Happy Vapid, Subversive Thanksgiving!

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Nov 22, 2006 9:40 AM

Reader Night Rider sent me this today:

Teacher Bill Morgan walks into his third-grade class wearing a black Pilgrim hat made of construction paper and begins snatching up pencils, backpacks and glue sticks from his pupils. He tells them the items now belong to him because he "discovered" them. The reaction is exactly what Morgan expects: The kids get angry and want their things back.

Morgan is among elementary school teachers who have ditched the traditional Thanksgiving lesson, in which children dress up like Indians and Pilgrims and act out a romanticized version of their first meetings.

He has replaced it with a more realistic look at the complex relationship between Indians and white settlers.

Not only is this humbuggy and lame, but it's just as two-dimensional a presentation of the relationship between settlers and Native Americans as the all-hunky-dory presentation he's trying to combat. Because he's liberal, however, and the lesson passes for some subversive attempt to "speak truth to power," he's praised for his vapidity. Stealing pencils from children is no "more realistic" a look at Thanksgiving than tracing your hand to make a turkey, hon.