Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Kindergarten Thanksgiving Costumes Banned as "Dehumanizing"

Multicultural activists have succeeded in getting a Thanksgiving costume tradition banned from kindergarten classes in Claremont, California, the Los Angeles Times reports:

Claremont Thanksgiving

For decades, Claremont kindergartners have celebrated Thanksgiving by dressing up as pilgrims and Native Americans and sharing a feast. But on Tuesday, when the youngsters meet for their turkey and songs, they won't be wearing their hand-made bonnets, headdresses and fringed vests.

Parents in this quiet university town are sharply divided over what these construction-paper symbols represent: A simple child's depiction of the traditional (if not wholly accurate) tale of two factions setting aside their differences to give thanks over a shared meal? Or a cartoonish stereotype that would never be allowed of other racial, ethnic or religious groups?

"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.
Angry parents crowed into a school trustees meeting last Thursday to listen to the board announce the cancellation of the events. Many parents knew the decision had been made prior to the meeting, suspecting school officials caved to political correctness.

Some parents are going to send their children to school this week in costumes anyway.

What's interesting about the Pilgrim experience is that those early colonists might not have survived without the help of Native Americans. I don't think children are "dehumanizing" the Indians by dressing up in outfits that commemorate that history:


Kathleen Lucas, a Condit parent who is of Choctaw heritage, said her son - now a first-grader - still wears the vest and feathered headband he made last year to celebrate the holiday."My son was so proud," she said. "In his eyes, he thinks that's what it looks like to be Indian."
Photo Credit: Los Angeles Times

12 comments:

Philippe Ohlund said...

I think it is quite harmless, that kids wear strange clothes at special occasions.

At one of the latest school performances at my daughter's school, the different school classes had different themes.

The pupils of my daughter's class were all disguised in Spanish costumes.

The kids loved it, and they were very funny to watch, when they performed their songs and dances.

Well, the traditions change I guess, but most of us still look forward to a deliverer.

Jan said...

As someone whose maternal great grandfather was a full-blooded Cherokee Indian, I find it ridiculous that dressing up as Indians and Pilgrims is found to be offensive.

If we would be that offended at some of the things which really deserve it--and I'm not even going there--it would be a different story.

Trish said...

This is so sad. My sister's 4 yr old grandaughter is calling it the Fall celebration, in lieu of Thanksgiving.
I want to give up, when I hear what they are doing to our children, and our children's children. It's gotten ridiculous now, and it is so depressing.
This is the basis of the Alinsky method, dumbing down and pc-ing our kids, redoctrinating them in the manner the school system chooses.

Hall Monitor said...

We have officially gone too far. This story also made http://detentionslip.org ! Check it out for all the crazy headlines from our schools.

Grace Explosion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Purplehaze said...

Grace,

Sorry to break it to yah, but America isn't a CHRISTIAN NATION. It was never a Christian nation.

"Some of the more prominent Founding Fathers were anti-clerical or vocal about their opposition to organized religion, such as Jefferson. Some of them often related their anti-organized church leanings in their speeches and correspondence, including George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson (who created the "Jefferson Bible"), and Benjamin Franklin. However, notable founders, such as Patrick Henry, were strong proponents of traditional religion. Several of the Founding Fathers considered themselves to be deists or held beliefs very similar to that of deists, including Franklin, Jefferson, and Ethan Allen.[11] "

Your founding fathers may have had Christian values, or shared Christian values, 99.999% of which are probably common to most people on earth. That doesn't give Christians a monopoly on religion in America, nor does it give Christians a monopoly on morality.


As you can see from the citation, many of your founding fathers were "diests", that is they believed in some "supreme god". I just don't understand how these seemingly rational, forward thinkers that founded your country could be replaced by people who want to wield a 3000 year old piece of text as the model of law and order.

Just one of many bizarre unfolding of events that I happen to be puzzled at. Another being the election of George W. Bush, not once but twice! How can a country with its endless wealth of knowledge and educational facilities elect such air-heads as their leaders? Thats a tangent for another day I suppose.

Righty64 said...

This is absurd, but not surprising. Note, the mother is a UNIVERSITY professor! No offense to the proprietor of this blog! But so damn many college/university profs are educated fools, imo! I mean, from what I am reading, the whole costume thing is really designed to foster a POSITIVE relationship. Now, if it tweaks the history a little, what is the big deal? People need to understand what Thanksgiving is all about TODAY if they do not want to think about the history. I am thankful to live here, in the greatest nation in the world!

Tom the Redhunter said...

Ok, let me educate you, Purplehaze:

We are and aren't a Christian nation. It all depends on how you look at it.

We are a Christian nation in that our laws and heritage are from Christianity. Whether you like it or not those are the facts.

On the other side, we aren't a Christian nation in that we have no state religion.

And no the founders were not all diests in the way you suppose. They weren't modern evangelicals either, but sorry they were't diests. They were more Christian, but not in our modern sense. More than I can explain here.

But you've obviously have some ax to grind with Christians. Whatever your issues are, get over them.

Donald Douglas said...

Tom: Purplehaze trolls around here once in a while to make totally lame slurs on conservatives, etc.

That's nice you indulged him in a bit of reality.

Righty64 said...

This made me post on the subject, Donald. As I was writing my thoughts, the more I realized how really absurd this political correctness is. And how you are but a lonely voice in academia! Keep the faith!

PALINATOR!!!! said...

Great comments, class (ahem) who can tell me the actual history of Thanksgiving? Perhaps this is an opportunity for this small liberal University town to introduce accuracy in American History, a subject fraught with lies and cover ups in today's textbooks.

Anonymous said...

Please!

Everyone is blaming 1 woman, Michelle Raheja who is a mother, a teacher and is Seneca.

Let me ask you: when in history have the words of 1 single indigenous woman created immediate change in the status quo? NEVER!

Perhaps that the principals who decided to cancel the celebrations (it was the principals, not the School Board, and certainly not Ms. Raheja) saw validity in her ideas.

Others need to stand up, explain why the canceled the tradition for this year, and what is planned for the future.