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Ktgrok

dressing up like native americans for thanksgiving...feels icky to me

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Every school history lesson can't and shouldn't include an apologist whitewashing of history. Do you want your kids to be taught a version of the civil rights movement which focuses on the times white people were nice to MLK and the assassination is a quiet asterisk at the end? I don't know what version of MLK's story your kids were taught to come home with what you described as the takeaway. I grew up in a very large, 98%+ black elementary school, and as a white person, I've never come across a version of the story that made me think anything along those lines.

 

The people in my area who have a problem with kids being taught about MLK Jr. (well did you know he cheated on his wife?!?!) and Black History Month (we don't have a White History month!) and the ones going through and taking out Bad Things White People Did from history books (like Japanese internment camps, though apparently that's back as reasonable) are racist. My state still closes down for Confederate Memorial Day in "exchange" for putting MLK Jr. day on the calendar. That's insanity. If you're in that group, then yes, I'm pretty comfortable calling you a racist. Otherwise, we are talking about two very different things, and I have no idea why you quoted me.

 

Really?  I quoted you because you called me a crazed racist and said I shouldn't care about the message my kids hear about racial division in school.

 

FYI racial relations where I live are obviously very different from where you live.

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Another thought-I wonder if there's a particular curriculum used that is problematic. I know SKL's DD's go to an LCMS school, as did my DD at the time. Maybe there's some picture book or something that they were using for that lesson that really gets kids focused on skin color at that age?

 

Just to clarify, my kids were in a public charter school (not religious) when they were in KG and received that particular lesson.

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 To celebrate ANYTHING means you must defend your reasons for doing so. 

 

"Defend?"  

 

I think that it is wise to think about celebrations - to consider what you are celebrating, and how you will conduct that celebration.  How will you connect your celebration to important aspects of the holiday - family, or heritage, or religion?    What rituals and symbols will you use?  How will you blend the rituals, symbols, and values of the past with your upcoming celebration?  What about blending your spouse's expectations and experience of the celebration with your own?  Who will be included in the celebration, and what will their roles be?  Will children participate, and if so, how?  Is there an educational component for them?  What about the elders?  What about community leaders or clergy?  Will there be a meal?  Are there foods that have a special meaning or memory for any of the participants?  Will special clothing be required or expected?  Will the clothing be bought new or will traditional garments be worn?  Is the celebration as a whole in line with the participants' values, or has it gotten skewed over the years, with some re-centering needed?

 

Sometimes we have the green bean casserole because we've always had the green bean casserole, or because the ingredients were on sale and it's easy to make and Grandpop loves it.  But now and again it's worth thinking about the reasons for the celebration -- revisiting, regrouping, and revising -- so that it continues to be a relevant, meaningful, and positive experience for the participants.  Nowadays, we're experimenting with the green bean casserole.  Martha Stewart has a healthier recipe, with fresh ingredients.  Grandpop doesn't like it, but lots of the family prefer it.  We aren't at consensus yet.  We're listening to stakeholder voices.  We've made a few other changes, moving towards fresh, healthy harvest dishes, making sure there is food for the vegetarians and the vegans, and away from some of the carb-heavy, high-fat, high sugar family traditions.  As to the green bean casserole, for now, we're doing both.   Gradual changes that keep the celebration a positive experience that each participant can enjoy rather than endure.

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While I agree that in every instance the children are morally blameless due to their ignorance and the fact that they could not be expected to overcome that ignorance without adult help--with all due respect, â€‹it is not honoring American Indians to pretend that they gave everything up and that there wasn't a genocide.

 

When people used to put on blackface, they didn't think they were being unkind. They thought they were honoring black "negro" culture. They were not bad people. Most of the time they had a good intent. They thought black people didn't mind and had plenty of "yes massa"s to bolster their beliefs.

 

It was still wrong.

 

 

That's not true.

 

You can't make it happy without mocking. You can't tell a lie without mocking. You cannot whitewash it (pun not intended) without mocking. But you can represent without mocking and indeed people do it all the time.

 

You can make Schindler's List. You can even make La Vita e Bella.

 

You can't make The Day the Clown Cried.

 

http://splitsider.com/2012/05/we-laugh-so-we-dont-cry-the-humor-in-holocaust-films/

 

What is offensive to me is dress-up because it treats the genocide and ongoing discrimination against people of color as if it didn't happen. Imagine a play about WWII in which Japanese Americans are portrayed as happily tidying up their homes to run off to their new homes! But it never mentions that they're running off to internment camps. They're all happy and are saying to soldiers, "Thank you for protecting us!"

 

That would be horrible.

 

That's why Pilgrims and Indians were friends plays are horrible.

 

Not because it represents Native Americans, but because it's a lie that is perpetuated to gloss over the genocide that literally allowed the colonization of the continent, and which affects the lives of those people to this very day.

:iagree:

 

There is a culture of outrage because of things that actually happened. Actual killings of hundreds of thousands of people to clear land. Actual genocide of the Jewish people in Europe. Actual genocide of the Kurds in Turkey. Actual movement of Japanese Americans to internment camps. Actual killings of thousands and hundreds of thousands and millions of people. Actual enslavement of millions of Africans by Europeans and colonists.

 

Why wouldn't anyone be angry about that? I guess if it's like, historical data to you, yeah, you can get over it. But that includes people in my family. Including Germans who walked all the way across Germany to escape the Russian advancing forces which then occupied East Germany for decades.

 

There are signs all over the former USSR: Nechto zabyto, nikto zabyt. Nothing is forgotten, nobody is forgotten.

 

It honors the millions of Russians who died when Germany attacked. They aren't leaving their culture of outrage.

 

This is not a brown-person hating-on-whites thing.

 

This is what human beings do when they have been harmed especially on a genetic scale, on the scale of a people.

 

This is not manufactured hurt. It is real. And you are pretending it's about feelings.

 

It's not about feelings, it's about thousands of dead Indians and not being a jerk about it.

 

:iagree:  :iagree:

Serious question:  for those that are horribly offended by this, what percentage of your ancestry is native american?

 

Do you want my genetic DNA?  Because FWIW, those tests are inaccurate because of the lack of enough samples from tribal peoples. ;)  But yes, I have done my genealogy and DNA and while I have some NA descent (Powhatan Algonkian), it doesn't even matter.  It's not ok to characterize an entire living breathing surviving group of a genocide. 

 

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I don't understand what's motivating the "we shouldn't talk about these things" brigade. Is it just about the age of the kids or about not feeling like white people come out looking like "the good guys?" I can understand some parental desire to protect kids from some harsh realities/history and can certainly understand the challenge of figuring out what to tell kids about those harsh realities. No one's asking you to tell all the gory details to a 6 year old, but maybe just tell a story that builds on the truth rather than falsehoods, so that it doesn't seem like you lied and then had to take it back when they were older. In a world where plenty of 6 year olds have had to (and continue to) endure very difficult hardship and oppression, I'm not sure that never telling my children about those realities serves them well. There was a poster who said something about the little 6 year old girl who survived the shooting at Emmanuel AME Church: "If that six year old girl can survive what she did last night, my six year old can survive me telling about why that little girl matters." There's something to that. 

 

I had already been telling my kids about all sorts of injustices, including slavery and discrimination, before that MLK lesson.  But I couched it in the fact that some people are ignorant and some people are wicked and they hurt people.  (Obviously much more than that.)  I always said there are wise and ignorant people of every race, and there are good and wicked people in every race.  Many people, all the way up to the president, used to believe XYZ but that was based on ignorance.  Now we know better and that is understood to be wrong.  Some people still do ignorant and wicked things, but in society it is understood to be wrong, it's illegal, it's addressed.  We as a family will never do or accept such things.

 

But the lesson in school was all about white people vs. black people.  If it weren't for Rosa Parks and MLK, brown-skinned kids couldn't have been in my kids' school.  The implication is that white people on their own really don't want brown people around at all.  You can say that maybe my kids' teacher just did a bad job of it, but I've had many other parents agree after their kids' reactions were similar.

 

I never said we don't have to teach about our history of racism.  I do think we need to be more careful about it.  My kids aren't the only ones in a mixed family situation.  It deserves a lot more thought, and yet nobody is apparently willing to go there.  I haven't noticed divisiveness going away from our society despite generations of MLK day in the schools.

Edited by SKL
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But the lesson in school was all about white people vs. black people.  If it weren't for Rosa Parks and MLK, brown-skinned kids couldn't have been in my kids' school.  The implication is that white people on their own really don't want brown people around at all.  You can say that maybe my kids' teacher just did a bad job of it, but I've had many other parents agree after their kids' reactions were similar.

 

Your kids school is pretty terrible. Particularly if it includes zero stories about people of color before the year 1955.  That's insane.
Who are these "other parents"? Were they all from your school? I would pull my kids, honestly, under those circumstances.

 

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FTR, for us, Thanksgiving *at home* has never been about pilgrims and "Indians."  (Not when I was a kid and not now.)  So we're not discussing what "I" do or don't do, or will or won't do.  I've always spoken to my kids about tribes, not NA as if they were all one group.  And by the way, their country of origin suffered greatly and continues to suffer greatly from what the Spanish did to the indigenous people, and it's a big reason for the poverty of their birth moms, my kids are somewhat aware of that too (at an age-appropriate level).  That said, I still think it is perfectly OK for little kids to be taught in school that a group of NA people and a group of European settlers got along and cooperated at some point and hurray for that.

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That said, I still think it is perfectly OK for little kids to be taught in school that a group of NA people and a group of European settlers got along and cooperated at some point and hurray for that.

Like everyone else on this thread, I think.

The question isn't "should we nix Thanksgiving". It's just whether some pageants and costumes cross a line of appropriateness.

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Really? I quoted you because you called me a crazed racist and said I shouldn't care about the message my kids hear about racial division in school.

 

FYI racial relations where I live are obviously very different from where you live.

I called the people who wanted to end MLK Jr. Day and Black History Month crazed racists.

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Your kids school is pretty terrible. Particularly if it includes zero stories about people of color before the year 1955.  That's insane.

Who are these "other parents"? Were they all from your school? I would pull my kids, honestly, under those circumstances.

 

No, I've discussed this online in a couple of forums before, and many people from around the country have had a similar experience.  I didn't discuss it with parents in my kids' school.  BTW their class was only about 1/3 white, with the rest being AA, brown-skinned Latino, or mixed.

 

Again, my kids only attended that charter school for KG.  I'm sure the teacher just used the state-approved curriculum.  I'm sure it was well-intended but it was not well-designed.

Edited by SKL

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I called the people who wanted to end MLK Jr. Day and Black History Month crazed racists.

 

No, you said "the only people I hear complaining about MLK Day or Black History Month are crazed racists...."

 

Nobody here was talking about "ending" MLK Jr. Day etc.

Edited by SKL

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No, you said "the only people I hear complaining about MLK Day or Black History Month are crazed racists...."

Are you complaining that they shouldn't exist because there is no white counterpart?

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Are you complaining that they shouldn't exist because there is no white counterpart?

 

No, but I was "complaining about it," and I don't know why you would bring up something nobody was suggesting here.  Seems to me that you are backpedaling.

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No, I've discussed this online in a couple of forums before, and many people from around the country have had a similar experience.  I didn't discuss it with parents in my kids' school.  BTW their class was only about 1/3 white, with the rest being AA, brown-skinned Latino, or mixed.

 

Again, my kids only attended that charter school for KG.  I'm sure the teacher just used the state-approved curriculum.  I'm sure it was well-intended but it was not well-designed.

 

People online are nuts. Don't trust a word they say.

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No, but I was "complaining about it," and I don't know why you would bring up something nobody was suggesting here. Seems to me that you are backpedaling.

Seems to me you're quoting me out of context and trying to find some way to be a victim. It's. Not. About. You. I didn't quote you, and I wasn't referring to you. This whole thread is about what white people have done to pretty up American history, and how any whiff of the focus being on another group turns into either picking apart the "other" hero (example: MLK) or an episode of But What About The White Folks? Which, um, seems to be happening right here. Funny how that works.

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No, I've discussed this online in a couple of forums before, and many people from around the country have had a similar experience.  I didn't discuss it with parents in my kids' school.  BTW their class was only about 1/3 white, with the rest being AA, brown-skinned Latino, or mixed.

 

Again, my kids only attended that charter school for KG.  I'm sure the teacher just used the state-approved curriculum.  I'm sure it was well-intended but it was not well-designed.

 

Why?  As a white mom of brown kids, you can be a powerful advocate for your kids and others like them.  Did you discuss it with the teacher?  The principal?  Most states have educational standards, not specific curricular materials that must be used.  There's considerable leeway in how the standards are taught.  If a teacher is well-intended, and most are, they will listen to thoughtful voices.  If no one speaks up, nothing will change.  One person speaking up can plant seeds that can grow to meaningful improvement.  When we know better, we do better.  It can be very effective to be a (polite, thoughtful) voice for change in your community.

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Seems to me you're quoting me out of context and trying to find some way to be a victim. It's. Not. About. You. I didn't quote you, and I wasn't referring to you. This whole thread is about what white people have done to pretty up American history, and how any whiff of the focus being on another group turns into either picking apart the "other" hero (example: MLK) or an episode of But What About The White Folks? Which, um, seems to be happening right here. Funny how that works.

 

Yes you did quote me, and it was your comment directly toward me that I responded to.

 

No this thread is not about prettying up the message, or that's not what the OP was talking about.  Maybe it is about that now because a couple of really angry posters decided to make it about that.

 

You are misunderstanding my point, and I suspect it's because you have a chip on your shoulder that leads you to make assumptions about other people's intentions.

 

If you don't think it matters how mixed-race kids and kids in mixed families are being talked to in school about the heritage of all of their family, you are entitled to your opinion.  If you think teaching kids about division over cooperation is the best thing for the country, you are entitled to your opinion.  I'm entitled to mine.

 

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Why?  As a white mom of brown kids, you can be a powerful advocate for your kids and others like them.  Did you discuss it with the teacher?  The principal?  Most states have educational standards, not specific curricular materials that must be used.  There's considerable leeway in how the standards are taught.  If a teacher is well-intended, and most are, they will listen to thoughtful voices.  If no one speaks up, nothing will change.  One person speaking up can plant seeds that can grow to meaningful improvement.  When we know better, we do better.  It can be very effective to be a (polite, thoughtful) voice for change in your community.

 

Because I don't have a relationship with them at all.  And I wasn't about to build one on the basis of complaining about the teacher or whining about racial issues.  Also, I do not believe this is a one-school issue.  Again, many parents around the country have had a similar experience.  I believe this is a country-wide issue, so addressing it at the level of this little charter KG is not going to fix it.

 

I did mention it to the teacher, who acted shocked that the lesson produced those results (in both of my kids btw).  Maybe she became more careful after that.  But the rest of the teachers out there are still going to do their same well-intentioned speech.

Edited by SKL

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Yes you did quote me, and it was your comment directly toward me that I responded to.

 

No this thread is not about prettying up the message, or that's not what the OP was talking about. Maybe it is about that now because a couple of really angry posters decided to make it about that.

 

You are misunderstanding my point, and I suspect it's because you have a chip on your shoulder that leads you to make assumptions about other people's intentions.

 

If you don't think it matters how mixed-race kids and kids in mixed families are being talked to in school about the heritage of all of their family, you are entitled to your opinion. If you think teaching kids about division over cooperation is the best thing for the country, you are entitled to your opinion. I'm entitled to mine.

 

No, my post about the crazed racists who want to end MLK Day and Black History Month quoted Ravin. I did not engage with you until you accused me of calling you racist. What chip on my shoulder do I have? When did I talk about mixed race families? Or their treatment in schools? Those are YOUR posts, not mine. This is some weird parallel universe.

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No, my post about the crazed racists who want to end MLK Day and Black History Month quoted Ravin. I did not engage with you until you accused me of calling you racist. What chip on my shoulder do I have? When did I talk about mixed race families? Or their treatment in schools? Those are YOUR posts, not mine. This is some weird parallel universe.

 

OK right, you were adding to Ravin's comment quoting my comment about the MLK lesson contrast.  Since I was the only person bringing up the MLK lesson on this thread, your comment about the only people complaining about MLK day being crazed racists certainly appeared to be directed at my comments.

 

I hope you can now understand that it is possible to have an issue with the MLK lesson without being a crazed racist, but maybe not.

 

If I stated that the only people I hear complaining about Thanksgiving plays are crazed racists, I'm guessing that wouldn't go over too well.

 

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I don't want to engage too much here, but I am still completely not getting how teaching about the civil rights movement is wrong.  I really and truly do not understand.     Teaching that racism has been a problem is wrong, is what I'm gathering? That's like.... I don't know.  Like let's cancel Veteran's Day because it makes Japanese children feel bad? No wait, because white people don't end up looking bad in that one.  Don't teach about Labor Day, it makes rich business owners look bad? Don't teach about July 4, it makes British people look bad?  All these sound just as crazy as the anti-MLK Day thing, to me.

 

But then this is a thread where people say, keep the dehumanizing Indian costumes for Thanksgiving because it keeps the whole thing so fun. So, maybe it is just a weird day.

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OK right, you were adding to Ravin's comment quoting my comment about the MLK lesson contrast. Since I was the only person bringing up the MLK lesson on this thread, your comment about the only people complaining about MLK day being crazed racists certainly appeared to be directed at my comments.

 

I hope you can now understand that it is possible to have an issue with the MLK lesson without being a crazed racist, but maybe not.

 

If I stated that the only people I hear complaining about Thanksgiving plays are crazed racists, I'm guessing that wouldn't go over too well.

 

Again. We are not having the same conversation. You and I are not talking about the same things. You are talking about an issue with one particular lesson. I am talking about widespread concern with how American history is portrayed. I'm thinking of people who want to delete anything unsavory from textbooks. And of people who actually complain about Black History Month *because there is no White History Month*. I quoted Ravin because my thoughts spun out of what she said. When I have (many times) disagreed with you, I've quoted you directly and addressed you directly. You selectively quoted me and deleted the second half of my sentence. You chose to be outraged and find offense when I was not talking about you.

 

There is a problem with teaching history when we have to make sure all white people feel warm and fuzzy about how some white group in the past was portrayed. This has resulted in generations of people who have no idea what happened to the Native Americans or the background of civil rights. <------That's my point. Nothing whatsoever to do with your particular situation.

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As a native american, I really don't have a problem with kids donning coloured paper headdresses, because kids use play and dress up to explore their world, and the kids are learning about native american cultures and lifestyles. I do appreciate that people are having the discussion though, as I feel it is a good way to develop and foster cross cultural sensitivity.

Edited by trulycrabby
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I had already been telling my kids about all sorts of injustices, including slavery and discrimination, before that MLK lesson.  But I couched it in the fact that some people are ignorant and some people are wicked and they hurt people.  (Obviously much more than that.)  I always said there are wise and ignorant people of every race, and there are good and wicked people in every race.  Many people, all the way up to the president, used to believe XYZ but that was based on ignorance.  Now we know better and that is understood to be wrong.  Some people still do ignorant and wicked things, but in society it is understood to be wrong, it's illegal, it's addressed.  We as a family will never do or accept such things.

 

But the lesson in school was all about white people vs. black people.  If it weren't for Rosa Parks and MLK, brown-skinned kids couldn't have been in my kids' school.  The implication is that white people on their own really don't want brown people around at all.  You can say that maybe my kids' teacher just did a bad job of it, but I've had many other parents agree after their kids' reactions were similar.

 

I never said we don't have to teach about our history of racism.  I do think we need to be more careful about it.  My kids aren't the only ones in a mixed family situation.  It deserves a lot more thought, and yet nobody is apparently willing to go there.  I haven't noticed divisiveness going away from our society despite generations of MLK day in the schools.

 

I don't really disagree with much of your first paragraph, though I probably lend much more legitimacy to the evidence that suggests that in many places racism still endures. We also don't do a lot of wicked/evil language in my house -- but that's an "us" thing.  It's probably a difference in thinking between "most of the racism is contained within individual acts" vs. "there are structural and enduring issues that remain, and individuals choose a range of actions within those structures." Messages around the history of race and racism are tricky for young ones because what's in the past and what's in the present, and how much is the thing I'm learning about an immediate threat/concern to me personally can be tricky for young brains. It's actually part of the reason why I spend a lot of time on our timeline where events and developments are mapped out in time and space so my kids can visualize where a given event sits in relation to their own situation/place in history. And I do a lot of what happened before/what happened after -- and can see how valuable that visualization is and will be to their expanding knowledge base.  My good friend's daughter was seven when 9/11 happened, and though we lived in a small college town where the tallest building is only about 15 stories or so (by city planning design to keep the scale "human"), she thought that the attack on "the tall buildings" meant that the tallest building in our town was going to be attacked. It took layers of discussions to "right-size" that fear.relative to its likelihood. So sure - how to discuss things with young people, who are often more concrete than we are as adults, is an art. 

 

We seem to disagree on the value of telling kids the whole truth, and how to help them interpret that. And the whole truth would be that the prevailing sentiment WAS that white people were conditioned NOT to want black kids in their schools (and I am clear with my kids that it was conditioning, not something innate to, in this case, white people  - which means they can "unlearn") . Sure, there were many allies, but that WAS the prevailing sentiment. It was pervasive, and we are still working through that legacy.  I mean, schools have resegregated to pre-civil rights levels and all, and while it's not an active dislike for black and brown kids that's at play, racism is still very much in the mix, much of it structural. It's the whole: "The perpetrator has been caught, but the killer is still at large" kind of assessment. I have too much at stake with my children to pretend that "all that civil rights stuff is in the past." Their lives may depend on knowing that not everything is "in the past."

 

Acknowledging that, and telling real stories does not take away from the wonderful history of resistance, cooperation, and allyship that is also very present. My kids are also in a mixed  race family situation. I don't think that hearing the whole truth needs to have any bearing on their feelings about themselves or their families. Perhaps schools are doing a p*** poor job of it (in fact, I'm sure of it in many cases) -- it's one of the reasons we homeschool actually -- still too much white saviorism, worship at the altar of American exceptionalism, and unilateral perspectives in a lot of cultural tales we tell as part of US history. 

 

If you don't think it matters how mixed-race kids and kids in mixed families are being talked to in school about the heritage of all of their family, you are entitled to your opinion.  If you think teaching kids about division over cooperation is the best thing for the country, you are entitled to your opinion.  I'm entitled to mine.

 

Hmm, see the "division" is not in the teaching of the full history. The division is in the enduring ways in which people have been treated, and in some cases, continue to be treated. If my kids want to puzzle over what seems to divide us, they don't need to look too far into history. There are plenty of contemporary issues that make those "divisions" very real things to deal with, and not to sweep under the rug. You seem to suggest that the speaking of these things "divides." No, if the mere speaking of them "divides" maybe we all were not as together as folks would like to believe. I think we can trust more folks "not to break" than maybe you do -- so, anyway, back to the original thread: letting the paper bag costumes and poorly constructed Thanksgiving pageants die isn't going to "break anyone." 

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I will say this, this is the first time in my life I've seen MLK seen as the agent of "division, not cooperation"!

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I will say this, this is the first time in my life I've seen MLK seen as the agent of "division, not cooperation"!

 

I grew up in Houston in the 1960's. I was taught by my parents that MLK was a bad guy, almost as bad as Malcolm X. Supposedly, black people rioted and caused problems wherever MLK spoke. I'm pretty sure this sentiment was common with most of the people my parents socialized with, and it was a pretty big crowd of seemingly highly-educated people.

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I grew up in Houston in the 1960's. I was taught by my parents that MLK was a bad guy, almost as bad as Malcolm X. Supposedly, black people rioted and caused problems wherever MLK spoke. I'm pretty sure this sentiment was common with most of the people my parents socialized with, and it was a pretty big crowd of seemingly highly-educated people.

 

Oh, I know not everyone is a fan of MLK.  But I did have the MLK/Malcolm X contrast in mind..... Malcolm X has always been regarded as the agent of division - hard, angry.   MLK was the scholar and preacher who sought to unite, not divide. He spoke of love and peace and hope. So to hear him called the agent of division made me chuckle.

 

I do remember seeing some hate mail MLK recieved, which basically boiled down to "you caused all these riots and stirred up so much hate".  I guess that is in line with the criticism here. Talking about this stuff stirs up hate.  Let's be mad about the talking (not the hate) is the fallacy.

 

Same with this thread... there are always people who get offended, every holiday has to be justified now.  Let's be mad about the talking, not the hate.

Edited by poppy
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A little aside... I read a great book a couple of years ago called The Savage City. It was about New York City in the 1960's and 70's. The author is TJ English. Really goes into the race relations and made me think.

 

Oh, I know not everyone is a fan of MLK. But I did have the MLK/Malcolm X contrast in mind..... Malcolm X has always been regarded as the agent of division - hard, angry. MLK was the scholar and preacher who sought to unite, not divide. He spoke of love and peace and hope. So to hear him called the agent of division made me chuckle.

 

I do remember seeing some hate mail MLK recieved, which basically boiled down to "you caused all these riots and stirred up so much hate". I guess that is in line with the criticism here. Talking about this stuff stirs up hate. Let's be mad about the talking (not the hate) is the fallacy.

 

Same with this thread... there are always people who get offended, every holiday has to be justified now. Let's be mad about the talking, not the hate.

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I grew up in Houston in the 1960's. I was taught by my parents that MLK was a bad guy, almost as bad as Malcolm X. Supposedly, black people rioted and caused problems wherever MLK spoke. I'm pretty sure this sentiment was common with most of the people my parents socialized with, and it was a pretty big crowd of seemingly highly-educated people.

 

Yes, there were very ugly riots associated with the civil rights movement at the time MLK was active.  With the riots came a lot of fear and the irrational reactions that fear often produces.  Many viewed MLK as an inciter to riot and were outraged that he was chosen as the poster boy for interracial peacemaking.  But his actual words were great, and that is probably why he is the main guy revered in the school lessons for young kids.  I don't have a problem with that, but it is interesting that nobody seems to have an issue with leaving out the minor little details about the riots and similar violence that were not in any way peaceful or pro-peace.  The arguments for telling the whole story don't reach that far.  It seems inconsistent.

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I will say this, this is the first time in my life I've seen MLK seen as the agent of "division, not cooperation"!

 

Not the man.  The way the lessons are taught in schools.  MLK didn't write those lessons.

 

It would be interesting to know how MLK would have worded the lessons for young children.

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Oh, I know not everyone is a fan of MLK.  But I did have the MLK/Malcolm X contrast in mind..... Malcolm X has always been regarded as the agent of division - hard, angry.   MLK was the scholar and preacher who sought to unite, not divide. He spoke of love and peace and hope. So to hear him called the agent of division made me chuckle.

 

I do remember seeing some hate mail MLK recieved, which basically boiled down to "you caused all these riots and stirred up so much hate".  I guess that is in line with the criticism here. Talking about this stuff stirs up hate.  Let's be mad about the talking (not the hate) is the fallacy.

 

Same with this thread... there are always people who get offended, every holiday has to be justified now.  Let's be mad about the talking, not the hate.

 

Who called him the agent of division?  I didn't see that in any posts other than yours.

 

Again, nobody has ever said the information should be withheld.  Nobody ever said it shouldn't be discussed.  But it needs to be age-appropriate, or it is going to have unintended bad consequences for children of all colors.  If someone can't handle the topic at a level appropriate for 5-6yos, either let someone else handle it (I think a person with a mixed family would be ideal), or wait until the kids are old enough to understand what happened without internalizing harmful stuff.

 

But if you haven't seen your child come home from the MLK lesson feeling like less of a person than before, you may not be open to the idea that this is an actual problem.

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Yes, there were very ugly riots associated with the civil rights movement at the time MLK was active.  With the riots came a lot of fear and the irrational reactions that fear often produces.  Many viewed MLK as an inciter to riot and were outraged that he was chosen as the poster boy for interracial peacemaking.  But his actual words were great, and that is probably why he is the main guy revered in the school lessons for young kids.  I don't have a problem with that, but it is interesting that nobody seems to have an issue with leaving out the minor little details about the riots and similar violence that were not in any way peaceful or pro-peace.  The arguments for telling the whole story don't reach that far.  It seems inconsistent.

 

Sure the arguments for telling the whole story reach that far, at least in the circles I'm in... and then they reach even farther to suggest why such riots might happen in the first place - that whole Dr. King "language of the unheard..." discussion, and then to root conditions of underfunded schools, poor housing conditions, food insecurity, a criminal injustice system that unfairly penalizes some over others, etc... the WHOLE STORY goes way deep, and some of us would find it refreshing if the WHOLE story were common knowledge and not something you had to argue people up and down about even when what you are saying is rooted in fact. 

 

Then speaking of riots, we could go on and on about the collective amnesia about just how many "riots" were essentially pograms exacted against people of color (see, for example: 

http://www.salon.com/2015/05/01/white_americas_racial_amnesia_the_sobering_truth_about_our_countrys_race_riots_partner/).But then you're on the "riot" train and you didn't even realize you bought a ticket... Not to digress from the original topic or anything.

Edited by Slojo
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Yes, there were very ugly riots associated with the civil rights movement at the time MLK was active.  With the riots came a lot of fear and the irrational reactions that fear often produces.  Many viewed MLK as an inciter to riot and were outraged that he was chosen as the poster boy for interracial peacemaking.  But his actual words were great, and that is probably why he is the main guy revered in the school lessons for young kids.  I don't have a problem with that, but it is interesting that nobody seems to have an issue with leaving out the minor little details about the riots and similar violence that were not in any way peaceful or pro-peace.  The arguments for telling the whole story don't reach that far.  It seems inconsistent.

 

Those blaming MLK for inciting riots were the same ones who complained about the "outside agitators" who dared helped African Americans to vote.  MLK consistently, and strongly, spoke in favor of nonviolence even when acknowledging that he understood why some were rioting.

1966 interview on 60 Minutes: (spoiler for length)

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mlk-a-riot-is-the-language-of-the-unheard/

 

 

REV. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. (speech): Now what I'm saying is this: I would like for all of us to believe in non-violence, but I'm here to say tonight that if every Negro in the United States turns against non-violence, I'm going to stand up as a lone voice and say, "This is the wrong way!"

 

KING (interview): I will never change in my basic idea that non-violence is the most potent weapon available to the Negro in his struggle for freedom and justice. I think for the Negro to turn to violence would be both impractical and immoral.

 

MIKE WALLACE: There's an increasingly vocal minority who disagree totally with your tactics, Dr. King.

 

KING: There's no doubt about that. I will agree that there is a group in the Negro community advocating violence now. I happen to feel that this group represents a numerical minority. Surveys have revealed this. The vast majority of Negroes still feel that the best way to deal with the dilemma that we face in this country is through non-violent resistance, and I don't think this vocal group will be able to make a real dent in the Negro community in terms of swaying 22 million Negroes to this particular point of view. And I contend that the cry of "black power" is, at bottom, a reaction to the reluctance of white power to make the kind of changes necessary to make justice a reality for the Negro. I think that we've got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard. And, what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the economic plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years.

 

WALLACE: How many summers like this do you imagine that we can expect?

 

KING: Well, I would say this: we don't have long. The mood of the Negro community now is one of urgency, one of saying that we aren't going to wait. That we've got to have our freedom. We've waited too long. So that I would say that every summer we're going to have this kind of vigorous protest. My hope is that it will be non-violent. I would hope that we can avoid riots because riots are self-defeating and socially destructive. I would hope that we can avoid riots, but that we would be as militant and as determined next summer and through the winter as we have been this summer. And I think the answer about how long it will take will depend on the federal government, on the city halls of our various cities, and on White America to a large extent. This is where we are at this point, and I think White America will determine how long it will be and which way we go in the future.

 

 

I have no idea what part of the story you believe is being left out, but I have to say your knowledge of the civil rights movement seems to be startingly inaccurate.  And while I don't support riots (for the same reason as MLK), I can say that you can only hold someone down for so long before they have decided they have enough, and you shouldn't be surprised if they get up swinging.

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This article by Sarah Sunshine Manning (Shoshone-Paiute, Chippewa-Cree) might be of interest to some of you.

 

Thanksgiving Myth Creates Fairytale of Land Theft, Betrayal, Genocide

http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/11/23/manning-thanksgiving-myth-creates-fairytale-land-theft-betrayal-genocide-162517

Edited by *Jessica*
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Thanksgiving only became a national holiday in 1863 courtesy of Sarah Hale.  Apparently, neither the Pilgrims nor the NAs felt their meal in 1623 was special enough to mark an inaugural event, positive or negative.

 

Sarah Hale: The Mother of Thanksgiving

 

The last few minutes of the above radio broadcast are particularly interesting.

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Thanksgiving only became a national holiday in 1863 courtesy of Sarah Hale. Apparently, neither the Pilgrims nor the NAs felt their meal in 1623 was special enough to mark an inaugural event, positive or negative.

 

Sarah Hale: The Mother of Thanksgiving

 

The last few minutes of the above radio broadcast are particularly interesting.

We read Thank You, Sarah this year and all liked it. But, yeah, I kind of doubt most people involved in the events of the 1600s would really have any idea about what would happen to the area politically in the future, enough to think that what they were doing would be celebrated out like it is today.

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As a native american, I really don't have a problem with kids donning coloured paper headdresses, because kids use play and dress up to explore their world, and the kids are learning about native american cultures and lifestyles. I do appreciate that people are having the discussion though, as I feel it is a good way to develop and foster cross cultural sensitivity.

 

 

This is worth quoting.  Apparently those who are NA or have had close family members who identifies(d) as NA do not have this offense.  It is others who take it on as their own.  A much smaller percentage of NA(but a much larger group of non NA I now understand) find little kids dressing up with grocery sack vests and headbands as unforgivable.

 

The reality of genocide is something my family(NA) shared with me at a young age.  I never heard the fairytale.  Thanksgiving was told to me as a story of "the calm before the storm", a time of mutual respect and the "indians" were extending a gracious hand to the helpless white people.  THAT is the story I knew as a child.

 

My NA grandmother referred to herself as indian.  And she was proud of her heritage. 

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This is worth quoting.  Apparently those who are NA or have had close family members who identifies(d) as NA do not have this offense.  It is others who take it on as their own.  A much smaller percentage of NA(but a much larger group of non NA I now understand) find little kids dressing up with grocery sack vests and headbands as unforgivable.

 

The reality of genocide is something my family(NA) shared with me at a young age.  I never heard the fairytale.  Thanksgiving was told to me as a story of "the calm before the storm", a time of mutual respect and the "indians" were extending a gracious hand to the helpless white people.  THAT is the story I knew as a child.

 

My NA grandmother referred to herself as indian.  And she was proud of her heritage. 

 

Sure, that's great. But it's not a matter of putting up one "non-offended" NA family against another "offended" one. I'm not NA, so I'm happy deferring to NA people, though the opinion is hardly monolithic (which makes total sense, different folks going feel all kinds of ways about any given topic). The NA folks that I do know would generally express that this kind of representation could stand to die a quiet death. I'd question what the average kid is learning from grocery sack vests and headbands. It's not unforgivable per se, but it's not particularly strong pedagogy either, for all of the reasons mentioned before.

 

As to grandmothers who are both proud and refer to themselves in terms that, for many, seem outdated or inappropriate (at least for out group individuals to use), well, my grandmother often refers to herself as "colored." She can refer to herself however she wants, the rest of us need to just leave it alone.  

Edited by Slojo
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This is worth quoting.  Apparently those who are NA or have had close family members who identifies(d) as NA do not have this offense.  It is others who take it on as their own.  A much smaller percentage of NA(but a much larger group of non NA I now understand) find little kids dressing up with grocery sack vests and headbands as unforgivable.

 

The reality of genocide is something my family(NA) shared with me at a young age.  I never heard the fairytale.  Thanksgiving was told to me as a story of "the calm before the storm", a time of mutual respect and the "indians" were extending a gracious hand to the helpless white people.  THAT is the story I knew as a child.

 

My NA grandmother referred to herself as indian.  And she was proud of her heritage. 

 

In Plymouth, Massachusetts, the Wamponoag people treat Thanksgiving Day as  a national day of mourning, and have done so since 1970. 

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In Plymouth, Massachusetts, the Wamponoag people treat Thanksgiving Day as a national day of mourning, and have done so since 1970.

I just read a cursory bit about this, and it does not seem exactly as you've characterized it here. It is an organized protest by an activist group.

 

ETA: I wouldn't assume the views characterized in this protest are representative of any one tribe, or that it encompasses the views of all NAs.

Edited by JodiSue
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I just read a cursory bit about this, and it does not seem exactly as you've characterized it here. It is an organized protest by an activist group.

 

ETA: I wouldn't assume the views characterized in this protest are representative of any one tribe, or that it encompasses the views of all NAs.

 

Sure. There are lots of opinions in the NA community, as with everything.  Just trying to refute the claim that it's only non-NA people who find any of the issues discussed here offensive or at least in questionable taste. 

 

I'll also add the the National Day of Mourning  began not as a general protest, but specifically in response to Plymouth's planned 350th anniversary of the dinner.  The state invited a Wamponang leader to make a speech, but, withdrew the invitation when they saw the contents of the speech... it's not incendiary, but it's definitely not celebratory either; it reflected mixed emotions (read a portion here  -- understanding it was written in 1970, when John Wayne was still a Western star-- very different time).  So, yes, it's an activist group who runs the protest, but that group was founded on anger at being silenced.  Because of course the 350th anniversary celebration still went on, just without a Wamponang representative.  To me that makes it relevant to our discussion of "is it OK for kids to wear paper headdresses".

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Sure. There are lots of opinions in the NA community, as with everything. Just trying to refute the claim that it's only non-NA people who find any of the issues discussed here offensive or at least in questionable taste.

Ah, I thought you were answering a pp about her NA relative's opinion on some of the issues. I got my wires crossed some where. But I was confused about how a political protest by a group of different people got translated as a specific tribe having a national day of mourning. I think I have not read enough about it.

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Nah my language was imprecise- it's me not you. I think I'm still a bit foggy from all that food.....

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I used to be a little bothered by it but I feel better about letting my kids particpate now. At the school they go to they dress up as an early American. They read about the person they are representing and give a speech about them. Throughout the month they learn about the First Thanksgiving story. The kids get really into and they learn from each other. Some chose to be Native Americans and some chose to be early presidents, colonists or other historical figures. We read and watch things at home too and they are aware of what came later. Most have nice costumes but some kids have cheap homemade ones.

Edited by MistyMountain

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Haven't read many responses, but I did notice that for some it has turned into an unnecessary argument. Doesn't bother me a bit, and I doubt kids or parents alike are trying to be disrespectful when attempting to come up with some sort of Native American custome. Yes, it might not be the most fancy one, but I honestly doubt the intent is to not be respectful.

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Intent isn't how we judge what we teach kids. There are a lot of well meaning fools and bigot in the world. Of all colors and religions and backgrounds. Let's aim a little higher.

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I noticed that both my local public schools and a local private school had pictures of K students dressed as Pilgrims and NA on their school and facebook pages.  I found this interesting because I live in a very liberal and diverse University community. I have only seen positive comments about the pictures, but maybe others are just choosing to let it go.

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They don't need to turn an ethnic group into a costume to celebrate Thanksgiving. I've never once dressed dd as a NA, and yet we manage to have a wonderful Thanksgiving every year.

 

Let me ask you this, then. If a white kid wanted to go as, let's say, a black man from Detroit for Halloween, would you find it icky? No blackface, just the stereotypical clothing and mannerisms that you might assume a black man from Detroit would wear and have.  I don't know about you, but that would seriously ick me out. 

 

For those of you who would find that to be not okay, that's the same way I feel about a kid dressing up in some kind of Native American costume for a holiday.

  

And let me bring up another point for those of you who think it's okay because you did this in school, or have kids who have done so. Did you ever stop to think about how awkward and uncomfortable it probably makes any NA kids in the class? Not kids who have some distant ancestor who was a NA, but kids who are fully NA and were raised in a specific tribal culture. Would it be okay with you if your kid came home and said, "Hey mom, we dressed up like white people in school today! I wore yoga pants and carried around a pink camo bible and a pumpkin spice latte."

 

Personally, I think time and history makes a difference. Dressing up as Amenhotep or as a random Egyptian of that time period - not offensive. Dressing up as a modern day Egyptian- offensive. Dressing up as Boudicca, or as a Pict- not offensive, IMO, even if I do not share ancestry. Even if I have Italian ancestry.

 

Are people so easily offended that you may only play a role if you have the right bloodlines? Dressing up like white people in yoga pants is weird. But dressing up like white American people in the 1800s, not weird. Even if the costume is all wrong, it can still be fun.

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Personally, I think time and history makes a difference. Dressing up as Amenhotep or as a random Egyptian of that time period - not offensive. Dressing up as a modern day Egyptian- offensive. Dressing up as Boudicca, or as a Pict- not offensive, IMO, even if I do not share ancestry. Even if I have Italian ancestry.

 

Are people so easily offended that you may only play a role if you have the right bloodlines? Dressing up like white people in yoga pants is weird. But dressing up like white American people in the 1800s, not weird. Even if the costume is all wrong, it can still be fun.

 

Are you trying to say there are no longer any NAs today who still wear the kind of clothing children recreate on Thanksgiving? 

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Cultural appropriation isn't cool on any day of the year. Whatever the detailed arguments are, if it feels icky, then it's probably better to choose an alternative option.

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