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Seeing Red
2005-04-06 - 11:17 a.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Of all the things that can make a person see red, school principal Gail Karwoski was not expecting parents to get huffy about, well, seeing red.

This was the news that I found on CNN.COM this morning (4/6/2005). It seems that parents of students are upset with the type of message that the color red conveys.

The story goes on to say that traditionally teachers have used red ink when grading papers, one would assume so that the difference in color would make it easy to discern between the student's work and the teacher's remarks. The story goes on to say:

Parents objected. Red writing, they said, was "stressful." The principal said teachers were just giving constructive advice and the color of ink used to convey that message should not matter. But some parents could not let it go.

So the school put red on the blacklist. Blue and other colors are in.

People, don't we have larger problems in the world around us? In your own city, people are without jobs, meals and homes; crimes are being committed against human beings and animals; Britney Spears is putting out more albums. Don't you think that we should be focusing on these issues, and not the color of ink on a school paper?

"You could hold up a paper that says 'Great work!' and it won't even matter if it's written in red," said Joseph Foriska, principal of Thaddeus Stevens Elementary in Pittsburgh.

What!? It won't even matter? Of course it matters! When a paper says 'Great work!' it is most certainly not saying 'You are a pathetic piece of humanity that will never amount to a productive member of society. And you put too many 'T's in the word 'impacted''.

And do you think that the IRS is going to stop using red ink? Or the Department of Motor Vehicles? Or Wall Street? What would they do? Stop saying that companies were "in the red"? "Well Bill, Lucent technologies used to be consistently in the black, but these days they're in the mauve. Deep, deep mauve".

So some touchy-feely types have decided that red is dead. It seems that purple may be the color of choice for some educators.

At Public School 188 in Manhattan, 25-year-old teacher Justin Kazmark grades with purple, which has emerged as a new color of choice for many educators, pen manufacturers confirm.

"My generation was brought up on right or wrong with no in between, and red was always in your face," Kazmark said. "It's abrasive to me. Purple is just a little bit more gentle".

This is from a teacher at a public school in New York City. I am certain that before his students get to his class, they have seen plenty of things on the streets of Manhattan that are "abrasive" and "in your face". And his comment about "My generation was brought up on right or wrong with no in between" - does he think that it was a bad thing that he was brought up to realize the difference between right and wrong? I'm going to have to side with Martha Stewart on this one - it's a good thing.

I may be speaking out of turn, since I don't have any children, but I feel that at some point we stopped treating kids as human beings. Human beings need to experience the good and the bad, the pleasant and the unpleasant in life.

When you treat a kid as something fragile, that absolutely no harm or unpleasantness must befall, at some point you are going to reap what you sow. You will raise a person that is fragile and cannot handle unpleasantness. And that would be fine if you were going to keep that person isolated from the real world forever, but at some point they have to embrace the real world.

You know the real world? The one that's abrasive? And in-your-face? The one that uses red fucking ink?

Well I hope that this is an isolated event, and that the rest of the world will ignore this sort of idiotic thinking. Use this energy to perhaps, I don't know, better educate the students. That way they won't need to see the red ink.


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