Stop Being So Ready to Be Offended [OPINION]
The eternally wounded are at it again.
Halloween, Easter and Christmas celebrations are deemed offensive to others, and are replaced or phased out altogether. Thanksgiving and Columbus Day celebrate racism. Wearing clothing containing an image of the American flag and the flag itself is insensitive and provocative, and is therefore banned from some schools and other places.
This year, ABC's A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special, which first aired on November 20, 1973, came under attack as racist because the only black kid in the Peanuts gang was seated alone at the Thanksgiving table in a rickety lawn chair.
What they don't tell you is that character Franklin Armstrong was the first the first black character to appear in a daily comic strip, at a time when strips were still largely segregated.
Charles Schultz created the character of Franklin in response to the assassination of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King just three months after King was killed in 1968. Maybe it doesn't seem like much by today's standards, but it was a BFD back then.
So, now the brain trust at The Huffington Post is attacking another holiday classic, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, which first aired on NBC in 1964. The HP and its readers claim some of the messaging in Rudolph is hateful and depicts bullying as well as sexism, and is overall "seriously problematic."
Some say Santa was discriminatory by not wanting a deer with a red nose to pull his sleigh, and that banning Rudolph from reindeer games was cruel bullying. It gets worse.
But what they don't tell you here is that all turns out well in the end. Everyone who had misjudged someone else or was small-minded during their time at the North Pole had learned their lesson, and the hour ended on a happy note.
Folks, these are cartoons that are older than most of the readers of this opinion piece, and were produced at a very different time. In the case of Charlie Brown, a black kid was invited to dinner. That hadn't happened before. With Rudolph, we all learned how wrong it is to misjudge people based on their physical appearances. A great message that should be celebrated even today.
People are at the brink of absurdity today just looking for reasons to melt down and be offended. What say we just knock it off and enjoy life a little more?
Oh, and Merry Christmas!
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.