The principal of Brooklyn’s Coney Island PS 90–the Edna Cohen School–Greta Hawkins, has cancelled her kindergarten’s scheduled performance of Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to be an American” at their moving-up ceremony.
We don’t want to offend other cultures
and the lyrics are “too grown up” for five year olds. The opening lines, the “too grown up” lines, are these:
If tomorrow all the things were gone,
I’d worked for all my life,
And I had to start again,
With just my children and my wife,
I’d thank my lucky stars,
To be livin’ here today.
But a Justin Bieber song was “age appropriate” for these same five year olds, and they were allowed to sing this song in the their ceremony. This song opens with
Are we an item?
Girl, quit playing.
And the President Obama approves of this. His Department of Education agrees with Hawkins.
The lyrics are not age-appropriate.
I’d like to hear his definition of “age-appropriate,” since he thinks patriotic lines are not, but Bieber’s lines are, for these children.
And those offended cultures? The school has a significant immigrant student population, and so the neighborhood has a significant immigrant parent population. Those parents, many of whom are immigrants from Pakistan, Mexico, and Ecuador, to name a few, “love” the song, which used to be performed annually by the kindergartners. When last year’s fifth graders—who seem to be old enough to handle both patriotism and Bieber on the same day—sang “Proud to be an American” at their year-end ceremony, the parents of those fifth-graders gave it a standing ovation.
Yet, even though the school does have its students recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing a stanza or two of “God Bless America” each morning, kindergartners aren’t allowed to be patriotic at their year-end ceremony.
Because patriotism is an “age-appropriate” topic. And American patriotism might offend other cultures.
Update: Now Hawkins has decided to can the Bieber song, too. She’s not reinstating “Proud to be an American,” though; patriotism remains offensive at her school. Congressman Michael G. Grimm (R, NY), whose district includes Brooklyn and this school, had some thoughts on the matter.
I am outraged that NYC’s Department of Education is standing by the decision of PS 90’s principal to pull the song “Proud to be an American” from the upcoming kindergarten ceremony, for fear of offending other cultures. The only thing offensive about any of this is the anti-American message being engrained in our youth. We all should be proud to be American and we should never ever apologize for it!
And Lee Greenwald had this about Hawkins’ banning of his song:
I think [Hawkins is] confused between allegiance and worship. I don’t think it’s a religious issue to salute the flag. You always respect the flag. That’s just simple for me. A religion that says you can’t do that is out of place