Little kids dressed up as Indians and Pilgrims drew protesters and police in Claremont, California, reports the Los Angeles Times.
For four decades, children at Condit and Mountain View elementary schools have taken annual turns dressing up and visiting each other to share a Thanksgiving feast. Controversy erupted after district officials last week decided to eliminate the Native American and pilgrim costumes from this year’s event after some parents complained that they were demeaning and stereotypical.
On Tuesday, other parents defied the costume ban, sending their children to school in the traditional Indian and Pilgrim gear.
Nearly two dozen protesters stationed themselves in front of the school, evenly split between costume supporters and opponents. The supporters set up a table with refreshments in front of the school sign, and several wore construction-paper headdresses. Foes stood about 40 feet away, carrying signs that said, “Don’t Celebrate Genocide.”
Nervous school officials called the police, who separated the two groups.
The controversy started with a mother who’s also a professor of Native American Literature; she was backed by other professorial parents.
“It’s demeaning,” Michelle Raheja, the mother of a kindergartner at Condit Elementary School, wrote to her daughter’s teacher. “I’m sure you can appreciate the inappropriateness of asking children to dress up like slaves (and kind slave masters), or Jews (and friendly Nazis), or members of any other racial minority group who has struggled in our nation’s history.”