No thanks to Racist Traditions...

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

I know that during the holiday season we tend to become intoxicated by how everything becomes so commercialized, desensitized and packaged into a neat little "holiday" that gives us time off work, time to spend with family, and time to eat lots of great food... oh yeah and did I mention eat lots of great food? hahaha!!!

It becomes difficult to spend some time really reflecting on some of the injustices that we continue to perpetuate in the name of "American Traditions" without ever giving a second thought to its origins.

One of these annoying traditions is consistently practiced in our educational institutions throughout our nation which involves dressing up young kids as Pilgrims and Indians while re-enacting a watered-down-happy-go-lucky-everyone-live-in-peace version of the so called first Thanksgiving!

In Claremont, CA. many parents protested against these Thanksgiving costumes! I think these parents should be commended for taking a stand on this issue! We can only progress as a nation if we face up to the truth--which is the fact that dressing up as a racial stereotype is not cute nor is it educational!

[Kelley Davis, left and Andrew Loeffler dress up as pilgrim and Indian in Claremont, CA. (picture by Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)]

For decades, Claremont kindergartners have celebrated Thanksgiving by dressing up as pilgrims and Native Americans and sharing a feast. But on Tuesday, when the youngsters meet for their turkey and songs, they won't be wearing their hand-made bonnets, headdresses and fringed vests.

Raheja, whose mother is a Seneca, wrote the letter upon hearing of a four-decade district tradition, where kindergartners at Condit and Mountain View elementary schools take annual turns dressing up and visiting the other school for a Thanksgiving feast. This year, the Mountain View children would have dressed as Native Americans and walked to Condit, whose students would have dressed as Pilgrims.

Raheja, an English professor at UC Riverside who specializes in Native American literature, said she met with teachers and administrators in hopes that the district could hold a public forum to discuss alternatives that celebrate thankfulness without "dehumanizing" her daughter's ancestry.

"There is nothing to be served by dressing up as a racist stereotype," she said. Read more here.

Here is another great response from a parent whose Kindergartner attends the same school district.

As a parent of kindergarteners, one who has been in “de-program” mode all week around this very subject, I celebrate Professor Raheja’s courage—even as I am ashamed of my own silence up to this point. More persons must actively resist oppressive narratives that only prove to indoctrinate another generation into the lies we live within. Reenacting this nation’s egregious history of European conquest and genocide as if it was an innocent gathering of ol’ friends amounts to intellectual child abuse. And like all forms of destructive behavior, we must name it and seek healing from it lest we normalize the absurd and reenact the abuse on another generation.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my son to be that idiot standing in front of a kindergarten in thirty years doing the tomahawk chop with construction paper taped to his brow.

Some traditions we have no reason to be thankful for!

Read more here
For those of you who still don't really know the real story behind Thanksgiving (because its been strategically left out of all US History Books) here is a quick and condensed version for you to read

Sunday, November 30, 2008