Especially in December, it seems that you can’t pick up a paper or watch the news without hearing about another school, town or community barring or cancelling a holiday celebration due to calls protesting the event for being too exclusive or that the name alienates select groups. It’s a growing trend that I call being becoming too “PC.” I almost want to yell, “Can’t we all just get along?!”
Are we becoming so politically correct in trying to include everyone, that we’re losing sight of our appreciation and respect of one another’s customs and traditions?
Here are three
recent events I heard about this year:
- Just before Hanukkah, a holiday concert was cancelled. The school planned to cover Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa songs. All of the big winter holidays were being covered, so it seemed that everyone was included – sounds great right?… Wrong… people complained this time that it was too religious.
- In another instance, a governor planned to not have a Christmas tree (which he said must be called a “holiday tree” the year before), at all this year. He was so deluged with complaints from his constituents and the state’s Catholic churches, as well as criticized by the media, that he put up the tree and announced a tree lighting 30 minutes before. This time he called it a “Christmas tree.”
- I also heard about more and more schools eliminating holiday concerts and forbidding students from wishing each other a “Merry Christmas.” Instead they’ve insisted that everyone say “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” for all holidays because it’s more politically correct and inclusive. (In some cases students were suspended if they didn’t follow these rules.)
I’d like to go back to a time where we saw value in hearing about and allowing celebrations for all of the holidays. You learn about the diversity that makes us who we are.
When I was growing up, we learned about all sorts of different holidays and their origins. While I did not learn of Kwanzaa until more recently, we learned about US holidays as well as international ones like Boxing Day, Canada Day and Three Kings. While I may never have celebrated some of these holidays, it was interesting to learn more about them, who celebrated them, and in some cases, hear the songs I might not normally hear. We were tolerant of each other’s differences, and appreciated that we had them and celebrated them.
Perhaps because I celebrate Christmas I can’t fully understand why it could be seen as offensive to say Merry Christmas or not feel bad later if I’ve said those words. In my mind I’m wishing another well at this time of year. (If I know that you celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, I’m always happy to extend that greeting your way as well.)
I’ll probably always call the tree we put up in our homes or in our towns and cities a Christmas tree. That said, I’m more than happy to have symbols in my town that celebrate your holiday – like a menorah or one that would reflect your appreciation and celebration of Kwanzaa.
I only ask, can we please stop the trend of eliminating phrases, or public displays, or even making me feel bad about the traditions I have simply because other do not share them or they are no longer seen as “politically correct”? I assure you I have no ill will for others when I use or appreciate them.