Diary

Thanksgiving Celebration for Children Protested

From the diaries by Erick.

You knew this would happen in California, right?

In Claremont, California (county of Riverside) there exists as in many schools across the nation a celebration of Thanksgiving where children dress up in construction paper costumes as Indians or Pilgrims, and have school plays and parties.

A four-decade tradition in Claremont, kindergartners at Condit and Mountain View elementary schools take turns each year dressing up and walking to the other’s school for a Thanksgiving feast. This year, the Mountain View kids were to have dressed as Native Americans and walked to Condit, whose students were to have dressed as Pilgrims.

Enter University of Riverside Assistant Professor Michelle Raheja. Her daughter attends kindergarten at Condit Elementary, and she was offended that her daughter would be subjected to “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.” And this she communicated to her daughter’s teacher, and from there on up the chain to the school board.

Initially Raheja wanted to “open a dialogue” to discuss alternatives and people clashed at a Thursday school board meeting:

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.

Should have been the end of it?
Maybe, but these parents were fed up;

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.” 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. Raheja is “using those children as a political platform for herself and her ideas,” Constance Garabedian said as her 5-year-old Mountain View kindergartner happily practiced a song about Native Americans in the background. “I’m not a professor and I’m not a historian, but I can put the dots together.”

They talked amongst themselves, and decided to send the kids to school in costume anyway, defying the school board. Many parents went to school with their children, preparing food fit for a real Thanksgiving feast, and even dressing up like Indians or Pilgrims themselves.

As the “Indians” walked the distance to the “Pilgrims” school, however, they were met by protesters carrying signs, saying “Don’t Celebrate Genocide”, “You Are Not Honoring Anyone”, “No Thanks-No Giving”, and various others. The LA Times reported nearly two dozen protesters, but parents interviewed by KFI radio’s Jodi Becker said the number was closer to twelve. Several of the parents brought food out to the protesters in a genuine display of Thanksgiving détente, but the offer was refused, with one protester saying, paraphrasing: “We’ve seen this trick before, last time [incomprehensible]we were massacred!” while another said something else incomprehensible about “200 of us died!”. Meaning what, parents fed them poisoned food? I don’t know.

But guess what? The 5 year old kids had a blast, ate good food, and maybe got their first lesson on politically correct wackiness, although it would’ve been nice to let it wait a few years.

I’d hate to think someday we may lose Thanksgiving to the PC people. We’re constantly under attack from all sides. Anyone even notice?

PETA hates we eat turkey. What exactly do they do on the fourth Thursday in November?

College professors hate 5 years olds wearing paper feathers. Guess they don’t root for the Redskins.

To be honest, I’ve always been too busy to pay attention to anything but family, meat temperatures (my wife and I love a moist turkey), and how much stuff can be made to fit in one oven. Is the tradition of Thanksgiving in jeopardy?

As long as there are parents like those in Claremont refusing to conform, refusing to give in, and willing to be rebels in the face of the new PC establishment, we’ll be giving thanks for a while longer.