Friday, June 10, 2011

A New Holiday? Un-PC Day!

Do you know what I think would be a really good idea? A day abolishing political correctness: an Un-PC Day.

One day where we all agree to ask each other frank, honest questions and answer them the same way...while also agreeing not to be offended by anyone approaching the day with an honest, earnest desire to learn and to teach.

Seriously...just ONE DAY to ask me if I've ever lived in a tipi, or what is frybread, and is it true Native Americans don't grow body hair? (no, it's kind of like an American Indian tortilla, and no again)

Just one day.

I bet we all could learn a lot from each other and do more to obliterate harmful stereotypes if we set aside just one day a year where we could ask about them without fear of being labelled a bigot or getting your hind end kicked.

Not to mention, if someone (say, a persistent co-worker or well-meaning but annoying in-law) is bugging you for the tenth time that month with intrusive questions about your culture, ethnicity or race, you can say to them: "Hey, it's not August 27th yet. Ask me then, ok?" It could suddenly become rude and socially unacceptable to ask those irritating but sincere queries on any day OTHER than Un-PC Day.

Think of the freedom, the liberation!

Colleges could give lectures on such topics as, "The Japanese: Not All Ninjas or Karate Experts" and "Jamaicans: Actually Not Stoned Most Of the Time." Major television networks could throw a telethon to raise awareness and money for organizations such as Trevor's Hotline and the Anti-Defamation League. Big stars like Margaret Cho, Chris Rock, Jon Stewart, Graham Greene, Ellen DeGeneres, Kal Penn, John Woo and Neil Patrick Harris could answer calls from anonymous, everyday Americans, reaching thousands if not millions of interested citizens. Journalists could go into the homes of gay men who are messy and really bad decorators, as well as Native Americans who don't live on reservations and Mormons who only have one wife. Knowledge is power!

There should definately be a dessert for Un-PC Day, too. Every major holiday has a drink or dessert associated with it. This one should be no exception.

Picture it: you could show up at the home of your Mexican neighbors and say, "Happy Un-PC Day! Is it true you and your family are in this country illegally? Oh, and how rude of me! Here's your pineapple upside-down cake. It wouldn't be Un-PC Day without it!"

Your neighbor could graciously take the proffered dessert and reply, "Happy Un-PC Day to you, too! No, it's not true; we're actually third generation Americans. By the way, is it true you African-Americans all love friend chicken? And don't forget to take YOUR pineapple upside-down cake! My wife made it just for you."

And white people need not feel excluded simply because they are the majority. Think of all the stereotypes the Caucasians could field! Informative pamphlets could be freely distributed with titles such as: "The Irish: Not Perpetually Drunk And/Or Brawling," "A History of British Dentristry," "Italians: We're Not All In the Mafia," "Germans: No Longer Genocidal" and "It Actually Only Takes ONE Polish Guy To Change a Lightbulb."

Religions, also, would be fair game. Finally, Catholics could ask Jews if a bar mitzvah is when you circumsize male children, and Muslims could at long last ask Buddhists who they were in their past lives and by the way, do you know anyone who has reached nirvana? Burning questions they ponder, secretly, all year long!

Of course, it wouldn't be a holiday without some sort of celebration, so I propose we utilize that sadly declining fun-filled neighborhood event: the block party.

Inter-racial, inter-faith, GLBT-friendly barbeques & picnics would sprout up all over the country (if not the world). Neighbors would set up chairs on the sidewalks and long tables of such goodies as samosas, skyr, rice calas, vaca frita, bifanas, balut, langos, palta reina, gefilte fush, kippers, baba ghanouj and barbuljata. People would share gossip over glasses of sweet tea, aqua fresca, kvas, cuaker, bellini, rivella, bunna, masala chai and pinolillo. School children could share some of Grandpa's drunken utterances that Mommy and Daddy tell them to ignore the rest of the year.

Marathons of "Will & Grace," "Northern Exposure," "The Cosby Show" and Spanish telenovelas would take over television stations (those not covering the telethon, of course).

Ethnic restaurants could offer discounted meals on everything from Indian curries to traditional Greek gyros to toast smeared with Australian vegemite. Bars & pubs the world over could have wine tastings from the finest France, Spain, Portugal and Napa Valley have to offer. For those who prefer a stronger wee bit of the creature, those establishments could freely pour Greek ouzo, Polish slivovitz, Appalachian moonshine and absinthes from New Orleans, Paris and Canada. Street vendors would sell out of bangers & mash, Hawai'ian bento and Tex-Mex barbeque. The smell of escargot, baba ganoush, tiramisu and udon would fill the air and even the most zenophobic of stomachs.

The entertainment would be equally fun and harmonious: people could feel free, nee encouraged, to dance the can-can with French lasses, throw dishes to the ground with the Greeks, and lift a groom into the air on a chair with the Jews (just after he jumped the broom). The sitar, shamisen, digeridoo, African box drums, accordian and Native American flutes would blend in harmony, while B.B. King, Enya, Ravi Shankar, Shakira, Seal and Carlos Santana jammed together happily. Ladies and gents could dance the hora, do-si-do in a square dance, thrill spectators with a Ukranian arkan, or shake their hips to some sassy salsa, all to great acclaim.

And there'd be fun for the kiddies as well: they could learn to make an Israeli chuppa, Chinese paper dragons, Alaskan totem poles and Dajo pottery from Nigeria. They could prance about in Dutch wooden shoes, play with Russian nesting dolls and try their hand at origami. Not to mention their glee as they try such delicacies as poi, curry, sushi and traditional English spotted dick (accompanied by much giggling, of course). Dress-up competitions would see the youngsters vying for the blue ribbon in their Japanese kimono, Senegalese kaftan, Mexican sombreros and Maori pake karure. Girls would be painted with beautiful henna designs by the Egyptians while the boys learned how to dance the whirling dervish by the Turks. When it's time to play, they can have a blast with German topfschlagen, Vietnamese rong ran, Nepalese dundi biyo, Venezuelan trompo, Indonesian gasing, Columbian oba, peirilia from Cyprus, Brazillian queimada, Mexican gallinita ciega, Korean MuGungHwaggochchipiubnida, and paper dolls from Taiwan. Let the games begin!

At the end of the day, that marvelous Un-PC day, we'd all pick up our things, give one another a hug or a bow, and head back to our homes a little bit happier, a little bit smarter...and hopefully, a lot more tolerant and accepting.