…’Free’ is arguable, but clearly not the Land Of The Well-Educated!
The New York City Department of Education recently compiled a list of terms that they considered were unacceptable as terms (or words) to be included in public school exams because they believed they “could evoke unpleasant emotions in the students.” Examples of banned words and why they were so included are- “Dinosaurs, because they call to mind evolution, which might upset fundamentalists” or “birthdays, because they aren’t celebrated by Jehovah’s Witnesses” and even “Halloween, because it hints at Paganism”!!! I would love to see the explanations for all of the exclusions- here is the complete list.
Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological)
Alcohol (beer and liquor), tobacco, or drugs
Cancer (and other diseases)
Catastrophes/disasters (tsunamis and hurricanes)
Children dealing with serious issues
Cigarettes (and other smoking paraphernalia)
Computers in the home (acceptable in a school or public library setting)
Creatures from outer space
Dancing (ballet is acceptable)
Death and disease
Dinosaurs and prehistoric times
Expensive gifts, vacations, and prizes
Gambling involving money
Homes with swimming pools
In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge
Loss of employment
Occult topics (i.e. fortune-telling)
Religious holidays and festivals (including but not limited to Christmas, Yom Kippur, and Ramadan)
Television and video games (excessive use)
Traumatic material (including material that may be particularly upsetting such as animal shelters)
Vermin (rats and roaches)
War and bloodshed
Weapons (guns, knives, etc.)
Witchcraft, sorcery, etc.
(Note: While the much vaunted “Constitution” preserves one’s right to do pretty much anything on this list, it apparently also preserves the right of ‘government’ to say you mustn’t talk about it!!!)
There was, thankfully outrage expressed by various educationalists and (I suppose) to their credit the NY Dept of Ed issued this statement.
“After reconsidering our message to test publishers and the reaction from parents, we will revise our guidance and eliminate the list of words to avoid on tests. We will continue to advise companies to be sensitive to student backgrounds and avoid unnecessary distractions that could invalidate test scores and give an inaccurate assessment of how students are doing.” Despite this turn-around it is obvious that such thinking exists in the United States and there are similar examples of similar quasi-bigotry in the management of schools’ curricula and resourcing.
What a load of garbage!!! This is the world we have created for our children and these administrators want to pretend it doesn’t exist??? For goodness’ sake! If we continue to try to insulate our children from the worst there is, that is one thing but to be pathetically and misguidedly PC about things and avoid them because we think it might upset someone is outrageous.
I have long considered the United States of America to be one of the bastions of government and business sponsored propaganda and this does little to alter that view. God Help America!