Happy (politically correct) holidays

Now, is it Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings?

This past week, residence dons received sensitivity training on how to handle the holiday season while causing the least amount of offense. The outcome—designed to make students feel less excluded by prohibiting dons from putting up Christmas lights or organizing group viewings of Christmas movies—will end up causing all students to miss out on the spirit of the season.

The dons shouldn’t be advised to take away from anyone’s religious or cultural celebration—instead, they should be encouraged to add to them. A more inclusive approach would have been to allow all types of decorations and a holiday movie week, where a variety of religious views could be celebrated.
The holidays should be a time of cultural exchange where people share and learn about other traditions. December festivities such as Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa should be providing outlets for celebration, not creating a culture that’s on edge about what is, and is not, politically correct.
Problems arise when people assume that all other people celebrate their religion. Simply because the majority of Canadians celebrate Christmas—either culturally or religiously—doesn’t mean there aren’t a substantial number who are made to feel left out. If nothing else, government institutions should be expected to represent all Canadians and refrain from decorating or promoting events which are not sensitive to diversity and multiculturalism.

The cultural celebration of Christmas alone has become a dominant holiday spanning almost two months, with a predominant focus on consumerism. This may be a huge part of the animosity. Most of the beloved Christmas symbols have more to do with the selling of commodities through associations created in the media, than the actual birth of Jesus Christ. Even still, if a cultural celebration becomes
pervasive enough, it can be alienating for people who see themselves as excluded from the celebration. People of different faiths should not hold back from greeting others according to their own faith, and should not be made to feel guilty or shameful of their practices. It seems that the holidays have become so sensitive that many choose to stay safe and say nothing at the risk of offending others. The result is a bland and boring expression of what should be a joyous occasion.

As long as people accept and acknowledge the different practices of others, without crass assumptions, there should be no need to limit or censor yourself for political correctness.

Wish your friend a Happy Hanukkah and if they respond with a Merry Christmas, all the better. Whatever you will be celebrating over the break, the Journal wishes you all the best.

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.