If you’re of my generation, you probably said, “Indian.”
If you’re currently in school, you probably said, “native American.”
Yes, in our politically correct, multicultural world, indians are no longer the women with papooses on their backs or the guys with mohawks. No, Indians now live solely in India.
Why am I discussing this?
The other day, while filing things during a volunteer stint in my third grader’s classroom, I heard the teacher lead the class in a discussion of a book they had just finished. The book was about a boy who goes into the woods and meets and befriends an “indian.”
I really like my daughter’s teacher. However, she is of the extremely cautious/politically correct bent that can give me pause at times. She told the class that this book was one of her favorites, because of its “diversity” and the way it centered around boys from two different cultures who came to appreciate the culture of the other boy, etc. I felt that the class was ready at any moment to hold hands and break into kumbaya.
She asked, “So, what are some lessons you learned from this book?”
A few kids said some non-memorable items, when suddenly one boy piped up enthusiastically:
“Never underestimate an Indian!”
The teacher moved in quickly for the save: “Well, alright, or we could also say to never look down on someone from another culture, and to appreciate each person’s unique contribution.”
I was glad my back was to the class because I was having a gleeful private moment over that little exchange.
I think that in the future, whenever I hear a conversation veering headlong into a PC nightmare, I’m going to mentally repeat “never underestimate an Indian!” to lighten the mood.