Researchers have decided that age-old fairy tales such as Cinderella (search) and Snow White (search) contain so many stereotypes that they are just as harmful to children’s psyches as the misogynist, violent, drug-addled videos of current popular culture.
The Press Association reports that researchers in America found that the tales passed down since the 1800s put too much emphasis on physical beauty and could harm kids’ self-esteem as a result.
"There is a lot of association between beauty and goodness and then conversely between ugliness and evil and laziness," said study co-author Liz Grauerholz.
Grauerholz tells HealthDayNews that parents should change the stories. Tell Cinderella to your child as if she were male. Or change the ending so she decides the prince wasn't right for her after all and lived happily ever after by making her own life.
For the past 12 years, members of the Second Confederate War Between the States re-enactment group have marched in the city’s annual Celebration of Lights Christmas Parade. This year, they were told they were not welcome.
The re-enactors spend the rest of the year going around to schools showing young children what life was like for soldiers in the 1860s. The president of the group, Harry Robertson, lamented the city’s decision, saying: "We are not racist. We are not the Klan. We are a heritage preservation organization."
Insensitive and Insulting
Lehman Brothers was being "insensitive and insulting" when one of its officials suggested -- following disclosures that it had ties to slavery when it was legal -- that "the Lehman Brothers in the 1850s is not the company that it is today," reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
A Chicago alderman, Dorothy Tillman, wants Carole Brown, a senior vice president of Lehman Brothers, to resign her post as chairwoman of the Chicago Transit Authority. Tillman demanded that Brown apologize for allowing herself to be used to "sanitize the reputation of a company built on the backs of her own people," as the Sun-Times put it.
In an affidavit filed in connection with its role as co-senior manager of a $145 million O'Hare Airport bond issue, Lehman Brothers admitted that the three brothers who founded the firm's predecessor in Montgomery, Ala., in 1850 purchased a female slave named Martha four years later. Historical records also suggest that the brothers "may have personally owned other slaves," the company stated.
The European Union shelved a report it commissioned on anti-Semitism in member states because it pointed out that Muslims were behind many of the attacks, reports the Daily Telegraph.
The Vienna-based European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) opted not to publish the 112-page study after clashing with its authors over their conclusions.
The focus on Muslim and pro-Palestinian perpetrators was deemed too inflammatory by EU officials, who wanted the report’s authors to soften their conclusions about young Muslims in Europe.
A "Conservative Coming Out Day" at Pennsylvania State University was denounced ahead of time as hateful because the phrase mocks an annual gay rights event and alienates members of that community on campus, reports the Collegian.
Sponsored by the Penn State College Republicans, the event was intended to show how marginalized political conservatives feel on campus. One student told the rally how an English teacher introduced herself on the first day of class by saying, "I hate Republicans."
Gay rights groups on campus expressed concern about the language on fliers advertising the event, saying the conservatives’ pledge to "come out of the closet" mocked their own struggles for freedom and justice.
Leaders of the Baptist Convention of New England scuppered an annual Rickshaw Rally event at its vacation Bible school after Asian American groups complained that the content was racially offensive, reports the Baptist Press.
The rally is a race that has kids race through an obstacle filled with Asian imagery. They stop at various spots along the way to study the Bible and collect prizes.
Jim Wideman, executive director of BCNE, said a mistake was made with the theme. "Asian Americans in New England have found this theme focusing on the rickshaw to be insensitive and to be a poor representation of Asian culture. Some have found it highly offensive."
One complainer, Robert Parham of the Baptist Center for Ethics, told the Nashville Tennessean that the Rickshaw Rally "represents yet another example of the moral blindness that insults a racial group and seeks to make a profit off of prejudice."
Legends Come to Life
We avoided it at first because it sounded too much like an urban legend, but a report that Los Angeles County has barred IT contractors from using the terms "Master/Slave" on their computer equipment in order to preserve cultural sensitivity appears to be true.
The estimable Snopes Web site tracked a memo from Los Angeles’ Internal Services Department earlier this month telling contractors to "ensure that any equipment, supplies or services that are provided to County departments do not possess or portray an image that may be construed as offensive or defamatory in nature."
One such offense is apparently use of the computing term Master/Slave, which Snopes says is a "term commonly used in computing (and related industries) to describe the unidirectional control of one device or process by another."
Things are worse than we thought.
For a daily dose of politically correct shenanigans, head over to the Tongue Tied Web site.
Debora W. in Montgomery, Ala., writes:
Students have to be counseled because they heard a racial slur? Duh, what is on television? Perhaps it is the institutions of higher learning that produce these "I am a victim" morons. Grow up!
Christopher B. in Virginia Beach, Va., writes:
It is a little disconcerting to see that a rape victims' "speech" regretting her abortion is taking a back seat to paternalistic students' concern for her "revictimization." Their intrusive benevolence insists it knows better than she does how she should be feeling. It is clear that what these arrogant sophists are really concerned about is the continued regret of women who have had abortions, and this poster reminds women that abortion does not solve problems.
These paternalistic liberal moralists are so transparent that we can actually see their bleeding hearts.
Len. M. writes:
I am getting sick of my children coming home form school day after day complaining about how the black kids can use whatever language they want, (including) white racial slurs, and the teachers ignore it. I am fixing to bring down the house at the very next occurrence, bring this event before the school board and charge the school with tolerating racism. I teach my children to never use the "N" word and not to use color as a reference, but I am sick of this garbage that the white kids must endure. The black kids call each other "nigger" with each sentence and my kids are confused, at a very young age, why (it's OK for blacks to use the word, but not whites.) If the black race wants this word removed, they must themselves do it also. By not doing it, they themselves are promoting the separation of the races.
Stephanie B. writes:
The book "The Man Who Would Be Queen" by J. Michael Bailey is based on extremely objectionable research methods. Bailey did not use any type of random sampling. His entire study population was centered in one city and made up of a few volunteers who all worked as prostitutes.
Whether or not you agree with his conclusions, he needs to take a remedial statistics course. Condoning shoddy research of any kinds weakens your message.
Bill D. in Los Angeles writes:
Now, first graders aren't even safe. If adults want to screw things up for each other, fine, but please leave the kids out of it. Prohibiting children from dressing as Pilgrims and Indians is an attempt to re-write history and be politically correct.
Kyle C. writes:
Has the fortitude of the American citizen degraded to the point that even some semblance of ethnic reference sends us running for therapy, or worse yet, a lawyer? It would seem so. If fourth graders can't dress up as Indians and Pilgrims for a Thanksgiving lesson without causing a frenzy among Native American groups, there's something desperately wrong.
Come to think of it, I'm of Irish descent. Perhaps I can put a stop to St. Patrick's Day. All the images of leprechauns drinking beer are highly disparaging to my heritage. Maybe we could lobby our congressmen to outlaw all forms of reference to ethnicity, gender or physical appearance... or better yet, we could all just get over it!