State and local officials in Washington are now barred by law from using the term "Oriental" in any statutes, codes, rules and regulations, reports The Seattle Times. Instead, officials must use "Asian" to describe people of Asian descent.

The law, a first in the country, substitutes the word in one existing statute about minority contractors and prevents its use going forward. It is limited to references to human beings, however, so a statute mentioning "oriental medicine or oriental herbology" gets to stay.

"It's pejorative terminology,” the bill’s sponsor, Democratic state Sen. Paull Shin, said of the term. “It's offensive."

U.S. Rep. Michael Honda, D-Calif., is said to be considering introducing a similar bill in Congress next year.

Rethinking 'Retarded,' Again

Readers of the Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote that paper to complain its use of the word ‘retarded’ in a headline was evil and tantamount to a racial slur, writes the paper’s ombudsman, Lou Gelfand.

The headline, 'Reprieve for the retarded' over a story about the Supreme Court’s declaring it unconstitutional to execute mentally retarded prisoners, was dubbed "derogatory terminology" by one reader and "mean" by another.

The paper stuck to its gun, however. The chairman of a committee that discusses such things, copy editor John Addington, said mentally retarded is an accurate phrase and does not demean anyone.

"It simply states a fact," he said. "'Developmentally disabled' (a term sometimes preferred) is vague and can confuse the reader."

Relativism Rocks!

A poll conducted for the National Association of Scholars finds that three out of four college students are being told by their professors that there is no right and wrong in the world – that everything is relative.

The poll, of 401 randomly sampled college students by Zogby International, found that three-quarters of all college seniors are taught that right and wrong depend "on differences in individual values and cultural diversity." Only about a quarter said they heard that "there are clear and uniform standards of right and wrong by which every one should be judged" from their teachers.

Students asked to prioritize the importance of various business practices in light of the recent corporate shenanigans said that, based on what they had been taught at college, "recruiting a diverse workforce in which women and minorities are advanced and promoted" was more important than "providing clear and accurate business statements to stockholders and creditors."

Delusions of Grandeur

The man whose case convinced a San Francisco judge to declare the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional has a lot of other grandiose ideas, among them getting rid of masculine and feminine pronouns, reports The New York Times.

Mike Newdow apparently would replace "he" and "she" with "re," "his" and "hers" with "rees" and "him" and "her" with "erm."

Newdow also plans to challenge the use of "In God We Trust" on U.S. currency and put an end to prayers at presidential inaugurations. The self-described atheist wants to ferret out all uses of religion in daily life, he says.

A New Pledge

A University of Texas communications professor who describes herself as a longtime member of the International Socialist Organization and spends her spare time promoting gay rights and workers' power has penned a new Pledge of Allegiance more suitable for self-proclaimed "godless radicals" as herself, notices journalist Andrew Sullivan.

Dana Cloud and her 11-year-old daughter have always been uncomfortable saying the pledge, she says, not only because of the religious imposition, but because "it seems very strange to pledge loyalty to a scrap of cloth representing a corrupt nation that imposes its will, both economic and military, around the world by force."

Cloud's new pledge goes as follows:

I pledge allegiance to all the ordinary people around the world,
to the laid off Enron workers and the WorldCom workers
the maquiladora workers
and the sweatshop workers from New York to Indonesia,
who labor not under God but under the heel of multinational corporations; I pledge allegiance to the people of Iraq,
Palestine and Afghanistan,
and to their struggles to survive and resist
slavery to corporate greed,
brutal wars against their families,
and the economic and environmental ruin wrought by global capitalism; I pledge allegiance
to building a better world
where human needs are met
and with real liberty, equality and justice for all.

Mailbag:

Brian C. from Sacramento, Calif., writes:

It is amazing how the political left has gained control in today's classroom.  Currently as a Government major (apparently the term Political Science is no longer politically correct) at Sacramento State University, my most objective teacher is an admitted socialist that spends almost half the class discussing why the Constitution needs to be re-written. Other teachers have graded me down because I gave a critical opinion of Marx's writings. When another teacher discovered that I had proudly served in our nation's armed forces, he forced me to explain to the class what happened at My Lai, and then went on to explain that this was typical behavior of America's armed forces throughout the world.

These are just a few examples of what a college "education" brings these days. If anyone else out there thinks that there is something wrong with this, please contact your elected officials. Nothing will change the horrid state of our education system by just sitting back and reading about it.

Allison E. writes:

In response to the "Profiling Juggernaut" article:

Maybe what those complaining about "linguistic profiling" really mean is that it's harder to be taken seriously if you do not speak correctly and thus sound uneducated. It has nothing to do with "sounding white," or sounding like any other color. When you speak to people on the telephone, you naturally make assumptions about their intelligence and reliability based upon how articulate they sound. Race has nothing to do with a person's ability to master the English language. Anyone can speak correctly if they try.

Please save us from a country where people get to make up the English language as they go and the rest of us have to feel apologetic if we don't understand them. I'm not suggesting that we have a government agency overseeing the purity of the language like the French do, but we should never feel bad because other people couldn't take the trouble to learn their native language correctly.

Bob H. from Round Lake, Ill., writes:

As we see remnants, symbols, and traditions of the American Indian history and culture being removed from our society by the PC crowd, one must wonder: if this continues, in 50 years, will anyone know these people ever existed? When every Indian logo has been banned, every Indian name removed from schools or team mascots, and when the study of Indian culture is banned from 4-H, the Boy Scouts, and every other group, who will remember that the American Indians ever existed? Is that what the PC'ers want?

Darin C. of Bolivar, Mo., writes:

I wonder why they left the name of the character, Quasimodo, the same, when that name means "Half-formed." One would think that if a little political correctness is good, a whole bunch would be even better! Maybe he should be re-named "The handsome and beautifully formed bellringer of Notre Dame?" But, then again, that would mess up the whole story line about him and Esmerelda, Huh?

John S. writes:

I grew up with a 75-degree kyphoscoliotic curvature of the spine — indeed, I was a "hunchback". Thankfully, my condition has been corrected by advances in surgery and, I believe, by a God who answers prayer. Still, I was never offended by Victor Hugo's title. As I told Oddsocks Productions in my email to them, Quasimodo reveals that the true beauty of man lies in the heart, not in the flesh. I have always felt that attempts to gloss things over with euphemisms tends to exacerbate rather than ameliorate the true problems of society.

Richard S. writes:

In their PC crusade, did the NCAA forget that words mean certain things? To be "sportsmanlike" is to behave like a sportsman. What sort of nonsense is "sportslike" – to behave like a sport?

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