Dangerous Drawings, Calendar Conundrums

Dormitories at Stanford University in California have restricted student publications' access to the residences because some Latino students were offended by a recent column comparing the Mexican student group MEChA to the Ku Klux Klan, reports the Stanford Daily.

In an editorial titled "MEChA: Social Justice Group or KKK?" The Stanford Review called the Chicano student group Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan "a racist organization that advocates revolution and segregation," dubbing it "the modern-day Ku Klux Klan of Chicanos."

Members of the group said the characterization hurt their feelings and was libelous. Following the fracas, staffers at two dorms decided to prohibit student publications from slipping copies under residents' doors. Those groups must now leave publications at dorms' main entrances.

Dangerous Drawing

A 14-year-old student in New Jersey was suspended from school for five days for drawing a stick figure of a U.S. Marine shooting a Taliban fighter, reports the New York Post.

Scott Switzer was sent home from Tinton Falls Middle School after a teacher saw the image and reported it to the principal. The boy's father is serving as a Navy engineer aboard the USS Detroit (search) in the Persian Gulf. His stepfather is also in the military. Tinton Falls school superintendent Leonard Kelpsh called the drawing "highly inappropriate."

Irony Alert

Britain's BBC has fired one of its radio presenters because her voice sounded too upper-class at a time when the broadcaster wants more voices of color on the air, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Zenab Ahmed, who describes herself as half Pakistani and half English, said she was removed from her post as a newsreader on BBC radio's World Service because she sounded "too posh." Ahmed says the World Service is on a mission to sound classless. Her accent was described as being associated with a white, middle-class demographic.

The BBC said its decision to cease employing Ms. Ahmed "had nothing to do with her accent."

Calendar Conundrum

School officials in Sarasota County, Fla., are pushing a new all-secular holiday calendar for district schools in order to avoid appearing insensitive to people of certain faiths, reports the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Because of the diversity of faiths in the community, recognizing the holy days of all religions would put the school system in a bind so school officials have opted to get rid of 'em all.

The latest to go is the traditional Good Friday holiday. Earlier, the school calendar changed the name of the Christmas vacation to "winter break."

The G-Word

The American atheist who wants to bar kids from saying the Pledge of Allegiance because it includes the phrase "under God" tells United Press International that he has only just begun his efforts to remove the G-word from public life.

Michael Newdow (search), an emergency room physician and lawyer, has already sued over the pledge, references to Jesus in presidential inaugural ceremonies and the use of chaplains in the U.S. House and Senate.

Future targets, Newdow promises, include the national motto "In God We Trust," its inscription on money and singing songs such as "God Bless America" at any event on government property or at government-sponsored events.

Where's the Outrage?

An NFL player who made a wisecrack about an opposing player's penchant for watermelon and fried chicken was "just being funny," reports the San Diego Union-Tribune.

When Miami Dolphin Junior Seau was asked by reporters how he planned to stop former teammate LaDainian Tomlinson, an African-American, on the field during a game, he reportedly said, "Just kind of give him a couple of watermelons, load him up with some fried chicken and just say, you know, 'Keep eating.'"

Seau said there were no racial overtones to his comments. Former teammate Marcellus Wiley said: "I'm sure it was harmless. Junior has that side of him that we know and unfortunately maybe America doesn't know. He's not the new Rush Limbaugh, I don't think."


Carlone D. writes re the Humpty Dumpty item:

The so-called "nursery rhymes" were not intended for children at all. They were political satire aimed at the aristocracy in Europe. Humpty Dumpty was a fat (circumferentially-challenged, metabolically-challenged?) king who fell from power. There was no term for "politically incorrect" at the time, but that was what the joksters wanted to be.

Jennifer L. writes:

I am so sorry that our children have to go through life walking on eggshells for the sake of being politically correct instead of being able to express themselves. Rebellion in youth is a natural stage of life. Our kids are being told daily all the things you cannot say, what you are not allowed to do, or how you can not act in public because it might offend someone in the slightest way. 

Why are we so surprised our kids are rebelling in the worst ways possible ways with drugs, murder or worse? People need to stop being so uptight and stop thinking only of themselves. If something offends you, remove yourself from the situation. There is a great big world out there and it doesn't revolve around one single person. Lighten up already.
Richard R. writes:

I lost my leg to cancer when I was 11. I'm in my late forties now, and let me tell you this country provides more understanding and accommodation to its disabled than just about anywhere else in the world. Try traveling around the world with a pronounced limp.

If people in wheelchairs can't get into a public building, that's an issue. If a blind person can't get a home loan because he or she is blind, that's an issue. But if one person in 10,000 feels a remark shows bad taste, that's not an issue. And it is definitely not grounds for throwing far too much money away on the cost of sensitivity training.

Tom in Sarasota writes:

What is really too bad is that you manage to pick through articles and present them in a way to disparage those that are merely trying to be sensitive to other peoples feelings. Yes, they sometimes go overboard. Yes, it means some of the things we have taken for granted have to be re-evalutated. But I am sick and tired of all the whiney responses about how we are losing all our rights to protect the sensitivities of the few.

No one is taking away any rights. Most comments about improving political correctness are real attempts to do good, which only occasionally go too far. These are brought up by people trying to do the right thing, whereas your motives, and your entire organization's motives, are the ones that are truley suspect. Ninety percent of the items you list in order to poke fun at them are indeed insensitive and need to be changed.

Give me someone trying to do the right thing and failing any day over someone like you and most at Fox whose goal is only to be contrarian and divisive, feeding off the prejudices and fears of the majority just to sell papers or get some otherwise undeserved news space.

Go get a real job.

Judy T. writes:

I certainly agree that James Baskett was a talented man and his soulful renditions in Song of the South was why he was awarded an HONORARY Oscar by the Academy, not one voted on by his peers as they have since. Sidney Poitier was actually the first African-American to win the Academy Award.

Tom N. writes:

Just a note concerning the availability of Disney's "Song of the South." Disney is currently marketing this movie in Europe. I guess it flies below the P.C. radar over there. Our daughter gave it to us for Christmas last year. She purchased it from a company she found on the internet that buys a legal copy in Europe and copies it to the VHS format for use in the U.S. 

Rick W. in Bullard, Texas, writes:

It seems every time someone is offended by someone else, the article ends with the offending parties apologizing and "attend diversity re-education seminars" or "undergo cultural sensitivity indoctrination." It seems the U.S. is beginning to look more like the old Soviet Union, China or other socialist countries who send people to re-education or indoctrination classes as punishment for not sharing the views of the state.
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