Delegates at an anti-racism conference in Barbados last week voted to expel non-blacks from the meeting, saying it was too traumatic to discuss slavery in front of them, reports the Associated Press

"There are a number of black people who have been traumatized by white people and they suffered psychologically and emotionally and, as a result of that trauma, some of them did not care to discuss their issues in front of them," said the chairwoman of the conference, Jewel Crawford of the United States. 

The meeting, titled African and African Descendants' World Conference Against Racism, was hosted by the government of Barbados. Organizers included the Congress Against Racism Barbados and the U.S.-based Congress of People of African Descent. The dozen or so whites and a couple of Asians, mainly interpreters and members of non-governmental groups, left without protest following the vote. 

Dimming the Lights 

A holiday light display planned for Saluda Shoals Park in Irmo, S.C. will not include any overt religious displays so as not to get the church-state-separation folks riled up, reports The State newspaper. 

Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission voted 3-1 to ban the displays following advice from its attorney that including a Nativity scene could prompt a lawsuit. Chairwoman Beverly Brandes wanted to include a Nativity scene, as well as displays from religions other than Christianity, but her proposal lost out. "I still feel very strongly that that's what Christmas is all about," Brandes said. 

Redneck Pride 

A federal appeals court has ruled that a rural New Jersey school district was wrong to suspend a high school student because he wore a T-shirt with redneck humor that the school considered racially insensitive, reports the Associated Press

In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the ban by the Warren Hills Regional School District was unconstitutional. The court ruled the district overstepped its bounds when it banned the T-shirt because it contained the word "redneck." 

Thomas Sypniewski Jr., 19, challenged the ban after he was suspended for three days and lost parking privileges at the school for wearing the shirt that bore comedian Jeff Foxworthy's "Top 10 Reasons You Might Be a Redneck Sports Fan." The district banned the shirt under its anti-harassment and intimidation policy, which forbids the display of the Confederate flag on school grounds or at school events. 

Don’t Show, Don’t Tell 

The tradition of show-and-tell is slowly disappearing from American school, reports the St. Petersburg Times, partly because teachers want to avoid creating self-esteem problems for children who don’t bring interesting enough items. 

The goal of the exercise, to promote self-esteem, "backfires when children try to outdo each other," writes Katherine Snow Smith. "Show and tell" turns into "bring and brag." Mona Schuster, a child development specialist with the Pinellas County schools in Florida, says the intent was to make children feel better about themselves by bringing something from home. But in later years, she says, kids have started bringing in things that are bigger and better and brighter than what their friends brought in. 

Don’t Go There 

A Chicago cable news channel suspended one employee, fired a contributor and issued an apology after an anchor made a reference to Aunt Jemima on air, reports the Chicago Sun Times

An episode of "Sports Page" on CLTV featured a spokesman for a local hunting and fishing days event dressed in traditional hunting camouflage and a turkey-feather hat. The show’s host, Steve Kashul, remarked that the spokesman "looked a lot like Aunt Jemima." 

Following complaints about the remark, the station management issued an apology to viewers for what it called an "insensitive and inappropriate" broadcast that violated "programming and workplace standards." 

A Rare Victory 

A Maine college professor who was disciplined after a student accused him of making offensive remarks about race and homosexuality in a series of videotaped lectures won a $7,000 settlement in his grievance complaint against the school, reports the Portland Press Herald

John Broida, a tenured psychology professor at the University of Southern Maine, had his course cancelled by the school after he said in a discussion about the intelligence of blacks and white: "Do you know that on average blacks have a lower I.Q. than whites? Yes, have you noticed that? It's true." 

Broida said he likes to provoke student thought through his unorthodox lecture style, but a student said the remarks were offensive. Rachel Morales, who filed the original complaint, called the settlement, which included a written apology to Broida, "outrageous." She fears it will negatively impact the heightened awareness that has developed at USM over the past few months regarding issues affecting minority students. 

 

Mailbag: 

Chuck K. writes: 

Just out of curiosity, I would really like to know a bit more about the phrase "she acquired a spinal cord injury." Was it acquired from a rummage sale, as a gift from a friend, or possibly purchased from a retail store? No wonder many of our journalists are so damned ignorant when it comes to the proper use of English words. They're being taught to be stupid! 

Kristin H. writes: 

Whatever happened to "All American" simply meaning an upstanding, law abiding, community involved, moral and active member of the community that demonstrates respect for and is proud of living in the USA? That's what I always thought it meant. Why don't we just rename the country at this point -- United States of Everybody -- since we're letting "America or American" be deemed dirty words! Geez! And, we're doing it to ourselves no less! 

Russell P. in Tyler, Texas writes: 

I was talking to my puppy the other day, and she informed me that any team who has a dog as a mascot is ridiculing and demeaning her species. All offenders are subject to being mistaken for a fire hydrant. 

Joe P. in Burlington, N.J. writes: 

Since history had slavery (a way of life that involved God), fighting and killing Indians, founding fathers that owned slaves, a U.S. civil war that was triggered in part by slave ownership, wars with other countries, an atomic bomb that killed thousands of Japanese, Japanese internment camps, war with Muslims and meat-eaters, I think we should just do away with history all together. 

Let’s never teach it, talk about it and act like it did not happen so we don’t offend anyone. That’ll show em’! 

Bill B. writes: 

How amusing it is that Jesse Jackson, who made famous the term "Hymie town," is offended by some black-on-black humor at his expense. Jesse often likes to point out the errors of everyone else's ways, while glossing over his indiscretions. 

Michael T. writes: 

The story is too long to tell here, but there is a reason why the Confederate flag and VMI are inseparable. Check the Internet for descriptions of the Battle of New Market and "The Field of Lost Shoes." 

On May 15, 1864, the VMI Corps of Cadets participated in a battle that resulted in a defeat for the Union army. Ten cadets were killed and 47 wounded (teenaged boys fighting for Virginia). The battle is celebrated every year at VMI. 

Will we cease to remember history because some individuals make a conscious choice to be offended? 

Guillermo T. writes: 

The fight against PC always becomes diminished when letter writers respond with "Yes!" and then proceed to diss people of color etc. It seems that those against PC always hurt their cause when they open their mouths and spew xenophobic comments. Don't you sometimes cringe when these types come out to support the anti-PC agenda? 

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