30 September 2007

When Will Political Correctness Need To Turn On Its Own?

In Oak Lawn, IL, a school district is looking at eliminating typical American holiday traditions because they are offensive to some Muslims.

So long, Halloween parade. Farewell, Santa's gift shop.

The holiday traditions are facing elimination in some Oak Lawn schools this year after complaints that the activities are offensive, particularly to Muslim students.

Final decisions on which of the festivities will be axed will fall to the principals at each of Ridgeland School District 122's five schools, Supt. Tom Smyth said.

Parents expect that the announcement is going to add to the tension that has been building since officials agreed earlier this month to change the lunch menu to exclude items containing pork to accommodate Muslim students. News that Jell-O was struck from the menu caused such a stir that officials have agreed to bring it back. Gelatin is often made with tissue or bones of pigs or other animals.

That controversy now appears to have been dwarfed by the holiday debate, which became so acrimonious Wednesday that police were called to Columbus Manor School to intervene in a shouting match among parents.

"It's difficult when you change the school's culture," said Columbus Manor Principal Sandy Robertson.
Principal Robertson says that it is a change to the school's culture, but I would argue that these are changes to our nation's culture.

Halloween and Christmas are very well known and beloved holidays in the U.S., and those holidays have become quite secularized. Christmas still may have some religious overtones attached to it, but most public displays present the secular aspects of the holiday. Halloween, on the other hand, has been almost completely secularized; so much so that it is usually Christians who are complaining about the "satanic" overtones of the holiday.

To remove these traditions in order to keep a minority group from being offended is a precedence that the multi-culturalists may want to think twice about setting. I know that it is all in the "spirit of unity and tolerance," but soon these groups will be turning on one another. When that happens, the multi-culti types will need to decide who needs to be tolerated more, or who needs to be offended less.

For example, back in July of 2005, PETA launched their "Are Animals the New Slaves?" campaign. When it reached New Haven, CT that August, the NAACP demanded that the display be immediately removed.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a national animal rights group, posted giant photographs of people, mostly black Americans, being tortured, sold and killed, next to photographs of animals, including cattle and sheep, being tortured, sold and killed. [...]

One man demanded that the NAACP get involved immediately. Five minutes later, Scot X. Esdaile, president of the state and Greater New Haven chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, arrived at the scene, surveyed the photos and blasted the organizers.

"Once again, black people are being pimped. You used us. You have used us enough," Esdaile said. "Take it down immediately."

"I am a black man! I can’t compare the suffering of these black human beings to the suffering of this cow," said Michael Perkins, 47, of New Haven. He stood in front of a photo of butchered livestock hung next to the photo of two lynched black men dangling before a white mob.

"You can’t compare me to a freaking cow," shouted John Darryl Thompson, 46, of New Haven, inches from Carr’s face. "We don’t care about PETA. You are playing a dangerous game."
When PETA complains that animal friendly and meat free alternatives must be provided for students who are vegetarians or vegans, the tolerance groups are all for them. The same can be said of requests from the NAACP for considerations for black students. But when it is PETA vs. the NAACP, then who should the tolerance groups back?

More recently, we have had Islamic cabbies refusing rides to some fares because alcohol offended their Muslim sensibilities. When it is just someone bringing in a bottle of wine, the tolerance types would likely tend to side with the cabbies. But when tolerance for Islam comes into conflict with tolerance for the disabled or for the gay, lesbian, or transgendered, then the tolerance groups have to juggle which of the actors should be tolerated more.

A large number of taxi drivers in the area of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport are Muslim Somali immigrants. Many say they feel the faith's ban on alcohol consumption includes transporting anyone carrying it.

Some also have refused to transport dogs, both pets and guide dogs, saying they are unclean.

-- and --

In her bright pink hat, Paula Hare has found herself waiting on her stoop a lot lately, for taxi cabs that never come.

Not to avoid confusion, Paula even tells the taxi dispatcher she’s transgendred. But on three occasions when the taxi actually showed up, she says Muslim drivers have refused to give her a lift.
If I question why a Muslim should be accommodated for his religious beliefs, it is likely that I will be labeled a bigot or Islamophobe. While I don't agree with that, it is a fact of life in our P.C. culture.

When accommodation for Islamic religious beliefs ends up meaning that Paula can't get a ride because she was originally Paul, however, then which one has precedence? Which intolerance is worse? Is it worse to be intolerant of a Muslim's religious beliefs, or is it worse to be intolerant of a transgendered person?

How long will it be until Haji complains that acceptance of homosexuality offends his Islamic faith, and a school board is stuck with the decision of removing homosexual references from any school materials or discussions versus offending a religious minority? When the Christians complain, it is easy to call them homophobic. When Muslims complain, however, the school board is risking being Islamophobic by not complying with Muslim religious beliefs, or homophobic by not allowing homosexuality to be presented as acceptable. Eventually one has to be more equal than the other.


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