Friday, April 17, 2009

I'm So Offended!

In the hopes of becoming affiliated with a major state university, an "offensive" college mascot in my hometown was recently changed to reflect a more politically correct ideal.

In the news yesterday, faculty at Brown University voted to change "Christopher Columbus Day" to "Fall Weekend", citing distress over Columbus's violent treatment and enslavement of Native Americans. Also last month, a commission made six recommendations for the university to acknowledge its ties to the slave trade, with some critics suggesting that the university's name itself should be changed (nevermind that the school's actual namesake is Nicholas Brown, Jr., who was an abolitionist).

This politically correct hand-wringing is so irritating. For heaven's sake, are we really so delicate that we can't stand the fact that some important historical figures may have been, gasp, imperfect? And how is it that we expect these people to have lived up to today's standards? In Columbus's day, slavery was by no means out of the ordinary. How can we expect someone, who was raised with slavery being entirely normal and socially acceptable, to have turned their back on the sinful business in the hopes of having their own bust gracing the hallways of some future university?

I find this sort of thing especially irritating in the case of George Washington (and others of our founding fathers). Washington was a remarkable man who managed tasks that were beyond the capacity of any other human being at the time, and yet we denigrate him because he owned slaves - again, a totally acceptable and expected social practice of the time. We are fools if we expect those who lack the same knowledge or experiences we have to live as we do. That's simply unfair and unrealistic.

We need to get over ourselves! Or at least get over our ancestors. I mean, I suppose I could go around with a chip on my shoulder because my ancestors were kicked out of Missouri by government extermination order, had their belongings taken from them, were abused, maligned, and in some cases, even murdered for their beliefs. But what good would that do, honestly? The fact is that there is not a soul alive today who is personally responsible for any of those terrible things, and I am in no way personally affected by history's wrongs to my family, except perhaps for having a greater and more profound gratitude for my life and those of my ancestors. Because last time I checked, no one was threatening to exterminate me from my apartment or confiscate my belongings and murder my loved ones, so maybe I should be counting my blessings and not letting things that happened 200 years ago (to someone else, not even to me) interfere with my current happiness.

All this disgusting political correctness is so Book of Mormon. "Your fathers wronged my fathers so you owe me and I hate you and I can't possibly live my life knowing you are still out there and blah blah blah."

What are we, five? Let's get on with our lives and quit taking offense where none was intended.


mean aunt said...

I like how they want to do away with Columbus Day but still want to have the day off. Probably to celebrate how wonderful they are.

mathmom said...

I love how you say exactly what I want to say, but since I am a wimp I don't.