I walked down the street to buy a donut yesterday afternoon. The lily white girl behind the counter wished me "Happy Holidays!" I almost said "Merry Christmas," but alas, given the climate today, saying it almost sounds as if one is using it as a weapon to make a point, not a heartfelt salutation. "Thank you," said I.
This morning, I stopped by Dunkin' Donuts. After she handed me change, the Indian girl (or Pakistani — I don't know which), enthusiastically flashed a 1,000-watt smile and wished me a "Merry Christmas!"
The white girl is sanitized, deracinated and deChristianized. She has surrendered.
The Indian girl ... not. There are three possibilities.
She is Christian and unaware that wishing one a Merry Christmas is a sin. Or she isn't, and is still unaware. Or she isn't, but maybe just gets it: This is a Christian country to which I have come. Give the historic and cultural heirs who created it their due. Show respect.
Whatever the case, the Indian girl didn't much care whether I was Jewish or Buddhist or Muslim. And chose rightly. The white girl was terrified of offending me. And chose wrongly.