Officials at the University of Arizona (search) are warning students once again this year not to toss tortillas at the graduation ceremony because to do so might be interpreted as racist, reports The Daily Wildcat.

And this time they really mean it.

Administrators have been trying to stop students from throwing tortillas for a couple years now with little success. This year, school President Pete Likins has sent out a formal letter to the class of 2003 stating why tortilla flinging is inappropriate. Likins has said tortilla throwing harbors undertones of racism, and can be offensive to both students and guests. He says the floury fliers can also be dangerous. Corn ones can be even worse.

Exoticism?

A group of sociology students at the University of California in Santa Barbara say that a Chevy’s (search) restaurant promotion in which sombreros were handed out to fans attending a basketball game is demeaning to Chicanos and perpetuates cultural stereotypes, according to the Daily Nexus.

The ad for the promotion, the students write in an op-ed piece, “reiterates to us the cluelessness with which people around UCSB engage in activities involving exoticism, racism and cultural exploitation.”

The pair is also irritated by the university mascot, the Gaucho, and are proposing that it be changed to Gavacho, a derogatory Spanish slang term for white people.

They write, “some of you reading this might be immediately tempted to dismiss our commentary as some 'PC' reaction to what you might perceive as a rather harmless appropriation of Mexican culture.”

And they would be right.

Trends in Discrimination

ABC News has discovered a new ism lurking dangerously beneath the surface of American society and cites the case of the 420-pound guy spurned from a job at McDonald's (search) as proof.

The fat guy’s case, warns ABC, “is just one of a series of recent cases where workers took legal action against their employer or prospective employer for allegedly discriminating against them or others based on their appearance.”

ABC dubs the new evil “lookism.”

'Flip-Flops of Shame'

A supermarket chain in Denmark was forced to stop selling a line of flip-flop sandals featuring images of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary after an outcry about them, reports the BBC.

The chain took the measure after Christian demonstrators of Middle Eastern origin stormed one of its stores and destroyed the "flip-flops of shame" that they said "trample all over" their faith. A Catholic priest also filed blasphemy charges against the chain.

"It was never our intention to offend people's beliefs, but apparently that was the case, and we were surprised by the scale of these protests. That is why we have chosen to remove them from the shelves," said Jens Juul Nielsen, a spokesman for the Coop chain that owns the Kvickly (search) store selling the sandals.

Southern Discomfort

The Robert E. Lee Council of the Boy Scouts of America (search) in Richmond, Va., voted this weekend to change its name later this year for reasons that should by now be obvious to all, reports the Freelance-Star.

Scout Executive Robert Tuggle said the decision “has nothing to do with the character of Robert E. Lee of people’s opinions of him” but is instead an effort to make the council more inclusive and sensitive to potential members who may be offended by the memory of Robert E. Lee (search).

The council has some 20,000 members in the Richmond area.

Sheets. That's Much Better

Managers at a Radisson hotel in Virginia covered two paintings in the lobby because they contained images of Civil War battles with the Stars and Bars and might offend attendees of a judicial conference there, reports The Daily Press.

The Radisson Fort Magruder Hotel and Conference Center in James City, Va., which is named for a nearby Confederate fort and is decorated in a Civil War theme, agreed to hide the images at the request of a group of judges and court officials from Washington, D.C.

They covered the paintings of battle scenes containing images of the Confederate battle flag with sheets for the duration of the conference.

"As part of the contract, we asked that there wouldn't be any Confederate-flag images in the main area," said Leah H. Gurowitz, a spokesperson for the District of Columbia Courts.

Unloading on The Matrix

Albino activists are irked because the bad guys in the new Matrix Reloaded movie are fair-skinned and unfairly stereotype pigment-challenged folks, reports MSNBC.com.

“Filmmakers have used albino characters as villains, and they’re almost always vicious, inhuman characters, depicted as freaks,” complained dermatologist Vail Reese, keeper of the skinema.com Web site.

Dr. Jim Haefemeyer of the National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation tells Janette Walls that the group has sent letters to movie-maker Warner Bros., but that the studio has not responded.

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:

Clark B. in North Adams, Mass., writes:

I'm happy to report that the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, which initially refused to let the History and Political Science Clubs hold a pig roast for fear of offending vegetarians, has reversed its decision due to student protest and wide-spread publicity.

Although the students were not allowed to roast a whole pig — complete with an apple in its mouth — the event went off successfully on Wednesday May 14.

Matthew K. writes:

Why has it become a tradition to demand a politician "step down" for speaking his mind? Where has it been said that a politician cannot have views that may offend someone? Why would we want to live in a country where an elected official cannot speak his or her mind?

Peter B. in Houston writes:

One day no mascot will reflect anything Native American, no songs will refer to Native Americans, no emblems or trademarks will resemble anything Native American, all text books will avoid references to Native Americans for fear of being banned and no products will bear Native American names to avoid risk of boycott. The self-appointed masters of political correctness will win their battle, and there will be no possible risk of anyone being offended by the slightest of reference to the original inhabitants of America.

Meanwhile, an elderly woman on her death bed, who is a direct ancestor of a noble Sioux leader, will tell her great-granddaughter, "Live your life so that you'll never be ashamed, and always be proud that you are a Native American." Then the young girl will look back into the matriarch's tired eyes and ask, "What's a native American?"

Raymond T. writes:

I am familiar with the jet that has stood in front of the high school in Alameda. My son worked there, and after my retirement from military service I served as legal counsel to the City of Alameda. The school is on the same highway as the main entrance to the former Navy base, which for 50 years was the home port to aircraft carriers like the Enterprise and the Abraham Lincoln (yes, the same one that President Bush landed on). The A4 is part of the history of the community, which includes thousands of people who worked there as military members or civilians, and deserves to be preserved and honored as such.

The plane itself does not symbolize "violence" any more than the police cars that patrol the highway in front of the school. Rather, it is a symbol of the duty, honor and sacrifice of the men and women who guard America from its enemies, and of Alameda City's role in supporting them through the Naval Air Station during the course of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the 1991 Gulf War.

The notion that Southeast Asian students feel bad when they see it is poppycock. Those students are Americans now because many of their fathers and grandfathers fought alongside the American forces in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. When their fathers saw an A4, they knew it was the Good Guys coming to help defend them.

Lori S. writes:

I am an American citizen currently living in China, and I must say, columns such as this make me depressed about returning to the U.S. In fact, I may have to stop reading this column. I don't know if I can stand anymore ridiculous stories of how people have been offended. Don't these PC people have more important things to worry about than how they may be offended by what other people are doing? Get over it.

Joe B. writes:

I have watched X-Men 2 three times, and, until I read this article, I never even noticed that the main bad guy's ring said "Allah" on it. No one else I know that saw the movie noticed the ring, I asked. I'm quite certain that 95 percent of the people that watch the film don't notice either, 4.5 percent more notice, but don't care, and 0.5 percent notice, and take massive offense, therefore making sure that the rest of the public does notice, and still doesn't care. I'm offended that Project Islamic HOPE thinks that Americans are so stupid that they would get a racist attitude from a 3 second shot of a ring in a movie.

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