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Racial Fights, Cartoons, Disney on the Alamo

Civil rights and anti-war groups in Miami are hopping mad over a Miami Beach scuffle, claiming the fight between a local teen and an Iraqi immigrant was a racially motivated hate crime, reports the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.

The fight erupted outside a local towing company after Nasseer Idrisi refused to pay a $110 fine to get his car back, saying it had been illegally towed. When Idrisi began yelling in Arabic, a 16-year-old boy unloaded on him. The teen was arrested and charged with aggravated battery.

The Miami Coalition Against the War quickly called a news conference to decry "the apparent anti-immigrant and racist nature of the attack." March for Justice said it was going to march in front of the towing company.

The victim won't be marching, though. "My personal opinion is that it wasn't racially motivated," Idrisi said.

The protesters don’t care. "It doesn't matter what Nasseer believes," said Nidal Sakr of March for Justice. "It is for a judge and jury to decide."

Cartoon Problems I

A California campus newspaper cartoon poking fun at a graduate teaching assistant with poor English skills was denounced because it perpetuates stereotypes about Asians, reports the Press-Enterprise.

The cartoon, in the University of California at Riverside’s The Highlander newspaper, featured an Asian teaching assistant standing in front of a classroom speaking broken English. The caption read, "Where have all the English-speaking grad students gone?"

The editor of the paper, Kahlil Ford, published an apology and called the cartoon an "unbalanced attack on our fellow students." He promised that cartoons would receive the same editorial scrutiny as news articles in the future.

Cartoon Problems II

Black students at Indiana University say an anti-affirmative action political cartoon in the Indiana Daily Student used racially insensitive stereotypes and should not have been published, reports the Herald-Times.

The cartoon, drawn by Dan Cariño of San Diego State University's The Daily Aztec, suggested a black student would get more points for college admission than a white student with a perfect SAT score and included the line, "Feeling entitled to special benefits: pointless."

Black Student Union members say the cartoon gave an inaccurate impression of affirmative action, ignoring benefits to women and minorities other than blacks. They were also offended by its caricature of a black student: A large man, looking up and whistling in a carefree manner.

F for Effort

A Black History Month ad campaign by Nissan North America Inc. doesn’t dwell enough on history to suit the tastes of some African-Americans, reports AutoWeek magazine.

A billboard campaign in eight cities shows the words "Black History Month," with "History" crossed out and replaced by "Future." Critics say the campaign disrespects and ignores black history.

Glenda Gill of the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH coalition, for one, said she is offended.

"Replacing history with future sometimes can rest in the philosophy of those opposing the leveling of the playing field for African-Americans," Gill says. "I would have felt better had it said 'Black History is our past and our future.' This billboard is causing controversy, and it's not good for the company."

Shocked and Outraged

Copies of a financial aid newsletter distributed in California are being destroyed because a cartoon of a sombrero-sporting student working at "Taco Town" was offensive and derogatory to Latinos, reports The Sacramento Bee.

EdFund, a branch of the California Student Aid Commission, used the picture to illustrate a story about the importance of higher education. It was intended to humorously note the importance of limiting debt by working during college to help pay costs.

But Daisy Dalrymple, project director for the Fresno office of the California Student Opportunity and Access Program, said the message was stereotyping and portrayed the student in a negative light. "Everyone was shocked and outraged," she said.

Cross-wise

A concrete cross on the state fairgrounds in Oklahoma City, Okla., has been removed after a local man complained its presence there violated the ban on government endorsement of religion, reports The Oklahoman.

The cross at State Fair Park went unnoticed for decades -- indeed, no one seems to know why or when it was placed there -- until Jim Worrell of Oklahoma City and the Freedom from Religion Foundation in Madison, Wis., complained.

City Manager Jim Couch ordered the cross removed for fear of being sued.

Remembering the Alamo

Disney’s new film interpretation of the siege at the Alamo promises to avoid "jingoistic" and "patriotic" treatment of the story and instead strive for multi-cultural, inclusive balance, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Disney says it wants to make its Alamo a story of inclusiveness and human frailty, to portray Texas as a happy land where white and brown people lived together in harmony.

"We're making sure all viewpoints are expressed," said Disney Studios Chairman Richard Cook. "You have to stay away from the stereotypes and not make broad judgments of any group."

Disney appears to be hewing the line that the Texas revolution was about slavery, Crockett’s political ambitions and the colonists' "expansionist notions of Manifest Destiny."

Can't wait until next Monday for more snippets of politically correct nonsense? Head over to the daily edition of Tongue Tied at the Tongue Tied Web Site.

Mailbag:

Barb M. writes:

Excuse me if I don't feel sorry for the Sons of Confederate Veterans when they complain about a proposed statue of Abraham Lincoln in Richmond. Perhaps they forgot, but the confederacy lost the war. Lincoln as President of the victor nations gets to lord it over the conquered. To the "Sons," I say, "Get over it, and by God, get used to it. We are One Nation!"

Iko C. in Mobile, Ala., writes:

I do not understand how you couldn't see why the Sons of Confederate Veterans didn't want a statue of Lincoln in their state as PC. I also live in the South and am glad that there are no statues of him in my state. If you know of any, please inform me so that I may have the local chapter of SoCV start an effort to have them removed. My reasoning is that I do not believe Lincoln fought any war to free anyone. He fought it for money and power. Unfortunately, history is written by the victor.

Jacob W. in Austin, Texas, writes:

I am disappointed at the removal of the lunch with Governor Granholm off of their auction. If in fact the community of Mercy High School believes that abortion is wrong, there could not be a better change for one of them to tell the governor than at this lunch. A chance to meet a government official with whom you disagree is much more valuable than meeting one with whom you share values. Unfortunately, instead, the governor will see that most of the pro-life group is just as ignorant as the pro-murder side.

Chip P. writes:

Wait a minute here. A Catholic school has a lunch date with a pro-abortion politician as an auction item to raise money? People protest this, the school removes it from the auction, and you cite this as an example of "politically correct nonsense"? I usually agree with your examples, but citing this as one reveals a shocking disorientation between sense and nonsense on your part.

Devo B. in Washington, D.C., writes:

Trying to ban a book in a graduate level First Amendment course at NYU? Perhaps the National Association of Black Journalists should take the course and learn what the First Amendment is all about.

Robert G. in Las Vegas writes:

If the dentist in Colorado had used the word "Allah" instead of "God" it probably would have been acceptable with the radio station that was running his ad.

Robert C. in Birmingham, Ala., writes:

If this Southwest Airlines "sit down" rhyme case is won by these women I'll be forced to sue for every newspaper, television show and movie that has ever made fun of people of the South in any way. I figure if they can line their wallet then I should too!

Stuart S. of Bedford, Texas, writes:

So the RVs (Ross Volunteers) were mean and insensitive to the anti-war protesters? Many of the Ross Volunteers will serve in our nation's military and lay their lives on the line to protect the freedom of the anti-war protesters. Who is mean here -- people who voluntarily offer their life in exchange for protecting our freedoms, or self-centered protesters who do nothing to protect the rights of others?

Bob A. writes:

In response to your article on Fox News web site, I received this from Texas A&M: They were temporarily suspended, pending the investigation. The investigation found the corps technically not at fault. They have been reinstated.

Jeffrey P. of Geneva, N.Y., writes:

Maybe changing the title of "Ten Little Indians" seems a little bit overly PC, but it should be noted that the title of the Agatha Christie novel was changed to "And Then There Were None" from "Ten Little Indians," and, in fact, had originally been titled "Ten Little N-----s," where the "N-word" filled in those blanks. I think most people could agree that the play shouldn't be put on at a school under the original title. So there is a line to be drawn, and reasonable people may not exactly agree on where that should be.

Mike B. of Kingsland, Texas, writes:

Your's is nothing close to a legitimate news source, and of course you jokers know that. You've sold your souls to the greed and war mongers of this country. You're nothing more than a right-wing propaganda machine, and some of the most unpatriotic people in America. You want to be divisive? You want to fight half the world and 50 percent of your countrymen too? Fine with me. Bring it on, your fright-filled sissies.

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