Dan Rattiner's Stories

Holiday Manipulation: Southampton Drops Columbus for Indigenous People and Italian Heritage

Our local school district stays at the forefront of political correctness.

The Southampton School District has made it a priority to stay at the forefront of the political correctness movement. About five years ago, they ordered the high school to no longer choose the valedictorian to make the commencement speech at graduation. Every student is a star at Southampton, and to single one out based just on grades was unfair to others.

And so, instead, they decided a committee of students, teachers and administrators would choose which student, or students, would speak at graduation, with the criteria to include not only grades, but also after school activities, school achievements and other less defined attributes—maybe it would be someone popular, smart and polite who comported themselves well. Anyway, it would be by committee. It still is.

A year or two later, the Southampton School District took a hard look at Columbus Day. As a result, they changed the name of the holiday to Indigenous Peoples Day, declaring it should be a day to remember all the people oppressed by what Columbus did and less about what this explorer accomplished. And now, last week, there has been a further revision.

After due consideration, it’s been ruled that the new name for the holiday is to be Indigenous Peoples/Italian Heritage Day. It’s a mouthful, but get used to it. It seemed unreasonable to some to simply deplore what Columbus did after his long dangerous voyage across the Atlantic without stating that Columbus’s activities are no indication that all people of Italian descent should be held accountable.

I mention this because on Thursday, the House of Representatives passed a resolution that was intended to condemn anti-Semitic speech and behavior but wound up, after a lot of piling on, becoming a resolution condemning not only anti-Semitism but also persecution and bigotry against Muslims, Latinos, Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders, Hindus, the LGBTQ community and other marginalized groups.

It passed, 407–23. Our congressman, Lee Zeldin, was one of the “No” votes. Whatever. Now it’s on to the Senate.

Anyway, it’s good to see Southampton at the forefront of these things. Even though their sport teams still wear shirts that say they are the “Mariners.”

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