Tongue Tied: A Report From the Front Line of the Culture Wars

A New Jersey teen is suing the high school he recently graduated from for suspending him because he refused to remove a T-shirt bearing comedian Jeff Foxworthy's "Top 10 Reasons You Might Be a Redneck Sports Fan."

Officials at Warren Hills Regional High suspended Thomas Sypniewski Jr. in March for three days under a school policy that forbids clothing portraying "racial, ethnic or religious stereotyping." Among the reasons on the shirt were "you know the Hooters menu by heart" and "you wear a baseball cap to bed." 

Sypniewski says the school unfairly portrayed him as a racist. "I say I'm a redneck because I like to hunt and fish, bale hay and listen to country music," he said. "Besides that, I wear the T-shirt because I think it's funny."

Transphobia in Queens

The American Civil Liberties Union said it would sue a New York City landlord for effectively forcing the Hispanic AIDS Forum out of a branch office because its transgendered clients frequently used the "wrong" restroom, reports Newsday

The ACLU says the group was discriminated against "because the agency's transgendered clients used restrooms appropriate for their gender identity, rather than for their anatomical sex at birth or at present." 

Women who work in the building complained about people in the women's restrooms standing up and facing the toilet to do their business. They said that more than once they asked men to leave the women's restroom. 

Sylvia Rivera, co-founder of Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries, said such discrimination against transgendered people, or "transphobia," is common.

No Fun in N'Awlins

The New Orleans Recreation Department may have to cancel a planned come-as-a-member-of-the-opposite-sex party for 11- and 12-year-old summer campers because some parents expressed concern that it was part of a homosexual plot to brainwash their kids, reports the Times-Picayune

The department said they would reconsider the six-year-old tradition, in which kids dress as member of the opposite sex, in light of the complaints. 

In a letter to the department, the concerned parents called the party "a subtle part of the overall homosexual agenda to progressively indoctrinate our society with specified efforts toward our children and young people." 

But the camp director said the party has nothing to do with a homosexual agenda. "The only thing we are trying to do is to give the kids a fun summer," she said.

Shadows Over Sunny Slope

Confederate flags were returned to veterans' gravesites in a West Point, Va., cemetery after the town attorney lifted a previous ban by the town manager on the controversial symbol, reports The Associated Press. 

Town Manager Anthony Romanello, a transplanted New Yorker, issued the ban before Memorial Day so as not to upset any mourners who might take offense from the flags in the town of 2,938. 

But City Attorney Andrea G. Erard said the flag is a form of constitutionally protected speech and may not be barred from the Sunny Slope Cemetery, where 34 Confederate soldiers are buried.

More Fun With Cartoons

In a retrospective on World War II-era cartoons, AOL-Time Warner's Cartoon Network goes to great lengths to temper the portrayals of Japanese and other Axis characters with the more sensitive language of modern times, reports the New York Post

A documentary-style special titled The Wartime Cartoons is designed to place the pro-American, and anti-German and anti-Japanese images shown in the cartoons in perspective. It portrayed the Japanese, for example, as diabolical little fat guys with outlandish buck teeth and round owlish spectacles.

The narrators described such portrayals as "outrageous" and "particularly cruel," and said the Japanese "were not portrayed fairly or accurately." 

The network produced "a documentary that practically apologizes for the way our sworn enemies were depicted in cartoons at a time when we were locked with them in a life-or-death struggle," writes Adam Buckman.

The Latest Phobia

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim advocacy group, is denouncing as an "Islamophobic hate crime" a scuffle between rival protesters outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington. It is demanding that the U.S. Attorney in the nation's capital investigate and file charges. 

The fight broke out between supporters of Christian Solidarity International, a group that has been critical of what it calls "forced Islamization" in the Sudan and a group of pro-Muslim demonstrators carrying banners reading "Stop Blaming Islam." 

"We believe the Islamophobic rhetoric used by extremist anti-Sudan lobbying groups promotes the kind of hate-filled attitudes that can lead to such attacks," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad.

Dirty Money in Canada

Canada's biggest bank, the Royal Bank of Canada, refused to allow a group dedicated to thwarting Montreal's bid for the 2006 Gay Games to open an account because its mission is controversial, reports Reuters

"We've declined the request for the account to be opened because we think that organization has a mission statement that is controversial, that may be even ... discriminatory," said Raymond Chouinard, senior public affairs spokesman for Royal Bank in Montreal. 

The group, which calls itself No Committee 2006, wanted to deposit donations it had received for its effort. It called the move discriminatory and said it would sue unless Royal Bank changed its decision.

From the Central Servers:

Joe A. in Pittsburg, Kan., writes:

Many of the stories the PC Patrol highlights are valid portrayals of how absurd political correctness can get. Every so often, as other respondents have noted, you go too far. 

This case is illustrated again with your inclusion of the attempt by concerned Catholics to stop a very offensive ad from being used. This ad wasn't an idle or harmless joke. You obviously do not understand the significance of the Catholic Eucharist or you would never have used that example. 

I have sensed anti-Catholic bigotry in your choice of stories before. Maybe you need to see a priest.

Nelson R. from Toms River, N.J., writes:

In regard to the denial of the Zin's requesting ROMANS8 on their license plate: I think it is proof positive that we have finally crossed the Rubicon of political correctness. We have indeed gone completely insane. 

Fred V. of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., writes: 

Keep these frustrating and unbelievable stories coming and maybe we will begin to see our foolishness and destruction it is causing our society.

Bill T. writes:

While some may see the separate ceremonies for graduates of differing ethnicity and religion as a step backwards, it's really very different. You've got to remember one thing: in the Bad Old Days, the blacks, Indians, Asians and Filipinos were not even present at graduation (except as groundskeepers). They were barely tolerated on campus as students at all. 

Today, there is a university sponsored graduation ceremony open to all that are graduating. The separate ceremonies are in addition to the main one, not in place of it. And who among us wants to prevent small groups, like Chabod, or Phi Beta Kappa, or the Rugby club from assembling and recognizing their own hard-earned accomplishments?

A. House in Austin, Texas, writes:

The Saddleback Valley USD should be congratulated for taking appropriate action to protect California students from the radical, dangerous, and many say insane ideas put forward by Jesus Christ. It has been reliably reported that this itinerate Jewish rabbi actually called upon his followers to "treat others as you want to be treated." School children should never, under any circumstances, be subjected to such harmful and intolerant dogma.

Scott F. in Phoenix, Ariz., writes: 

Okay kids. Everyone repeat after me: There is no, repeat NO right to not be offended. Most of the stories here talk about someone doing something asinine just because they are worried someone might be offended by it. Get over yourselves already! 

James C. writes: 

In the production of a play that is offensive to Jews in its entirety, a group of Muslims puts on pressure and gets the Prince of Morocco bowdlerized. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, I guess.

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