate version :

    Jesus loves the little children
    All the children of the world
    When they scratch and when they fight
    They're still precious in His sight
    Jesus loves the little children of the world.

  9. Thought it was interesting to read the discussion on the colors of the song. I was raised in a small town in the panhandle of Texas, and I was taught to sing the song….brown, red, yellow, black and white we are precious in His sight…thought it was odd others left out brown!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>