Raising Kids in a PC World

Raising Children in a Politically Correct WorldThis past Monday was a holiday in parts of the country, but there was no three day weekend here in Seattle. Not only is Columbus Day not a holiday here, but as of October 6, it isn’t even Columbus Day anymore. Seattle (and Minneapolis) now celebrates Indigenous People Day.  The change in name is an attempt to shift the holiday’s focus from Christopher Columbus to the people he encountered in the New World and their modern-day descendants.

Now I get it. I know Christopher Columbus wasn’t the nicest guy. And I realize that there were already people living in the Americas when he “discovered” it, so I have no problem celebrating/honoring the indigenous people. But growing up we learned about Columbus and the ocean blue, his three ships and all. So what do we tell our kids? What do you teach them and when do you allow political correctness to rule the day?

This question of course doesn’t just apply to the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. There are many things we grew up being taught that are no longer considered “PC.” How much do you try to teach your children political correctness and when is it too reactionary?

Of course, the definition of politically correct is in the eye of the beholder. Some may see the acceptance of same sex marriage as a politically correct change, while I see it as a welcome change to extend a basic right to all. (And Lila thinks having a family with two moms would be really great.) Others see one of our favorite team names as offensive and in need of a change.

We aim to make our children into kind, caring and informed people. And even though we celebrated Columbus Day as a child, A and I turned out ok.  I suppose there will always be changes in public opinion and teaching, and we just need to do our best to teach our children what we think is right.



  1. My teachers went there and gave us the real skinny on Mr Columbus and his claim to have “discovered” America. Likewise, I aim to teach my kids actual facts, especially when it comes to our heritage and how our country came to be. The reality is that a lot of people have been tired of glorifying Columbus because he was an awful man ruled by his greed to take over what was never his. He may not have always been an awful person, but at some point the tables turned and he slipped over to the dark side all in the name of material gain and having a little bit of power. No matter how you slice this pie, the truth is he NEVER discovered America and therefore, celebrating that he did is moot in my opinion.

    Also, being part Native American and married to a man who is half Native American, I personally can’t get behind celebrating Mr. Columbus or encouraging my kids to celebrate that. There going to be mixed feelings on this and that’s ok. We can agree to disagree and do what best suits our families. For some people this will just be an issue of political correctness, but for me and my family it’s much deeper than that.

    • Washington Woman says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment and sharing your family’s story. As I mentioned in the post, Columbus was not a nice person and there were already people living in North America when he arrived from Europe. I agree that the facts should be taught and shared. I’m honestly not sure where I stand on replacing Columbus Day with another holiday. I think everyone should be educated on Columbus’ journey – as much for the negative impacts of colonialism as for the European history aspect of it. I also think that Native American history is extremely important and should be taught. I don’t think it needs to be one or the other though – Native Americans or as they call it in Seattle, Indigenous People deserve a day of recognition but maybe on that stands on their own and not on that replaces another.

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