The Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis removed a Christmas tree from the lobby of the school after some students and  faculty complained that it made them feel excluded, reports the Indianapolis Star.

Following the complaints, the tree was replaced with a neutral winter scene, inspired by Courier and Ives.

The excluded Christmas tree was decorated with folded fans made of maps of the world, lights and ornaments resembling world globes. It was intended to convey the "diversity and the identification of people everywhere," according to school officials.

Following pressure from students at the school, a less-exclusive display has been erected. The new display has two smaller trees, but they are unadorned.

Sacked for Insulting Binny Laden

A prison guard in Britain is in court claiming unfair dismissal after he was fired for insulting Usama bin Laden following the Sept. 11 attacks, possibly offending Muslims in the prison by his insensitive remarks, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Colin Rose, a guard at Blundeston Prison with an unblemished 21-year record in the department, says he threw some keys into a metal chute at the prison gatehouse in November of 2001. He was said to have remarked that he threw them so hard because a photo of bin Laden was at the bottom of the chute.

Peter McKinnon, another prison officer, told Rose to be quiet because two Asian women wearing headscarves and an Asian man were at the window of the gatehouse.

It was never determined whether the visitors heard the comment.

Tolerance on Campus

The first of a series of Diversity Lectures held at the University of Louisville in Kentucky brought the notoriously racist Sister Souljah to campus at a cost of more than $10,000, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal.

The speech, in which Ms. Souljah was reported to have berated white people for more than two hours, was paid for with a $50,000 contribution by Bank One. The bank donated the money as penance after some of its employees were caught handing out racist T-shirts on campus.

Her speech was part of an effort to bring to campus "thought-provoking speakers that would really give us some opportunity to engage in a dialogue on some difficult issues related to race and race relations," said Mordean Taylor-Archer, the school’s vice provost for diversity and equal opportunity.

And it did just that.

One student who attended said: "I came there for a diversity speech only to hear examples against white people. I had to sit there for two hours and listen to this speaker say nothing but hateful remarks. I felt hated."

But a university faculty member who attended a forum about the speech later said the university has a responsibility to place people in uncomfortable situations to help them grow.

Sister Souljah is famous for advocating, after the Los Angeles race riots several years ago, "war" against white people, including a special week set aside each year to kill white people. She says unapologetically that she wants what’s best for "her" people, and that "if my survival means your total destruction, then so be it."

More Michigamua Trouble

American Indian activists in Michigan have successfully put the kibosh on a student group’s use of "Native American symbols" in its activities because to do so is demeaning to their culture, reports the Michigan Daily.

Now, however, the activists want the student group -- Michigamua -- to change its name entirely because it sounds too much like a Native American word and is therefore disrespectful.

Michigamua, described as a senior recognition society, previously used to use drums, loincloths and headdresses, and take on Indian names, during their ceremonies. Its use of Indian symbols has been described as an "offensive and culturally destructive appropriation of Native American culture" by critics.

Art Attack

A library in Connecticut banned several paintings from an art show on its premises because the works in question included images of Jesus in religious settings, reports the Record-Journal.

The Meriden Public Library rejected works by local artist Mary Morley because they "portray a particular message," said library director Marcia Trotta. The art in question pictured the Crucifixion, Jesus carrying the cross and the Nativity.

Because the library is a taxpayer-funded public space, Trotta said, it can’t endorse the tenets of one faith over another.

Sanity Prevails (Barely)

Producers of a charity musical in California were so worried about a lawsuit on church-state grounds that they changed the words "God bless America" to "I Love the U.S.A." in a benefit show put on by a group of kiddies, reports the Ventura County Star.

Directors of the Cinemagic show benefiting the Pleasant Valley schools changed the language because the show was due to be performed at a local high school. The school district had nothing to do with the show other than providing a venue and receiving the proceeds for its band and chorus programs.

Only after parents raised hell was the language reverted to its original state. "It was a misguided attempt to be politically correct, and it has been rectified," said school board President Ron Speakman.

Adventures in Inclusiveness

A reader at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania forwards this e-mail, which went out to students and faculty there this week:

Subject: A Favor...

Date: Mon, 01 Dec 2003 08:55:12

From: Gene

Happy post-Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you all had a great break -- I have a favor to ask of you ... In order to be more transgender-inclusive, I would like to prepare a list of all bathrooms in campus buildings that are single stall AND have a lock -- this list would be made available on our Web site so that if an individual on campus is questioning their gender identity they will have a safe place to go to use the facilities. In the future it is my hope that we will be able to successfully lobby to have the signage changed on these bathrooms to say gender-neutral rather than man/woman.

In your normal travels over the next two weeks, please take a look at the public bathrooms -- e-mail me if you find any that meet our qualifications -- as of now, I only have down the two in Pandini's (the Italian Restaurant in the Upper UC Food Court Area).

Thank you in advance for helping me with this project -- If I don't see you between now and the Winter Break -- enjoy your holidays!

For a daily dose of politically correct shenanigans, head over to the Tongue Tied Web site.

Mailbag:

Robert P. writes:

Someone should tell the people who shut down "rickshaw racing" that they'd better go to Asia to shut down the richshaw industry that is thriving there. Ten ringit gets you half an hour or an hour tour of the historical areas of Penang, Malaysia.

Larry K. in Moon Twp., Pa., writes:

I myself am a Civil War buff and I don't care what side I study. It is a part of our history. I'm proud of these guys that go around showing what life was like back then and I hope they continue to do so.

As for the parade, the organizers should be ashamed of themselves. Forbidding these people from participating because of what they teach because it offends some people is an outrage beyond the scope of imagination.

Just because they represent the Confederation doesn't make them racist. We need to move beyond this sort of bickering and get back to the true meaning of out country that God gave us.

Bob W. writes:

I'm a rural white southerner (old trailer in the woods, five miles from Arp, Texas, near the Louisiana line). I think when the country finally decides to start recovering from the PC madness, rednecks will be the role model to follow. We love redneck BillyBob jokes, email them to each other, laugh as hard as anybody else at TV renditions of us as Neanderthals. I have yet to hear, even in private conversation, one of us southern rural whites complaining about being "offended" by the way we're depicted.

Steve G. in San Diego writes:

There is absolutely no "association between beauty and goodness and then conversely between ugliness and evil and laziness." The first version of Cinderella involving stepsisters comes from the Middle East, and even the "original" French version had the stepsisters as very attractive women.

Snow White is famous for "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the fairest one of all?" The association in these stories is that beauty and evil go together as easily as beauty and goodness. It's only through the heroine's virtue that she overcomes her adversity, not through her physical appearance.

Snow White has existed as a teaching lesson in societies for hundreds of years, and Cinderella for thousands of years. Because some inept researchers made a conclusion without taking the full story into account is no reason to try to get rid of stories that are classics in numerous civilizations.

Let them attack "The Bachelor," "The Bachelorette," or "Survivor." Society does better with Snow White and Cinderella than it ever will watching desperate people talk about each other and eat bugs.

Troy P. writes:

Regarding the ‘obvious’ undertones surrounding the phrase "Master/Slave" in the IT industry; we’d better think of new ways of describing/marketing "Male/Female" cable connections (so as not to construe sexual connotations) and bi-polar as a description in electronics (so as not to offend those with mental health challenges). What about the resistor color code, where the black stripe means zero and the white stripe means nine! How did that one slip by?

And will we ever get over the counseling needed after reading the "Insert tab A into Slot C" directions on cardboard toy assembly instructions?

Will C. writes:

I am an American intern working in the Scottish Parliament. I am a frequent enjoyer of your column, however, I thought that I should correct a bit of misinformation. The Scottish press reported that all Christmas Cards did not contain the word Christmas, when in actuality there were two versions of the Cards one saying "Merry Christmas," and the other saying "Seasons Greetings."

Perennial fan Jim M. in Lynchburg, Va., writes:

I can't help but feel when I read your attempt at writing an article that you would have made a great southern Democrat, say before 1964. You would see lots of people marching with gray uniforms and white ones.

You would have fit right in.

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