Police in Claremont, CA (an upscale suburb of L.A.) were called to Eleanor Daly Condit Elementary School after rival protesters clashed in front of the school. The dispute stemmed from the decision by the school board to cancel the construction paper costume portion of the four decades-old tradition of having the kindergarten students recreate the First Thanksgiving.
Apparently, one Condit parent, Dr. Michelle Raheja, who teaches Native American Literature at UC-Riverside, complained that the costumes were "racist". She compared the recreation to:
"asking children to dress up like slaves (and kind slave masters), or Jews (and friendly Nazis)"Testifying in front of the school board in support of Dr. Raheja's position were Dr. Jennifer Tilton, professor of Race & Ethnic Studies at the University of Redlands, and instructors from Pitzer College and Riverside Community College.
Parent Constance Garabedian accused Dr. Raheja of:
"using those children as a political platform for herself and her ideas. I'm not a professor and I'm not a historian, but I can put the dots together."The school board took the political correct position and ordered the students to forgo the costumes "in order to be sensitive to the Native American culture."
I'm of Irish heritage. My ancestors had to deal with oppression by foreign conquerors and when they fled to the U.S., they faced discrimination. But that was a long time before I was born. I wouldn't get my knickers in a knot if some kindergarten kids wanted to celebrate St. Patrick's Day by making leprechaun costumes out of construction paper. True, it may be a bit cartoonish, but certainly not racist.
They don't call it "La-la Land" for nothing!