Offensive Reading Lists, Textbook Troubles and Rewriting History

The NCAA is pressuring a North Carolina college founded for the Lumbee Indians to drop what it calls the "racially offensive" Indian logo and nickname used by the school, reports FrontPage magazine.

Officials at the University of North Carolina-Pembroke, formerly known as the Croatan Normal School, were dumbfounded by the complaint from the NCAA's Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee. If anyone has earned the right to use Indian logos, they said, it would be a school founded for Native Americans.

Lumbee Tribal Chairman Milton R. Hunt said he was very surprised by the NCAA's letter.

"To us, [the logo and nickname are] a part of the university's name, just an extension of that, and the Lumbees would consider it an insult if it were changed," he said.

UNC-Pembroke was founded in 1887 after the Lumbee Tribe petitioned the North Carolina Assembly for a school. At first, it was simply an elementary school but the school began offering college degrees in 1940, which is when the school also adopted the Braves nickname and Indian mascot.

Offensive Reading

A graduate student at East Tennessee State University is suing the school for discrimination because he says he was required to read Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray's book, The Bell Curve, for class, reports the Kingsport Times-News.

Mack Edward Scott, 48, is seeking $1 million in compensatory damages and $2 million in punitive damages for the discrimination he endured. He says the book is racist, and that he was offended by discussion of it in class.

The Bell Curve, published in 1995, raised a ruckus by suggesting that there are substantial individual and group -- including race -- differences in intelligence.

In the Crosshairs

The ACLU has convinced a federal judge that the presence of a steel cross on federal land in the Mojave Desert is a violation of the rules regarding separation of church and state, reports The Associated Press.

The 6-foot cross, on what is known as Sunrise Rock, was erected in 1934 as a memorial to war veterans. For years, veterans and others have gathered at the cross for sunrise services on Easter. In October 1999, the Southern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union threatened to sue the National Park Service if the cross was not removed. Park officials initially agreed to take it down, but a California congressman intervened and the removal was postponed.

The ACLU, of course, sued, and in July a federal judge ruled the cross unconstitutional and ordered it removed.

Fact vs. Fiction

An analysis of New York's public school textbooks and library holdings by the New York Daily News finds that the material available to young students is, in addition to being riddled with errors, full of politically correct claptrap passing as conventional wisdom.

In one book, jihad is defined as "to do one's best to resist temptation and overcome evil." In another, Al Sharpton is said to hail from a "long tradition of activist ministers like Martin Luther King Jr." and Louis Farrakhan is described as a "black American of achievement" who bears a "message no American can ignore."

Gail Stein, a teacher in New York City and the author of several French textbooks, said she was told to remove references to perfume (it's sexist), champagne (might encourage underage drinking) and chocolate mousse made with cognac (same reason).

In a history textbook, America's Past and Promise, middle school students are told that a 1915 photo of men linking hands around the world's biggest tree, the General Sherman sequoia in California, are "conservationists … [trying] to stop loggers from cutting it down" when actually they were just measuring it.

And thanks to creationist complaints in Texas, textbooks that once referred to geological events taking place "millions of years ago" and fossil fuels "formed millions of years ago" now say such things happened "in the distant past" or "over time." The previous descriptions conflicted with biblical timelines, you see.

CAIR-less Cartoon

The Council on American-Islamic Relations is demanding an apology from editorial cartoonist Doug Marlette and his employer, the Tallahassee Democrat, for a cartoon portraying the Prophet Muhammad driving a nuclear-bomb laden truck. Headlined "What Would Mohammed Drive?" the cartoon is a play off the recent debate over whether Jesus would drive an SUV or not. It shows Muhammad driving a truck similar to that used by Timothy McVeigh in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

"Defamatory attacks on Islam and on the Prophet Muhammad by media outlets or religious leaders only serve to harm our nation's image worldwide and divide America along religious lines. Unfortunately, it now seems to be 'open season' on Islam in certain religious and political circles," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad.

Rewriting History, Again

The National Park Service is scrambling to change what it calls a "pervasive Southern sympathy" in museum exhibits at Civil War battlefields and instead focus on exhibits emphasizing the horrors of slavery, reports Reuters.

The effort is most stark at the Gettysburg Park in Pennsylvania, where a new $95 million visitors center and museum will completely change the way the Civil War is presented to visitors.

"We want to change the perception so that Gettysburg becomes known internationally as the place of a 'new rebirth of freedom,'" said Park Superintendent John Latschar. "We want to get away from the traditional descriptions of who shot whom, where, and into discussions of why they were shooting one another."

A report to the U.S. Congress in March 2000 said that of the 28 Civil War sites operated by the park service, only nine did an adequate job of addressing slavery in their exhibits.

Finally! The daily edition of Tongue Tied is here. For those who can't wait until the end of the week for a dose of PC wackiness, head over to the Tongue Tied Web site.


Craig C. in San Jose, Calif., writes:

I agree with the school's decision not to wrap gifts for an organization spreading the word of Christ. I am a religious Jew who values the right of others to practice their religion but do not wish my children to participate in Christianity. Such innocent activities are a form of stealthy conversion and is little different than preaching acceptance of alternative lifestyles offensive to Christian parents.

An acid test of your tolerance of "innocent" proselytizing: Would you accept sending gifts and candy with a wrapping denying Christ is the savior? If you object, then please don't tell me to accept using my children to affirm your Christian beliefs.

Bill P. in Edina, Mo., writes:

Could someone please explain to me how inclusiveness comes about by excluding all mentions of Christianity from the public forum? Or is what the 'inclusive" agenda really seek to do a matter of anti-christianity?

I'm not sure how we are inclusive by removing a particular viewpoint from the debate, particularly a viewpoint that preaches personal accountability and objective truth.

Greg N. in San Diego writes:

If you have ever played on a school athletic team, you've probably come across opponents whose mascot, name, identity, etc. is... well, "wimpy." Why is there a problem with a team name evoking images of death and destruction? As with movies and television, if people like Ms. Lathrop don't have the ability to discern fantasy from reality, they should seek help, not seek to ruin a traditional, abstract image.

Sure, the Crusades were real... but to a high school football player who is exposed to it for three chapters in a history book? He wants to go out on the field on Friday night and "maim" and "trample" and "overtake" and "destroy?" Ms. Lathrop seems to think this very kid wants to take the field and maim and trample and overtake and destroy. Grow up, Ms. Lathrop. And you know what? My alma mater, the Falcons... we weren't really birds.

Kristine H. in Minneapolis, Minn., writes:

How can you take Muslims to task for complaining about Franklin Graham's "Islam is an evil and wicked religion" statement? How can you call their reasonable complaints against this "whining?" Where are your moral values?

Scott F. in Fairfax, Va., writes:

As an atheist, I find it interesting to note that people around me will talk about their religious beliefs all the time, praising and thanking their gods for the good things in their lives.

But as soon as I open my mouth to talk about atheism, they tell me to shut up and want to try to convert me back to a religion that was forced onto me as a naive little kid.

One of our great American founding fathers, Ben Franklin, was right when he said, "Lighthouses are more useful than churches."

Cary in Dallas writes:

Congratulations to the "forward thinking" parent in West Virginia who had Native American motions, dances and chanting abolished for fear of offending Native Americans. God forbid a child should wish to look up to or emulate an Indian. Has anybody asked the Native Americans if they mind? Regardless, I’m sure the rest of the white PC crackpots will quickly follow suit.

That way, 20 years from now, one of the six or seven Seneca, Mingo or Cherokee left on the planet can visit a public school and ask, "What do you know about us?" I’m sure they will be ecstatic to hear little Johnny respond: "Well, in 1664 a boat full of immigrants from all countries, races, religions, and creeds landed on Plymouth Rock. Towards the end of November after having a big non-Christian meal with your people, you guys decided we would trade influenza, small pox, and whiskey for reservations, casinos and John Wayne movies."

I mean, how would they know any different? Yeah, this idea is brilliant.

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