"You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught" – July 19 Video Screening and Discussion at UNC Asheville to Feature Holocaust Escapee and Diversity Educator Rubin Feldstein


Rubin Feldstein, a Polish Jew who escaped the Holocaust, and who has shared his story in local classrooms for many years, is featured in a new short video that will be presented in a special event at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 19 in UNC Asheville’s Reuter Center. Presented by the university’s Center for Diversity Education, this event, which will also feature musicians from Bandana Klezmer, is free and open to everyone.

Feldstein, who worked as a school principal in New Jersey and later taught Yiddish locally, was just a boy when his family fled Poland in 1938, escaping the fate of some six million European Jews who were killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust. For the past 15 years, he has used his family’s story to spur thinking among local students about diversity, and the roots of racism and hate.

The new video about Feldstein, You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught, will be screened at the event, and both Feldstein and the videographer Brandon Priester will discuss their experiences in diversity education.

“For those of Rubin’s generation, the song, You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught, from the musical, South Pacific, was a profound introduction to talking about racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism or any of the myriad ways people learn to spread hate,” said Deborah Miles, director of UNC Asheville’s Center for Diversity Education. “Rubin starts his school talks with the song’s lyrics: You’ve got to be taught to hate and to fear. You’ve got to be taught from year to year. .... You’ve got to be taught before it's too late, Before you are six or seven or eight.”

“Rubin has been sharing his lessons in area schools for thousands of students for so many years, and with hundreds of teachers in professional development settings,” said Miles. “I hope this video will enable teachers to continue to share his story for many years to come. Its 10-minute length is perfect for a classroom setting."

Video producer Priester is a native of Asheville and was A-B Tech’s student government president before entering UNC Asheville, where he graduated in May 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in mass communication. He interviewed Feldstein and produced the video while he was a student intern at the Center for Diversity Education. 

For more information, contact Miles at dmiles@unca.edu or 828.232.5024.