I have to admit, I scoffed when the whole “War on Christmas” thing broke into a media frenzy last year. Little did I know that Christmas was just the tip of the iceberg.
My son’s school banned Halloween treats this year from the classroom citing a violation of healthy food policy and food allergies. Quite legitimate reasons… they’re still having fun with Jack-O-Lanterns and having a little parade. What I didn’t realize was how lucky the students of my son’s school are to be having a Halloween party at all. Many schools in the region have bowed to the pressure from some parents to eliminate the “offensive” practice of celebrating Halloween altogether. This “White Man’s Holiday,” as I’ve seen it referred to in some publications and blogs, encourages children to participate in racist, satanic, stereotyping, and/or gender-biased role playing.
Well, bah humbug, indeed!
I’m going to go out on the moderate limb here. I’m pretty sure that even I have commented that it seems like your shopping choices for girl costumes are limited to princesses and fairies. However, letting a four year old pretend she’s a princess for one night of the year is not equivalent to strapping her into a pair of cement shoes and sinking her to the bottom of the Sexist Female Stereotype Pond.
Freedom of expression and religion are great, and I get the need for political correctness. BUT. When you use your rights to freedom of expression and religion to stomp on others’ rights to freedom of expression and religion, you’re just being a hypocritical party-pooper.
We live in a land that’s supposed to be built on benevolent tolerance. Acceptance would be better, but hey, baby steps. We’re all supposed to at least try to get along. Instead, the concept of “tolerance” has gone so wrong and backward that we’re being socially reformatted into a bland beige paste. Why? We must be tolerant of their intolerance! We wouldn’t want to accidentally offend someone who’s being an intolerant asshat rather than insist that they suck it up sometimes! That would be not nice.
I can speak from direct experience that there is nothing half so awkward as trying to figure out how to wish someone even the most neutral of Happy Holidays without risking offence and getting tongue-lashed for it by your employer. Please excuse me while I ignore you, because in this economy, it would really suck to be fired for attempting to be cheerful and polite to you. Head Office hasn’t sent the memo yet on what the approved acceptable holiday slogan is supposed to be.
It’s effing crazy.
Those of us who do understand how the concept of tolerance is supposed to work die inside a little more with every passing year. Our “mainstream” traditions, observances and holidays are getting ground down and smothered under a multi-front assault of corporate greed, well-intentioned political correctness, and a very vocal minority of naysayers.
Oh yes, it is a minority. My son attends a school where there is a heavy ethnic mix of all sorts. If anybody could be raised to be truly colour/culture-blind, it would be the children in his SK class. The bar for the truest vision of celebrating Canadian multiculturalism could be set right there… as long as nobody screws it up. Every kid participated in the “White Man’s Holiday” that is Halloween. Despite the heavy tendency to either princesses or superheroes, they were sharing and playing nicely together in a way that some grown adults in this world consider as impossible to comprehend as rocket science. Come December, they’ll play Dreidel and craft symbols of Kwanzaa as well as tree ornaments.
Hey you holiday Scrooges, take a page from Kindergarten: change your attitude to a constructive criticism of “Share! Me too!” We’ll play nice in the sandbox together, and in an ideal situation, we celebrate yours as you celebrate ours.
Why the heck not? I’m an immigrant to Canada myself, and I think multiculturalism, freedom of expression and belief is a beautiful, enriching thing. It’s like having a full spread of menu options at the mall food court. As far as I’m concerned, any good reason to get together in good fellowship and have a party is a great one.
Chinese New Year? Sign me up. Beltane? Is it sacrilegious to bring marshmallows to the bonfire?
Oh and don’t you worry, my friends in feminism, I’m doing my part to ensure the princesses interested in science too. Maybe we could have a parade?
I’m just trying to be the slightly-annoyed voice of reason here. You have the freedom to do or not as you please. If you somehow can’t bring yourself to practice acceptance, aim for the true ideal of tolerance. Stay at home and turn off your lights. Smile and wish others a beige happy holidays. Recognize that all you do when you actively crush the practices of others is foster resentment and ill will.
You know, common-sense type sh*t.
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