Friday, October 29, 2004

More Halloween PC-Watching 

It's a sad day when other people's misinterpretation of anything causes pain. It's sad, too, when the potential for dumb people to misinterpret something makes that perfectly good something suddenly taboo. But it's even sadder when intolerance masquerades under the guise of tolerance, especially when that intolerance keeps the misinterpreted object, image, or idea from being acceptable.

It is selfish -- or, to turn a culturally relevant phrase, niggardly -- to think that your own discomfort should cause others to change their behavior when it is solely your MISinterpretation of that behavior which makes it seem inappropriate by community standards.

And it is exactly this which is at the heart of my dislike for the PC institution, which causes public "apologies" for perfectly innocent behavior, as seen in today's student-side email example, posted here with permission from NMH student Sturdy.

It has been brought to my attention (by none other than the ilustrious Joan Pack) that some people did not get the joke behind my makeup today, and misinterpreted it as a racist comment. For this I am very, very sorry. I meant no offense to anyone. The look I was going for was Chia Head, like this

The brown facepaint was for clay, and that was not an afro wig, that was my hair, augmented only by spray-on color. I have washed off both vigorously, and now look no scarier than I do normally. Again, I apologize profoundly for any upset I may have caused.


My heart goes out to Sturdy, a good kid who I wish could have been given better (and different) support in his choice of costume. To those in our community that gave him a hard time, though, I have two things to say:

  1. Just because you make dumb assumptions doesn't mean you should act on them. It certainly doesn't mean you should create discomfort in others. It absolutely does not give you the right to force a kid to go home and take off a perfectly innocent and creative costume I wish I had thought of.

  2. Lighten up, people.

posted by boyhowdy | 3:14 PM |

This is sad. It just seems like, slowly and surely, kids are losing Halloween to the PC police folks. I heard somewhere a few weeks ago that some Seattle school banned Halloween festivities because the principal believed that any Halloween celebration would be " . . .offensive to witches." (there is a Wiccan population out there).

But this case sounds really brutal. I feel sorry for the kid too. Just soooooooo terrible that this kid's Halloween has been spoiled.

BTW, as I posted on my blog (and I'm noting here), when I was a kid in 1984 I dressed up as Michael Jackson. I used some black make-up (actually, a burnt cork) for my face. NO ONE was offended by that . . .
Since I picked up this story the first day the original story came out (and long before it hit AP or Yahoonews-like sources), I'm reasonably confident you heard about the "would be offensive to witches" here first, Shaw -- at the tail end of this recent PC-watch entry. Hence the title of this entry -- MORE Halloween PC-watching.
For Point 2, I think you accidentally wrote "lighten" when you meant "grow"
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