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Reflections


Holiday Faux Pas

by Ralph R. Reiland,
Professor of Free Enterprise at Robert Morris University
 

I didn't even know it was a problem, but it appears that some of the politically correct people Down Under have found a way to stop Santa Clauses from making hookers feel bad.

According to a spokesperson for Westoff, a recruiting and training company that has supplied thousands of Santas across Australia for over four decades, their new guys in red and white are being told to "lower their tone of voice" and say "Ha, ha, ha" instead of "Ho, ho, ho."

Similarly getting herself stuck in the middle of another effort to scrub a holiday into political correctness, Jessica, a 16-year-old sophomore at a private high school in Seattle, said on the Dori Monson Show on KIRO radio that she volunteered a week before spring break to do a week-long community service project in a third grade class at a local public school.

"At the end of the week I had an idea to fill little plastic eggs with treats and jelly beans and other candy, but I was kind of unsure how the teacher would feel about that," said Jessica, explaining that she was concerned how the teacher might react to the egg idea after learning at a school meeting earlier in the week about the institution's "behavior rules."
Following up on Jessica's idea, the teacher of the class checked with the administration to see if the egg initiative was permissible. "She said I could do it as long as I called this treat 'Spring spheres,'" said Jessica. "I couldn't call them Easter eggs."

Choosing not to dispute the administration's decision, Jessica completed the project. "When I took the eggs out of the bag," she explained, "the teacher said, 'Oh look, Spring spheres' and all the kids were like 'Wow, Easter eggs.' "

Following a similar agenda of sanitization to clean the environment of any alleged improprieties, the BBC recently acted to discourage the use of the terms BC and AD so as not to cause listening injuries and estrangement among those across the world who aren't Christians.

The BBC's website explained why the corporation recommended the "religiously neutral" terms Common Era and Before Common Era, replacing AD (Anno Domini, the year of Our Lord, used to specify numbered years counting from the birth of Christ in year 1) and BC (Before Christ): "As the BBC is committed to impartiality it is appropriate that we use terms that do not offend or alienate non-Christians."

Still, this revision to Common Era and Before Common Era, the new-fangled CE and BCE, might not fully protect the overly-delicate or excessively-irritable from injury once they realize that the new terms still denote time in relation to the life of Christ.

In any case, to reduce the level of public resistance to this type of aforementioned foolishness from the central planners, it helps to knock down the egos, individuality and self-confidence of little boys and girls at the earliest ages, instilling in them the idea that they're ignorant of how offensive they are to other people, how guilty they are of not understanding and obeying the well-planned and civilizing dictates of those who've been empowered to create a more serene and well-ordered society.

Last August, for instance, ABC News reported on the case of a young schoolgirl named Laura who was sent home from school with a reprimanding letter to her parents stating that her Wonder Woman lunch box violated the school's anti-violence policies.

There was no violence displayed on the lunch box — just a cartoon-style caricature of a smiling and pretty Wonder Woman.

"We noticed that Laura has a Wonder Woman lunch box that features a super-hero image," the letter began. "In keeping with the dress code of the school, we must ask that she not bring this to school."

Continued the letter: "The dress code we have established requests that the children not bring violent images into the building in any fashion — on their clothing (including shoes and socks), backpacks and lunch boxes. We have defined 'violent characters' as those who solve problems using violence. Super-heroes, certainly fall into that category."

The school's directive to Laura's parents: "Please refer to the School Handbook. Your cooperation with our dress code will be appreciated."
Using the definition of "violent characters" as those who've solved problems through violence, also forbidden on any kid's backpack, socks or lunch box is any image or characterization of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, George Marshall, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Wyatt Earp, Carrie Nation, Popeye and Woody Woodpecker.

Comparable to the dust-up made over Laura's lunch box was the fuss made over the military-style haircut of 7-year-old Adam Stinnett, a hair style meant to honor his active-duty soldier-stepbrother.

Feeling the boot of the school authorities, Adam was expelled from his elementary school in Tennessee. The school's principal said the haircut was against the institution's policy banning "Mohawk haircuts or other extreme cuts."

The incident derailed Adam, who wants to follow his step-brother's path into military service, his mother said. "They crushed my son's dreams," she explained. "They made him feel upset. They broke his heart."

Seven-year-old Adam Stinnett had attended the Bobby Ray Memorial Elementary, named after Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class David Robert "Bobby" Ray.
Corpsman Ray earned the Medal of Honor posthumously for his actions with a Marine Corps unit during a battle in Vietnam in 1969. Suffering severe wounds while treating members of his unit, Ray continued administering aid, according to his award citation, at one point killing an enemy attacker and wounding another when they approached as he was bandaging a wounded Marine. Ray's final act came when he threw himself onto the body of a patient to save him from a grenade blast.

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Ralph R. Reiland is an associate professor of economics and the B. Kenneth Simon professor of free enterprise at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh.
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Ralph R. Reiland
Phone: 412-527-2199
E-mail: rrreiland@aol.com
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