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6 Mar, 2019 21:26

‘Politically correct’ fancy ball: German kindergarten bans children from wearing costumes of Indians

‘Politically correct’ fancy ball: German kindergarten bans children from wearing costumes of Indians

The triumphant march of political correctness has finally reached Europe’s youngest. A daycare center in Hamburg, Germany, has barred children from dressing up as American Indians or ‘Sheikhs’ at a party, calling it “insensitive.”

While schools in the West have been struggling to embrace the actively promoted ‘social justice’ norms for some time already, it appears that it is now kindergarten’s turn to accept them. At least the administration of one such facility in Hamburg felt it was, when they decided to introduce the kids under their care to the idea of political correctness, by preventing them from wearing certain costumes at a traditional spring carnival party.

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“In our everyday work, we pay close attention to culture-sensitive, discrimination-free and prejudice-conscious education,” the administration said in a written statement distributed to the kids’ parents ahead of the party on Monday, adding that carnivals are not excepted from this rule.

The childcare facility then asked the parents to “make sure together with your children that your choice of a costume does not promote any stereotypes.” “For example, we would not like to [see] children dressed as ‘Indians’ or ‘Sheikhs’ or something like that,” the administration explicitly stated, as cited by the German media.

'It is not about individuals'

It is unclear if the parents actually followed the administration’s request. However, the incident certainly caught the attention of German politicians – and they were not amused. “Those who issue such rules obviously do not understand the meaning of a carnival,” Sylvia Pantel, an MP from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Party, told the German daily Bild.

“In this kindergarten, it is not about cheerfulness, easiness, game and creativity. It is not about individuals, their will and imagination. No, instead a sort of standardization is enforced from outside, which I strongly reject,” the lawmaker said.

Why can’t children be children anymore?

Other politicians showed just as little tolerance for the administration’s move as well. “It is completely outlandish and absurd to ban children from dressing up as Indians at a carnival,” Grigorios Aggelidis, a family policy spokesman of the Free Democrats’ parliamentary faction told Bild. “When children dress up [for a carnival], it is all about fun and creativity. They are actually prejudice-free and relaxed at that,” another German MP, Marcus Weinberg, said.

How many ‘Indians’ live in Hamburg?

The daycare administration explained its move by saying that it sought to prevent parents and children from choosing costumes that “refer to a race or ethnic or other minority and present it in a negative light, which could offend some section of our parents.” This reasoning was quickly ridiculed both in the German media and on the social networks, where people also mostly criticized the administration’s approach.

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“The daycare administration’s spokesperson says: it is all about costumes that “can be offensive for a section of our parents.” How many ‘Indians’ exactly are living in Hamburg? Or is it only about people with Sunni and Arab roots that do not want … native Germans to dress up as Sheikhs?” one person rhetorically asked in a Twitter post.

“A kindergarten in Hamburg bans children from dressing up as Indians. Wow… you have to come up with such an idea first. It is quite counterproductive that you can no longer be able to distinguish between important and unimportant topics because of political correctness,” another person wrote.

Some people also suggested that kids should be allowed to dress up as whoever they want precisely because such an approach is the best way to promote diversity. “Dressing up as someone always means assuming another identity. It fosters empathy. That is why children at a carnival should [dress up] as anyone. Including Indians,” a German political adviser and author, Erik Fluegge, noted in his post.

‘Mermen’ instead of superheroes

In the face of public outcry, the daycare management tried to ease tensions while still rushing to the administration’s defense. “A ban is absolutely out of the question,” Franziska Larra, a managing director of the Hamburg city kindergarten association that manages the controversial facility, told the German media, adding that what that one administration had issued to the parents was a mere “recommendation.”

The administration itself, meanwhile, pointed to an article in a brochure ‘Kids Actuell’ published by the Berlin’s ‘Center for Prejudice-Conscious Education,’ which is supported by the German Family Ministry. The piece elaborates that the costumes of ‘American Indians’ are “undesirable” due to the fact that the term itself was coined by the colonizers and is therefore associated with the extermination of large populations of real Native Americans.

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The controversial educational guideline, however, does not just stop at that; it also says that the modern, politically correct, socially acceptable children’s costumes should not promote “gender stereotypes” as well. Letting girls dress up as fairies and mermaids allegedly translates the idea of female helplessness and insecurity while costumes of astronauts and superheroes supposedly make boys “reckless, fearless, always ready to fight the others,” the authors of the piece believe.

To apparently correct this awful misjudgment, the article suggests parents should encourage boys to dress up as “mermen” while girls should be offered the costumes of superheroes. The brochure also happily declared costumes of mythical creatures and animals to be perfectly acceptable… well, apparently only until some new bunch of educational policy advisers come to the conclusion that the costume choices could still offend some animal rights activists.

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