Teeny-Tiny Minorities Fight Back

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About Donald D'Haene

Donald D'Haene started his own successful theatre/opinion web site: http://www.donaldsdish.ca, is an author (Father's Touch), Huffington Post Blogger, and was one of the male Survivors on the Oprah 200 Survivors Episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, November 2010. Follow Donald D'Haene on Twitter @TheDonaldNorth.


  1. Richard Aubrey says:

    It depends. “deathly allergic”, if literally true, is one thing.
    When I was in school, the cafeteria served peanut butter sandwiches. We weren’t seeing busloads of kids taken off to the emergency room. Be worth finding out what happened (possibly use of a peanut oil extract in lotions for newborns) that now peanuts may kill people.
    But then there’s Keith John Sampson–interesting story about meatheads in his office and in the admin of IUPUI–known locally as eyeoopooey. They didn’t like him reading about how the Fighting Irish had run the KKK out of town. Even the admin was gunning for him.
    So, what exactly is the complaint of the minority and do we need to worry about it?

    • I dunno when you were in school, but I’m just going to throw out there a study by Scott H. Sicherer (Jaffe Food Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine) which showed peanut allergies in the US have TRIPLED from 1997 to 2008. Holy shit that’s crazy.

      I think the point is something more like: “Instead of seeing this (poinsettia removal) as a restriction of personal freedom, we should reframe the situation as an opportunity to empathize with someone who can never enjoy them for health reasons.”

      Maybe the company should have just made a big announcement, like “There’s someone in these offices who’s deathly allergic to Poinsettia, so feel free to display it but know that you are an uncaring asshole who might murder a co-worker for no reason.” I doubt anyone would’ve displayed the plant. But there are legal considerations, so the company had to enact a ban.

      I think it speaks to a larger culture of narcissism in the US where people reactionarily consider any small inconvenience like that a personal attack. We’re quick to cry “What happened to the first amendment!!” when we can’t eat peanuts everywhere, but are complacent about, for example, Citizen’s United. Blech

  2. Poinsettia-gate is really about employers being obliged to protect employees. There is nothing in contract that makes it a right for any employee to have a Poinsettia in the workplace, but under contract and a mass of legislation there is an obligation to the employer to protect.

    The comparison with the kids breaks down when it’s about having poinsettias. Where it would work is when one person takes the imagination to say “Hell lets not have poinsettias – lets take this as an opportunity to see that allergies kill – so this Holidays season we are all going to get with the program and not leave anyone behind.”.

    Hell – even the business could do it themselves and show some corporate smarts. It may even bring in an extra buck. Every little helps, including a cents worth of genius.

  3. These teeny-tiny minorities interpret any “ban” or restriction as though they are being punished, as if the teacher decided the whole class can’t go to recess because one student was acting up.

  4. You’re want a Poinsettia Party?

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