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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Holidays Are Here! Pour the Whine!

'Tis the season to start whining and complaining about how the holidays are celebrated. In Claremont, California, parents are at odds over the crucial issue of whether or not their kindergartners should be allowed to dress up as Pilgrims and Indians for Thanksgiving:
    "It's demeaning," Michelle Raheja, the mother of a kindergartner at Condit Elementary School, wrote to her daughter's teacher. "I'm sure you can appreciate the inappropriateness of asking children to dress up like slaves (and kind slave masters), or Jews (and friendly Nazis), or members of any other racial minority group who has struggled in our nation's history."

    Raheja, whose mother is a Seneca, wrote the letter upon hearing of a four-decade district tradition, where kindergartners at Condit and Mountain View elementary schools take annual turns dressing up and visiting the other school for a Thanksgiving feast. This year, the Mountain View children would have dressed as Native Americans and walked to Condit, whose students would have dressed as Pilgrims.

    Raheja, an English professor at UC Riverside who specializes in Native American literature, said she met with teachers and administrators in hopes that the district could hold a public forum to discuss alternatives that celebrate thankfulness without "dehumanizing" her daughter's ancestry.

    "There is nothing to be served by dressing up as a racist stereotype," she said.
And how could the holidays possibly be complete without the obligatory ban on Christmas decorations?:
    Christmas is just 30 days away, but Santa Claus won't be stopping by Florida Gulf Coast University this holiday.

    He's not allowed on campus.

    FGCU administration has banned all holiday decorations from common spaces on campus and canceled a popular greeting card design contest, which is being replaced by an ugly sweater competition. In Griffin Hall, the university's giving tree for needy preschoolers has been transformed into a "giving garden."

    The moves boil down to political correctness.

    "Public institutions, including FGCU, often struggle with how best to observe the season in ways that honor and respect all traditions," President Wilson Bradshaw wrote in a memo to faculty and staff Thursday. "This is a challenging issue each year at FGCU, and 2008 is no exception. While it may appear at times that a vocal majority of opinion is the only view that is held, this is not always the case."

    Bradshaw's directive struck a chord with FGCU employees. The Staff Advisory Council received 44 anonymous comments on the issue; all were against the ban on holiday decorations.
So, keep this in mind as you gather with friends and family this holiday season: No matter how you celebrate, you're probably offending someone.

1 comment:

Chris Wilde said...

I guess then, as a descendant of a Mayflower passenger, I'm supposed to be offended by my own avatar.

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