Tuesday, February 02, 2010

so here's (one of) my problem with your elite PC school.

The wee kiddies told me yesterday that they are learning about "the New Year" this week and celebrating it to boot. Oh, you mean Chinese (Oriental Lunar) New Year? There are. . . there are no Asian kids in your class. I mean, I love Chinese New Year-- food, money, new clothing, family. Blar blah blar. I also love Mulan. Yeah!

Continue reading!

(See, I do.)

So this school, supposedly secular but stuffed so full of hysterically sensitive people that the kids aren't allowed to wear a Middle Eastern-type hipster scarf to school (a legit & quite beautiful one the father brought back from a business trip in Dubai or somewhere) because it's anti-Semitic, is using "ethnic" holidays to replace things like Christmas, Easter, etc as excuses to have parties in class or whatever. Which is fine, whatever, do what you want-- but don't ignore that these "ethnic" holidays have roots in religion and philosophy. It's not something quaint that slopey-eyed people do because they aren't white. On the other hand if exoticism is your goal than that's fucking weird. SO then how you gonna explain ancestor worship to these kids, hmm?

I remember in 1st grade we learned about Columbus. This was a public school in SoCal in the early 90s. When my father asked me what I had learned, I said something about how Columbus had kidnapped Indians. Because that was the only thing they had stressed. He was pissed, and I understand now what his point was. And I agree. Just telling that one side is as obscuring and damaging no matter what side. Columbus discovered America yay. Ok. Not enough. But it's the same as Columbus came to America and kidnapped Indians boo. Ok. So what. Still not enough. Tell kids why things are important. They're not stupid. And don't tell them the fucking world was flat then. It wasn't.

Or, how about-- a few weeks ago, teaching my nanny-kids gospel songs in an ostensibly secular school because black people sang it during the Civil Rights movement & Martin Luther King Jr is (was) next week. Doing so devalues the lyrics and their power and makes it seem, again, like something those wacky brown people just, you know, do, because it was "then" and they were "them." Taking things out of context is a dangerous thing to do. It is a form of censorship and infantilization. Not what I'd want to get out of 24K/kid/year. Religious, or in general, holidays-- including Christmas, Hanukkah, jeeze, even Kawanza-- are really interesting to learn about. Shying away from dicussing the background is cheating kids out of a real chance to learn about something they would otherwise not have the opportunity of exposure.


C said...

Chinese new year isn't til Valentine's Day...?

b said...

oh yeah-- they're doing a two week thing. . . . or something? i have no freakin clue. lilly (the little girl) was vague about it. i don't think she has any idea.


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