Generally speaking, I hate every new manifestation of political correctness that rears its ugly head (this was a particularly goofy recent example), but there are a few instances when the effort gets a shrug from me.
Take for instance, my daughters’ school. During the recent history fair, my younger daughter played the “part” of Sarah Winnemucca, who I had never heard of before she came home and told me about this
Indian chick Native American woman. Now, on the one hand, it is true that the girls should be learning about all the classic American heroes of the Founding and 19th Century (the period of time in which they are focused on) — Washington, Adams (John and Sam), Franklin, Hamilton, Paul Revere, Francis Scott Key, Andrew Jackson, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, the Civil War generals, etc., etc. I could go on, but you get the idea. The thing is, my daughter’s class is about 30 kids and there is another 30 kids in the other class, so without trying too hard, pretty soon her classmates were playing all the classic characters from American history and then some. So it sort of makes sense to dig a little deeper and in a nod to political correctness, find a woman, African-American or Indian (or in the case of Sarah, a two-fer) and focus the spotlight of history on some of these forgotten characters.
Besides, there were some delightfully subversive elements of Sarah’s history that came out in my daughter’s speech:
“…She was a small child when the first white people met her tribe. When she was older her grandpa put her in a white home to be educated.”
So you can imagine I had some fun putting my own gloss on Sarah’s history as I explained “what it all meant” to my daughter, and made sure to mention Jefferson’s eloquent phrase “merciless Indian savages” in my explanation 🙂
My daughter’s speech was flawless, by the way, and the history fair was a big success, so not every Chicago school is totally screwed up, despite what you may read!