happy holidays

Many people, including those within the Illinois State University community, can agree that there are times when political correctness can go too far, but this holiday season, taking the initiative to appreciate the diverse cultures within our society is something we should all take into account.

Although many students celebrate Christmas, there are tens of millions of Americans who don’t celebrate Christmas religiously or as non-Christian religions.

This holiday season should be much more than celebrating one’s respective religious or non-religious celebration — it should be a time when Americans appreciate diversity and inclusion in all its forms.

Inclusivity means using the phrase “Happy Holidays” when sending a gift or greeting card or changing Christmas office parties into “holiday parties.”

Some conservative pundits and combatants in the “War on Christmas” will say this is political correctness gone too far. But new data on how Americans feel on the issue can lay those claims to rest.

A 2017 Pew Research Center survey found that 52% of United States adults said it didn’t matter to them how they were greeted in stores over the holidays, up from 46% in 2012.

In the same survey, 56% of Americans believe that the religious elements of Christmas are emphasized less now than they were in the past while only 32% said that development bothers them either “a lot” or “some.”

More than half of Americans said they celebrated Christmas as a religious holiday while 33% celebrated it as primarily a cultural holiday.

Over the past few weeks, there have been issues raised among groups at ISU about racist and insensitive remarks made in classrooms and by friends. One solution to this ugly truth is taking time out this winter break to understand cultures and traditions that may be foreign to oneself.

No matter what holiday one celebrates, it’s important to understand and most importantly, respect the ideas, beliefs and values of others.

Holiday celebration time is also a time to celebrate diversity and inclusion with family and friends while also understanding and bringing awareness to the traditions and beliefs of those who are different than them.

This is a time where individuals and groups from all parts of our society can come together to not only celebrate a holiday but to bring diversity to those celebratory events.

One of the core values of ISU is Diversity and Inclusion but Respect, Integrity and Collaboration are all pillars of our institution that we can uphold, especially during the holiday season.

With that in mind, here’s a reminder to bundle up, give thanks to your loved ones and appreciate the upcoming winter break as yet another tumultuous finals week approaches.

ANDREW DOUGHERTY is a Columnist for The Vidette. Contact him at vidette_addough@ilstu.edu. Follow him on Twitter at @addough

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