Main | Monday, March 16, 2009

No Obama Mask For White 5th Grader

The 5th grade adopted son of a gay couple in Portland, Oregon has been told that he can't wear an Obama mask during a school talent show. His parents say it's because their son is white.
"I understand the history of blackface and how African Americans were caricatured by it," said Scott Lechert. "However, we now have a popular biracial president who is admired by white and nonwhite people. At what point will it become OK for an 11-year-old admirer to dress up as the president without fear of offending someone?" Lechert said he and his partner, Paul Kelly, helped the boy design props — including a presidential seal affixed to the front of a desk with duct tape. And they advised him to "have lots of bop" and "use your shoulders" in the routine. "We are white, but we're a minority class," Kelly said. "We have some insight into this process of what is and what isn't offensive. There was obviously no intent to harm here or really any possibility of offending anyone." Their son said he didn't think performing without the mask was an option. "If I don't have the mask," he said, "it's just some kid up there dancing around."
Is the school being overly cautious? Are white children not allowed to dress up as the president if he's black? Crazy situation. Generally, I'd say err on the side of, pardon the phrase, political correctness. Not sure about this time.

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