Halloween celebrations in schools are now considered racist against black kids and exclusionary of the religious.
This is absolute nonsense, but well-paid equity teams are peddling this garbage to convince educators that cancelling Halloween is a way to be an anti-racist.
But among the biggest educational problems for black kids today is not a costume school parade, but the soft bigotry of low expectations and an increasingly distracted and underperforming educational system.
Principals across a Michigan district informed parents just two weeks before Halloween, that elementary schools are cancelling Halloween and Valentine’s Day celebrations over equity and inclusion concerns. They claim that there are children who do not celebrate Halloween or whose families are uncomfortable with their children participating in festivities.
A Seattle, WA elementary school canceled its annual Halloween parade for 2021 because according to the educators, the event “marginalizes students of color who do not celebrate the holiday.”
Students can choose to wear a costume if they want, but educators claim that black students, particularly black males, do not celebrate and students of color are left out because of religious and socioeconomic constraints that made it difficult for some kids to afford a costume. School board members even admit that parents have not complained about the parade.
The decision wasn’t driven by minority parents but the Racial Equity Team which had been campaigning to kill the Pumpkin Parade for years.
In essence, these woke warriors are doing what they think is best for the minority kids and families and doing so based upon debunked stereotypes about black people.
They assume that all black kids do not celebrate Halloween because of their faith or lack of finances. Black students like black people are not homogeneous.
Every black kid is not poor and unable to afford a costume, just like every white kid is not rich and privileged. Yet, these are the stereotypes about blacks that are perpetuated by equity squads and sympathetic liberals. In their fervor to help, they end up marginalizing the very black kids who weren’t marginalized to begin with.
Also, dismantle the assumption that all black families are religious. Blacks tend to affiliate as religious more than any other race: But 18% identify as atheist, agnostic or nothing at all and that trend is rising. I’m sure those black families don’t appreciate Halloween festivities being cancelled because of their faith.
Even devout families may still choose to allow their children to participate in school festivities so their children can enjoy fun-filled activities with their friends. That should be their choice. They do not need a consultant telling them how to exercise their faith or zealous educators taking away their choices.
Unfortunately, ending these festivities in the name of protecting black kids punishes everyone for a crime committed by no one. For the families who choose not to participate, schools can implement creative alternatives that can still be fun and engaging and educational: measuring pumpkins, learning about the harvest cycle, and drinking apple cider. Of course, this requires educators to think outside the box.
Obsessing over holidays is also a convenient distraction from the failure of their education systems. Black and Hispanic students continue to underperform their white counterparts in test scores and learning.
If equity teams want to tackle a real problem, closing the achievement gap is a good start. For example, in East Lansing black students learn 2.3% less each grade than the national average and their test scores are below the national average.
Average test scores for black students in Seattle’s Public Schools are 1.55 grade levels below the national average, but at least they learn more than the U.S. average.
Cancelling fun annual traditions that students look forward to will not improve outcomes for students who have fallen behind nor will it foster good will between the students. Instead, it will engender resentment between the races like so many mandated racial diversity trainings do.
If educators want to help all kids feel included, don’t cancel the traditions that foster camaraderie and memories, but get creative about allowing other students to participate in ways that don’t undermine their families’ convictions.
Parents should be empowered to fight back against irrational school decisions too. Moms and dads in Princeton, N.J., forced an elementary school principal to reinstate their Halloween parade this year. In 2015, a Massachusetts school reversed its decision to cancel Halloween festivities over inclusion concerns when parents spoke out.
This Halloween, parents have the power to fight diversity crusaders lurking about trying to steal the joys of childhood. By speaking out, they can banish these ideas to the graveyard of wokeism where they should stay buried forever.