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Christmas in Disguise

As December 15 approaches, we eagerly await Menlo's "Winter Holiday Break," a well deserved hiatus for students who have not had a reasonable amount of rest since the "Fall Holiday." Menlo has pioneered a new system of naming; what were once meaningful holidays such as Columbus Day and Christmas have now been degraded to the generic level of meaningless titles. Not only does this approach trivialize holidays, but it also serves to offend students who hold these particular remembrances in special regard. A holiday which once celebrated Columbus' exploration of the Americas now encourages students to recognize that occasion as nothing more than a day off from school. Although a day without school is not inherently unacceptable, Menlo's approach to holidays encourages ignorance and offends students.

Menlo's attempt to gradually become more politically correct is nauseating. Our image-obsessed administration has sacrificed heritage at the expense of truth. Christmas break should be called Christmas break, because Christmas is the occasion for the suspension of classes. Whether or not a student is Christian, he or she could benefit from the knowledge of the Christian religion in a world full of the same; calling a holiday by its appropriate name allows students to accept or reject the principles of that holiday. Even if the student rejects the principles behind the holiday, at the very least he or she has gained a greater understanding of culture. Although it seems that Christianity is getting the short end of the stick, other cultures are even more deprived of recognition and respect.

Menlo claims to be multicultural; however, Menlo does nothing more than supress culture and heritage. In effect Menlo suppresses all culture, at least with respect to its approach to holidays. Menlo celebrates Christian holidays such as Christmas and Easter, but disguises them in the garb of Winter Holiday and Spring Break. Furthermore, Menlo does not celebrate holidays pertaining to other religions if Menlo truly believes that Columbus Day is so insignificant that it should be called Fall Holiday, would it not be more reasonable to assign a school holiday to Yom Kippur and call Christmas Break by its appropriate name? By selecting significant school holidays instead of ones it deems to be meaningless, Menlo could celebrate culture, rather than conceal it. Menlo does not represent multiculturalism in this respect; rather, it appears to support multiculturalism through the suppression of all culture, reasonable or not.

Unfortunately, Menlo has failed to assign significance to its holidays; as a result, our school has trivialized the meaning of the holiday and irked the European majority. Menlo's disguise of European holidays serves to offend students and faculty who rejoice in the celebration of these holidays, while restricting members of other cultures from valid exposure. Menlo should not disguise European religion simply because Menlo's European constituent seems to be the majority; multiculturalism includes the celebration of European culture, and it is unfortunate that Menlo has failed to recognize this as yet. Moreover, Menlo has neglected other cultures completely with regard to holidays. By neglecting to recognize various cultures except through evanescent assemblies, Menlo's multiculturalism does not exist below the superficial level.

The generic "Ski Week" fails to recognize the significance of President's Holiday; this appellation does nothing but gratify the typical Menlo student. No appreciation, or even understanding, for Washington or Lincoln is gained; once again, Menlo, an educational institution, attempts to keep its students ignorant through the suppression of culture. Rather than recognizing the leaders of America, Ski Week encourages students to appreciate the value of annoying ground cover.

Let the reader recognize that holidays can potentially educate students; however, Menlo, an "educational" institution, has endeavored to keep its students ignorant for the sake of public image. As it stands, Menlo's generic names for holidays serve to do nothing but show disrespect for the value of the holiday and for the heritage of its students. If the occasions for which we have school holidays are not prominent enough to earn the title of "Christmas," why does Menlo even schedule the holiday at all?


This page created for The Subterranean Crusader by John W. Earl. Last modified January 28, 1996.