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The ABCs of political correctness

People present their identity cards in order to register for free food distribution by far-right party Golden Dawn in central Athens.

By Xenia Kounalaki

Greek authorities have launched an administrative inquiry after a Lefkada kindergarten teacher was accused of allowing “unpatriotic activities» to take place in the classroom.

Parents and representatives of the neofascist Golden Dawn party on the Ionian island allege that during this year’s activities to commemorate the anniversary of Greece’s entry into WWII on October 28, 1940, the teacher put up flags made by the young pupils – including an Albanian one.

“We decided to draw and make the flags. Because the class includes kids from both Greece and Albania, some of them made the flags of both countries,” the teacher said.

In a story that was posted on the online version of Lifo – a free weekly Athens newspaper – a woman describes how her 6-year-old niece spat in the face of a little boy in the local playground “because he is ugly and he is from Albania.”

Schoolchildren at private schools are often heard making fun of the accents of their – often Philippino – au pairs. When they see members of the Roma community, they run away for fear of being “mugged by the Gypsies.”

At state schools, where Greeks are often in the minority, all immigrant students are referred to as “black.” Discrimination is also common among the children of immigrants themselves: the Asians against the Albanians, and everyone against the Africans. Only the scorn shown for gay people cuts across the different races and religions.

On Wednesday evening, the Onassis Cultural Center in the capital hosted an interesting debate around the questions “Are Greeks racist? Does racism begin at school and during our education? Did racism put down roots in family and society years before the crisis began?”

Given the ease with which Golden Dawn has managed to infiltrate schools across the country, one is tempted to answer yes to these questions. The narrow-minded, Greece-centered, sometimes nationalistic and Christian Orthodox-oriented education at schools is almost taken for granted.

From early on youngsters are injected with the conviction that the Greek people are special, that their history has always been great and that the connection of contemporary society with ancient civilization is linear and uninterrupted.

In the context of this dominant culture, testosterone is king, femininity is a must for every woman and homosexuality is divergent behavior.

But political correctness should not be the obsessive compulsion of leftists in Kolonaki.

If we want the young children of today to become the responsible European citizens of tomorrow, the fundamental principles of equal treatment and respect for human rights should be taught together with the alphabet.

ekathimerini.com , Thursday November 15, 2012 (20:39)  
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