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Tuesday, 16 May 2006
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Blame Sesame Street
Right on the heels of this controversy, a number of smaller special interest groups have come out in favor of removing certain programming from Sesame Street, saying that it has continued the culture of divisiveness in this country.

CTW - Several influential groups held a joint press conference today on Sesame Street, demanding that certain items be removed from their programming rotation. First to the podium was the spokesshoe for the "National Organization for One of These Things" (NOFOOTT). "From a very young age, children are taught by Sesame Street to group things by common traits, and shun those that are different. Repeatedly telling children that 'One of these things is not like other' teaches them that not everything in this world is the same, and that inherently there is something wrong with that."
...
Later to speak was the Number 13, who represents the "American Union for the Rights of Large Numbers" (AURLN). "Why is that every time they show a fun pinball game on Sesame Street, they stop at the number 12? Children are indoctrinated with the notion that there is something wrong with the number 13, and it only continues from there! 14, 15, 100, 12648 all suffer because of it. We at the AURLN believe that it is never too young to teach children the wonders of infinity, and that all numbers are equal!"

Not surprisingly, this last comment brought about quite a strong reaction from the The Mathematical Association of America:

While we at the MAA certainly sympathize with the plight of large numbers, it would be very dangerous to our society to teach children that all numbers are equal. By their very nature, numbers have different values, some greater than others. Teaching anything other than that to our school children would destroy the very fabric of our nation.

When asked to comment, a spokesman for WEAC had the following to say:

While we understand the concerns of the MAA, we at WEAC take diversity training very seriously. We think it is an important step in our society to begin to treat numbers with the dignity they deserve, and give them equality. As to their specific concerns that children's grades in mathematics would decline as a result, we don't share that concern. We stopped giving failing grades to children several years ago.

Update: As usual... real life mimics parody. The Agitator points to this new definition of racism in the Seattle Public School System (emphasis mine):

Those aspects of society that overtly and covertly attribute value and normality to white people and Whiteness, and devalue, stereotype, and label people of color as "other", different, less than, or render them invisible. Examples of these norms include defining white skin tones as nude or flesh colored, having a future time orientation, emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology, defining one form of English as standard, and identifying only Whites as great writers or composers.

So with this definition, exactly who isn't a racist?
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