Abdul-Hakim Shabazz: ’Tis the season to be offended

Keywords Forefront / Opinion

ShabazzAlthough I have never been one to subscribe to the idea that there’s a “war on Christmas,” I am starting to think those folks may have a point. Maybe they’re not just getting worked up over the color of Starbucks coffee cups and whether someone says “Happy Holidays” to you at the checkout counter.

What caused me to think this? The recent controversy over the Christmas song, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”

In the world of social media where every slight is exacerbated a thousandfold, there have been complaints about the song, to the point that some radio stations have even stopped playing it. Critics say the song promotes date rape and sexual assault as the man tries to pressure the woman into staying at his place. I guess this is what happens when the more extreme segments of the #MeToo movement start to run out of men to accuse of wrongdoing without evidence.

First of all, you can’t judge a 1944 song using 2018 standards. If you talk to anyone who has studied music from the time, they will tell that a reasonable interpretation is not that the woman in the song is afraid of the man, she’s more worried about what society and others will think if she gives in to her urges. But to reach that conclusion actually requires one to think and do a little bit of research.

If the social warrior justice class had its way, every Christmas song would be banned, because at some level it offends someone. Don’t believe me? Try these on for size:

“Do You Hear What I Hear” would be offensive to those who are hearing impaired, even though they couldn’t hear the song to be offended.

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” is offensive because it is referring to white males (and their privilege) and not women, people of color or transgendered individuals.

“Rudolph, the Red Nose Reindeer” allegedly promotes bullying, which I still can’t quite figure out.

“There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays” is offensive to the homeless. “The 12 Days of Christmas” is nothing but a display of shameless capitalism and over-exuberance. And don’t even get me started on “White Christmas.”

Of course, this is silly. But these are the same people who get worked up over a picture of Franklin from the Peanuts cartoon sitting by himself on one side of the Thanksgiving table, while the rest of the group is sitting together on the other side. Never mind the fact that this was done in 1968 during the civil rights movement. These people should be happy that Franklin had a seat at the table, instead of waiting on everybody else.

Personally, I feel that if you have time to get worried about all this stuff, then your Christmas must be going pretty well. You must have a roof over your head, a mobile phone or laptop, and the financial means to spend time all day looking up stuff to get outraged about. Here’s a thought: Instead of spending time using their underworked bodies and overworked imaginations to look for problems with Christmas that don’t exist, it would be nice if these social justice warriors learned to appreciate the true meaning of the holiday—which I thought was peace on Earth and goodwill toward men.

But if they really want to be outraged and offended, they can e-mail me, and I will send them a copy of Blazing Saddles as a Christmas gift. I can’t think of any class of people more deserving.•

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Shabazz is an attorney, radio talk show host and political commentator, college professor and stand-up comedian. Send comments to [email protected]

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