We live in a day in which being “politically correct” has become the mantra behind everything we do and celebrate. We all celebrate holidays, some more universally in North America than others. I am constantly reminded how diverse Toronto is, through the people I converse with and this is a good thing as I am always learning about new cultures. I enjoy asking people about their county, religion and holidays. It offers a unique look into their lives and a glimpse into their home country. Having visited a few other countries around the world, I have learned first hand that the world is a unique and interesting place.
Recently at work we were talking about the Chinese New Year, as one of my colleagues is Chinese we wanted to know how he and his family were celebrating. This led to another colleague mentioning that her kids school had a special celebration for the occasion but instead called it, “heritage day.” This seemed strange to me as it was Chinese New Year but the kids were encouraged to dress up accordingly to their own heritage. I thought the idea of a heritage day would be fun but why on this date? The answer was simple: the school determined that “heritage day” was a good option as to not offend the kids who were not Chinese. Apparently Chinese New Year is offensive to some parents. Really? Considering the area surrounding the school has a strong Asian population this was surprising. So instead of celebrating the actual holiday the school created a holiday in which every kid can dress up. Not that non-Chinese kids were not allowed to dress up for the holiday.
This is an example of how culture looses to offense. I previously went on a little rant in my article, “Sensitive and Offended- Rant” about how sensitive and ridiculous people are today. It really makes no sense when it’s all said and done. Take for example this story mentioned above. If you cannot celebrate Chinese New Year how can you celebrate Christmas or Easter for that matter? It’s a fact that Toronto is extremely diverse when it comes to the cultures represented and the religions each person associates with. In most schools you will have kids who are Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Christian or any other. Not every family will celebrate the same holidays or religious celebrations. Does this mean we eliminate them all as to not offend?
This is a real cultural loss. Why are we so offended by our fellow citizens celebrations or beliefs? How does our difference equal offense? The reality of life and especially one lived in a big city is that everyone comes from a different walk of life. I might not agree with their choice of religion, and I have the freedom to believe my faith. What is lost is the opportunity to actually give fair chance and education. By deleting cultural celebrations there is a message being sent to those kids, “Chinese New Year is offensive, and we cannot celebrate it together… Our differences should be kept hidden and not shared.”
I believe these kids have the right to learn about other cultures and religions. As a Christian and strong believer of my faith I have no issue with my child being exposed to other religions and cultures. It’s absolutely unavoidable in this city. My son will go to school with all sorts of different kids. Why should I be so insecure in my beliefs that he can not be exposed to others?
Take for example Proverbs 22:6 – Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. (NIV) This is a simple passage that reminds us it’s our job as parents and leaders to guide the next generation in truth and this truth will stick with them. The loss goes to the educators here, it should not be their job to listen to these parents who apparently are offended by a little culture. Belief needs to stem from parents first.
Why not allow the celebration of every major holiday? Why not let these kids experience and learn about their fellow students? Much less harm would be had to let them be educated and celebrate differences in the world.
I would suggest most Christians fail miserably when it comes to accepting others. Most are more concerned with conforming and white washing. Instead of culture you get soft, gentle talking, Jesus loving and pure boring Christians. Showing people “the way, truth and the light” does not mean every person will be the same. Now I am not suggesting we blend religions and create a super friendly all encompassing faith. I am suggesting that we need to stop being so sensitive and look at people for who they are. How successful can we be at expanding God’s kingdom if we can not first accept the people we are living with.
Now this is a bit of a topic jumble but this simple example reminded me how offense is such a lame excuse. Really it’s an excuse and a pathetic one at that. Let’s be willing to allow others around us to be who they are, rather than watering down their culture as to not offend the obviously insecure and irrational.Advertisement