That year — the 500th anniversary of Christopher Colombus' first voyage to the Americas — American Indians said the city should not be celebrating a man they called a slave trader responsible for the murders of natives across the Americas.
Officials at the University of Madison in Wisconsin, hoping to show how diverse the school's student body is, had to resort to photo manipulation to make their point: After spending all summer looking for photos of minority students for a brochure, the university's undergraduate admissions director altered a 1993 photo of fans at a football game, adding the image of a black senior taken the following year.
The university has since apologized for the "error in judgment."
Soccer Fans Need Not Apply
The second-largest police force in Britain has new speech and behavior guidelines, reports the Daily Telegraph in London. Policemen on the Greater Manchester Police force are now called "police officers." Foremen are to be referred to as "supervisors" and workmen as "workers," the document says.
"Wheelchair bound" is out. "Wheelchair users" is in. Officers are cautioned not only not to use obviously offensive terms, but also to avoid phrases like "people with special needs" when speaking of the disabled and "happy clappy" or "bible basher" when talking about people with religious convictions.
David Wilmot, the chief constable of Manchester, says the aim is to help the officers interact with the community with minimal mistakes. "We want everyone to respect the views and feelings of others, and to use language that doesn't offend," he said.
How About a Victory Dance?
Chief Illiniwek, the mascot at the University of Illinois, is once again under fire. Following a critical report from an accreditation group, the University of Illinois Board of Trustees opened a "dialogue" this year seeking comments from anyone interested in the university's use of the chief as its mascot and official symbol.
Nearly 18,000 written comments and 13 hours of videotaped testimony on the subject is now being reviewed by former Cook County Judge Louis Garippo, who is expected to issue a report later this year. Critics say the chief perpetuates racist stereotypes and insults American Indians. They are especially offended by the dance the chief does during school sporting events, which they say ridicules sacred tribal rituals.
Supporters of the mascot say they are trying to honor the university's heritage and Illinois' native people.
Sam Sacks Sauce
Food Lion supermarkets in South Carolina last week joined Sam Club's retailers in removing Maurice Bessinger's barbeque sauce from its shelves because of the restaurateur's views on the Confederate flag.
Bessinger, owner of the Piggie Park Restaurant chain and a former gubernatorial candidate in that state, was staunchly critical of the state's decision to remove the flag from its statehouse this summer. Food Lion said it removed the goods after researching Bessinger's views on the flag, slavery and other issues.
Decals Without a Cause
A 20-year veteran coach of the Slidell, La., Youth Football Association found himself in hot water last week for allowing his 12- and 13-year-old players, nicknamed the Rebels, to wear decals of the Confederate flags on their helmets.
Coach Jack Fayard said none of his players — four of whom are black — nor their parents complained about the decal. Only when a member of the association board complained did it become an issue. Linda Bailey, who is black, has a child on Fayard's team and said she never considered the flag an issue. "It never even dawned on me," she said. "I didn't take offense to it. It's just a decal. It's not a big deal."
Off With Their Heads
The U.S. Navy's 11 active aircraft carriers could soon see their traditional "heads," complete with urinals, replaced with "gender neutral water closets," if the admiral in charge of Pacific fleet aviation, Vice Adm. John B. Nathman, has his way.
The Washington Times reports that the admiral wants to replace the porcelain urinals with "Stainless Sanitary Space Systems" for cleanliness reasons and to accommodate the 4,358 women who serve on aircraft carriers. The 316-ship fleet sports some 3,000 heads, and each Stainless Sanitary Space System costs $187,000 to design and install.
Lifestyle Loses Out
After meeting with members of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), editors of the Associated Press Stylebook have made changes to the latest edition of the newspaper copy editor's Bible.
GLAAD reports that, in the 1998 edition of the book, the entry under "gay" read simply "gay: Acceptable as popular synonym for homosexual (n. and adj.)." In the 2000 edition, the entry reads, "gay: Acceptable as popular synonym for both male and female homosexuals (n. and adj.), although it is generally associated with males, while lesbian is the more common term for female homosexuals. Avoid references to gay, homosexual or alternative 'lifestyle.' "
By avoiding the term "lifestyle," GLAAD says, reporters do not give the impression that being gay or lesbian is a matter of choice or less than genuine. Dropping the word "alternative" does the same.