Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Xmas . . . sorry , I mean Happy Holidays . . I mean . . . SIGH . . . nevermind

For the past couple week when people have been exchanging holiday greetings, I’ve heard a mixture of “Merry Christmas” and “ Happy Holidays.” I work at a public school that teaches grades 3-5, so I’ve been conscientious to say “Happy Holidays” to student knowing full well that many of my student do not celebrate Christmas.

The weird thing is , that even thought I’m not Christian, my instinct is to say “Merry Christmas” and I’ve been noticing that I have to catch myself almost saying that instead of “Happy Holidays.” It makes perfect sense to say happy holidays as, it does encompass events like Chanukah, but the word “holiday” means “holy day” so if you’re not celebrating anything at all, it implies that you should be celebrating some kind of religious event in the month of September which seems just as offensive.

Some argue the Political Correctness has gone to far. I don’t necessarily think so. A lot of it is correcting terms that are just plain wrong. “Native Americans,” makes a lot more sense than “Indian” seeing how the only reason that Columbus named them Indians is because he actually thought he was in India. Then there’s oriental term for Asians which means from the east, which doesn’t make sense for half of America in which Asia is actually west of America. However I do agree there are time that political correctness can be a little silly.

Brad Paisely examines this issue and the overboard ridiculousness of political correctness in “Kung Pao Buckaroo Holiday.” In his albums, Paisley features older country stars in comedic “Kung Pao” skits, including such legendary country musicians as Bill Anderson, George Jones and Little Jimmy Dickens and in his Christmas album, this group of musicians went off on political correctness.

While I agree it’s probably good practice to say “Happy Holidays” the idea of changing the word “Christmas” to “Holiday” in Christmas songs is ridiculous. In this song Paisley and his friend try this out and find the results idiotic. Other changes have to be made, “white Christmas,” becomes “Caucasian holiday” and they worry that “Silent Night,” will offend people who are deaf and others who are afraid of the dark. Paisley and his friend gently poke fun at the “Christmas” or “Holiday” issue and help us reflect on the ridiculousness that often ensues in trying to ensure that we are sensitive and that no one is being offended.

Now I love Christmas music. I’m not Christian, and it doesn’t really offend me to hear or sing songs about the birth of Christ. I do get tired of this stuff after a while, but the bottom line is many Christmas songs like “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” have so little to do with the religious meaning of Christmas that it seems harmless for people of any belief to sing.

American was founded by Christians, is mostly populated by Christians, which will probably be the case for some time. Part of being a minority is learning to accept things that the majority are into. Should people who are Christian be sensitive to the fact that there are people who do not share their beliefs, of course so, but there’s also a line between being sensitive and just being stupid.

I’m an Asian American and I’ve only really been offended by an Asian portrayal once in my memory. It was those cats in Lady And A Tramp. So wrong.

My theory is that most people don’t get offended as much as people think. A lot of political correctness come from offended for someone else’s sake. This makes groups feel like they should be offended about something that really doesn’t make them upset. So before you get offended for a friend, check in with them to see if they really care, you may be surprised.

So I hope everyone who celebrates Christmas has a merry one, if you got some other Holiday going on, I hope that goes well too. And have a happy new year! (at least I can say that without worrying about offended anyone. . . oh Lord, I forgot, the Chinese don’t celebrate their New Year until Febuary. . . argh!).

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