So there’s this kid in Alberta who’s graduating high school soon. His parents moved here in the 60’s from Scotland, as did mine, though he himself has never been there (don’t know what you’re missing, dude). He’s decided that he wants to wear a kilt to his graduation, to celebrate his Scottish heritage. Cool idea, right? I thought so, but his principal has told him that he is not allowed to wear the kilt to the graduation ceremony. Why? “It does not fit the dress code”.
Now there are thousands of people from around the world who have joined a facebook page that are going completely apeshit over this, telling Jacobs to go to court, that his basic human rights have been violated, that this is a hate crime… OK, take it easy people. This is not a huge conspiracy against the Gaelic people. More likely, it’s a principal who doesn’t want this kid flashing his junk at people while on stage, assuming he’s wearing the traditional undergarments. Don’t get me wrong – I fully support the kid. Not allowing him to wear a kilt is silly, but it’s not a human rights violation. “Scottishness” isn’t a religion that he practices (which is why all the comparisons to turbans and muslim headwear and such are faulty), so I don’t think he can play the human rights card. From the Globe article, it doesn’t look like he’s spent tons of time embracing his Scottish heritage – never been to Scotland and doesn’t plan to go, never worn a kilt, that kind of thing. Now I’ve never worn a kilt either, and there are lots of reasons why his never having been to Scotland doesn’t mean anything. But if he’s trying to claim that this is part of his own culture and upbringing, I’d have a hard time believing it. It’s not like he’s going to get to his graduation in a suit and tie and think to himself “This is just wrong. I should be in a kilt.” You want to take it to court, fine, but let’s not get all bent out of shape and start calling it a hate crime. That would be insulting to victims of actual hate crimes.
When I was in Scotland in 2000, my cousin Hazel got married, and we were there for the wedding. My aunt told me that I had to wear a kilt. I think she expected me to jump back and yell “What?! I’m not wearing one of those things!!”. Instead, I told her that it would be very cool and I was definitely up for it. When I was told she was joking and I didn’t have to, I was quite disappointed. Kilts are very expensive, so buying one was out of the question, but I should have looked into renting one. I may never have a chance again. Ach well.