Thursday, December 27, 2007

Must we be so politically correct?

I realized I had not been as politically correct as I should have been when I wished everyone in my classroom a Merry Christmas. "It's Hanukkah too Miss" came the disgruntled reply somewhere from the back.

It was my first Christmas or holiday season in the US, and as a teacher of a 7th grade classroom. Having lived in a Christian country (UK) for a significant time where everyone said "Merry Xmas" made it difficult for me to make the transition to "Happy Holidays". But I had to, because that is what is said in PC America.

The thing is, I am not even a Christian. In fact, I am a Hindu, and practice moderately. I spent my formative years in India, and we always put up a tree in our living room every December. We sent cards to all our friends in India and abroad. We wished school friends a Happy Christmas. We had cake from our favorite shop in Kolkata on Christmas eve.

It never occurred to me that we didn't or shouldn't have to say those two words because we weren't Christian. Nor that we should be offended if anyone wished us it. Our family celebrated it with as much fervor as we did our own festivals. And I certainly feel the richer for it.

I am not saying that my experience is a common one. I am simply wondering whether there is actually something wrong with enjoying the social delight of an occasion? I also find it sad and preposterous that non-Christians would be offended simply because it is not part of their religion. I am lucky that I was not brought up to think that way, and believe that the world would be a much better place if we didn't have to watch our words all the time. We have enough problems as it is.

On that note, I hope that you are enjoying the holidays.....

1 comment:

Eve said...

Being politically correct is a widespread issue for everyone. I think that its just another word for the fight for 'equality' against the 'old ways'. Everyone should have the right to 'express' themselves but where do we drwa the line on how much is too much? Being politically correct can sometime be more sexist, religious and closed minded in a silent way and besides, how do we know what is 'correct'? Somethings are not always clear cut and people view things in different ways.

As for your student, I think he/she might just wanted you to acknowlege part of his/her religion too just for fun.