A group of first-grade students at Bennett Elementary School in Fargo, North Dakota had planned to perform the Village People’s song “YMCA” at a talent show, until one parent deemed the act too “racist.”
Although the song was a disco hit in the late 1970s, it continues to be performed in similar situations like talent shows across the country and throughout the world. Aside from the "YMCA" The Village People, of course, are best known for the distinct costumes which they wore. One member dresses like a police officer, another like a construction worker, another like a Native American, and so on. All of the outfits are stereotypical depictions of a specific subset of American culture, a purposefully bold choice by the group.
The controversy at Bennet Elementary School occurred because, according to The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, it was a teacher that conceived the idea and asked students to come in wearing costumes like the Village People.
Elaine Bolman, voiced her opinion about the matter, claiming the teacher's suggestion that her daughter dress as a Native American is offensive.
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“I’m not in a position to do anything for these educators, and hopefully those people that are can make the right choices so all students of any culture and race won’t feel singled out or like their race is being stereotyped against,” said Bolman.
According to UPI, school officials canceled the Village People segment of the show.