Having given the back of the hand to Christopher Columbus, the snowflakes have gone to work on another suspect holiday, this one the preserve of ghosts and goblins. Just when everyone thought it was safe to be dead, pious ire of the politically correct is turned toward the Eve of All Hallows.
Celebrating Halloween, if celebration is the right word, is culturally insensitive and it may be a cultural misappropriation. Only Count Dracula knows for sure, and he works nights and usually sleeps late. Certain Halloween costumes have been declared beyond the pale, the latest being dressing up as a brick wall.
The Party City stores drew howls of outrage on Twitter for selling such a costume. One twitterbird, perhaps a recently arrived illegal alien exhausted from barely making it across the border, tweeted, “If I see anyone wearing ‘The Wall’ costume, fair warning, you’re getting punched. Like, hard.”
Sachi Feris, who “identifies as white,” wrote on a blog of the angst she felt when her 5-year-old daughter wanted to dress for Halloween as the Polynesian Disney character Moana. Mzz Feris fretted that this, too, would be “cultural appropriation.” Another Disney character, the Scandinavian Queen Elsa from “Frozen,” gave Ms. Feris further pause, too, because of “the power/privilege carried by Whiteness, and about Whiteness and standards of beauty.” (Capital letters hers.)
To avoid such melanin melodrama, some elementary schools are doing away with Halloween dress-up days altogether. Brendan Dearborn, the principal of Boyden Elementary School in Walpole, Mass., canceled the school’s annual costume parade, explaining “the parade is not inclusive of all the students, and it’s our goal to ensure [that] all students’ individual differences are respected.” Boyden Elementary’s parade will be replaced with a “Black and Orange” spirit day.
At Hillcrest Elementary School in Waukesha, Wis., Halloween is being replaced by “Hat Day,” with students encouraged to wear a “school-appropriate hat.” That probably won’t include the Pussy Hats as worn by radical feminists on President Trump’s inauguration day, nor the president’s baseball caps inscribed with his campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
Indigenous Peoples Day, which is meant to replace Columbus Day in certain fragile precincts, originated in Berkeley, Calif., naturally, in 1992 and was timed to mark with shame the quincentennial of Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the New World in 1492. Santa Cruz, Calif., followed Berkeley’s lead in 1994, and Austin, Texas; San Francisco, Seattle and Denver followed this year.
President Trump made a point this year of wishing everyone a happy Columbus Day, to the delight of Italian-American groups, which say shows disrespect of Italian festivals of ethnic pride. Disrespect encourages disrespect. Vandals in New York City last month splashed blood-red paint on the bronze hands of a statue of Columbus and left a message in graffiti, “Hate will not be tolerated.” Carol Delaney, a former Stanford professor of anthropology, says the vandals “are blaming Columbus for the things he didn’t do.”
“It was mostly the people who came after, the settlers,” she told the website Daily Wire. “I just think he’s been terribly maligned.” She noted that Columbus adopted the son of an American Indian leader he had befriended.
If Columbus Day goes, what will replace the doggerel schoolboys have used for decades to remember the date of the discovery of the New World: “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” Not much rhymes with “indigenous,” except “litigious,” and nobody writes poetry about lawyers. The politicians, ever eager to cultivate exploitable discontent, must be careful not to show disrespect for Halloween, lest it trigger payback at the polls. Ghosts in the graveyard have been voting for years, and once they get organized, who knows what mischief they could wreak.
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