Via Joanne Jacobs:
According to educational-issues researcher Diane Ravitch, the USA branch of the educational-publishing conglomerate Harcourt/Steck-Vaughn now has a "publishing guideline" forbidding their illustrators to draw/photograph anybody writing left-handed. (Harcourt/Steck-Vaughn publishes a wide range of books for school use: including, ironically, handwriting books.)
Muslims traditionally regard the left hand (and left-handers too) as seriously unclean and disgusting; they forbid using the left hand except for, uh, personal-hygiene purposes ... and they DEFINITELY forbid it for such important daily tasks as writing, eating, etc.
This opens up a whole can of politically-correct worms. Will they now ban illustrations of pork and bacon so as not to offend Jewish students? If not, will Catholic students be excused from reading that textbook on Fridays during lent?
Actually, the real question here is this: If a mere illustration offends a Muslim student, what will seeing an actual, live left-handed person do to their cultural sensibilities?
Will left-handed students who are in a classroom with Muslim students be forced to use their right hand instead so as not to freak out the Muslim?
Of course, schools could always go with illustration-free textbooks, so as not to cross anyone with art that could be deemed offensive. Perhaps the child of the KKK leader in town would be horrified to see a person of color staring at him from his English Lit textbook. Maybe a hardcore PETA member will cry upon seeing the steak dinner illustration in their Home Economics text.
Even if you leave out illustrations, you run the risk of offending someone anyhow.
To begin with, anything even remotely sexist is verboten. Banished from respectable texts are such troublemakers as "babe," "chick" and "co-ed," but so too are solid citizens like "actress," "brotherhood" and "cattleman." Women are not to be portrayed as frightened, indecisive or vain; men as too assertive, analytical or violent. As for race and ethnicity, perish the stereotypical thought that Asians are studious and hardworking, that blacks excel in sports and music, or that Jews ever lived in tenements. Subjects to avoid range from divorce and junk food to Easter, Malcolm X and old people with canes and walkers. Nor should innocent minds be exposed to such retrograde expressions as barbarian, egghead, geezer, gimp, heathen, mulatto, Oriental, sissy, spastic, squaw, swarthy, Third World or tribe.
That is in reference to Diane Ravitch's book, The Language Police.
Ravitch's book is an exposť of the politcal correctness that is running rampant through this nation's school districts, how censors with their senses set on fine-tune scour textbooks to make sure offending phrases are eliminated. Some of those offenses?
- Women cannot be depicted as caregivers or doing household chores.
- Men cannot be lawyers or doctors or plumbers. They must be nurturing helpmates.
- Old people cannot be feeble or dependent; they must jog or repair the roof.
- A story that is set in the mountains discriminates against students from flatlands.
- Children cannot be shown as disobedient or in conflict with adults.
- Cake cannot appear in a story because it is not nutritious.
What watered down version of reality do these censors want our children to live in? If the world around them is not homogenized, why should their textbooks be? And wouldn't it suffice to say that if someone is taken aback that an elderly person in a book is shown to be feeble, that someone with a feeble grandparent would feel bad when she sees that most old people are out jogging and working?
No wonder so many of our kids can't read or write on a high school level when they graduate, no wonder so many of them come out of the school system so unprepared for the real world. They're given stripped down versions of life, minus words and concepts that are important if one wants to actually live in reality.
Wait until these Muslim kids get out of school and try to make their way in the world only to find that no one outside of their high school language patrol cares if they are offended by left-handed people; if your boss is left-handed, he's not going to learn to be ambidextrous just for you. No one cares if you are a vegetarian; your co-workers will still stuff their face full of burgers right in front of you. People will call women wenches and bitches, they will use the word retarded to describe the idiot in the cubicle next to you, they will not care if you've never seen a moutain or are allergic to peanuts or belong to some subculture religion where it is against the laws of your church to sit next to someone who wears red on Tuesdays.
Real life is not politically correct. Why set these kids up for a world that doesn't exist? How many passages can you take out of textbooks before you are left with just a set of numbers on the bottom of the pages?
Educators should be concentrating on teaching our kids skills that will enable them to do what is important in America after school is over; make money so you can feed your family, pay your bills and not rely on the government to get you through life.
Nurturing self-esteem and coddling to religious and special interests groups will only keep this country from competing with others in the future. And, it will only turn our kids into wimps.
eat see cake.