Tuesday, September 26, 2023
View Blog
Nov 25

Written by: Diana West
Tuesday, November 25, 2008 7:23 AM 

A report from the Los Angeles Times (via Drudge) titled "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold"--I mean, "Claremont parents clash over kindgergarten Thanksgiving costumes." To prevent readers from growing too dispirited over the PC assault and takeover of our culture depicted in the story, keep in mind that there seems be a Parents Revolt brewing.

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?

In other words, this means (culture) war.

"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."

[NB from the rebel-blog Claremont Insider: "Raheja is an Assistant Professor of English at UC Riverside and the mother of a Condit Elementary kindergartener. UCR also hosts the California Center for Native Nations which, among other projects, seems to advocate removing the image of that old Indian fighter, Old Hickory, Andrew Jackson, from the $20 bill. This seems of a piece with Raheja's "history-defying" (that's a word from this website page) campaign to remove the Indians and Pilgrims from Thanksgiving. Why, next thing you know, they're going to want take the "X" out of Xmas."  Now, back to the LA Times:]

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.

Last week, rumors began to circulate on both campuses that the district was planning to cancel the event, and infuriated parents argued over the matter at a heated school board meeting Thursday. District Supt. David Cash announced at the end of the meeting that the two schools had tentatively decided to hold the event without the costumes, and sent a memo to parents Friday confirming the decision.

Here, via Claremont Insider, is what this craven white flag of cultural surrender--I mean, "memo" said: "Dear Kindgergarten Parents...The original Thanksgiving involved the coming together of the Pilgrims and the Native Americans. In the past, students have dressed in Pilgrim and Native American costumes. It has been brought to our attention that by dressing the students in an Indian costume may be perceived as a negative caricature of Native Americans [sic]. In order to be senistive to the Native American culture, we will not celebrate our feast together in costume. We will instead dress in Mountain View [school] and Condit [school] t-shirts. Blah, blah, blah. PS. If your child does not have a Mountain View t-shirt they [sic] can wear a blue shirt."

Cultural deconstruction, pure and simple, leaving only shards and dust. And a pile of t-shirts. Back to more of the Times story:

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."

Well, why not?

Among the costume supporters, there is a vein of suspicion that casts Raheja and others opposed to the costumes as agenda-driven elitists. Of the handful of others who spoke with Raheja against the costumes at the board meeting, one teaches at the University of Redlands, one is an instructor at Riverside Community College, and one is a former Pitzer College professor.

Hmmm. Ya think something is "agenda-driven" at our centers of so-called and alleged higher education?

The debate is far from over. Some parents plan to send their children to school in costume Tuesday -- doubting that administrators will force them to take them off. The following day, some plan to keep their children home, costing the district attendance funds to punish them for modifying the event.

"She's not going to tell us what we can and cannot wear," said Dena Murphy, whose 5-year-old son attends Mountain View. "We're tired of [district officials] cowing down to people. It's not right."

More to come? We'll see.



Privacy Statement  |  Terms Of Use
Copyright 2012 by Diana West