A British television commentator who used the phrases "suicide bombers, limb-amputators and women repressors" in reference to Arabs is becoming a cause-celebre for free speech after being suspended from his job at the BBC because of the comments, reports ITV.

In a column published Jan. 4 in London’s Sunday Express, Robert Kilroy-Silk also lashed out at Arab extremists who murdered 3,000 civilians on Sept. 11 and "danced in the hot, dusty streets" afterward.

The BBC immediately suspended him from his daily BBC-TV chat show following complaints from Muslim groups.

Kilroy-Silk apologized for any offense taken, but Britain’s Commission for Racial Equality nevertheless said it would refer the article to police in case it incited race hate and violated public order laws.

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Kilroy-Silk asserted his right to speak his mind. 

"If I am not allowed to say that there are Arab states that are evil, despotic and treat women abominably, if I am not allowed to say that, which I know to be a fact, then what can I say?" he said.

Steakhouse Slur

A lone activist is leading a crusade to change the name of a 55-year-old steakhouse near Philadelphia because she says it is demeaning to Asians, reports the News Gleaner.

Chink's Steaks, a local landmark in Wissinoming, Pa., is under attack from Susannah Park, of West Philadelphia, who says that regardless of its origins the name is a slur and must be changed.

The owner of Chink’s, Joseph Groh, is baffled. He says the name was passed down to him by the founder Samuel "Chink" Sherman, who died in 1997.

"Why now?" Groh wondered. "We have been here for 50 years."

Disallowed Criticism

Columnist and TV pundit Robert Novak is being excoriated as a racist for suggesting that voting irregularities occurred on a South Dakota reservation during the 2002 midterm elections, reports Native Times. Speaking on CNN’s "Crossfire," Novak said there were some "serious voting irregularities" that helped U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson win a close election in 2002 against challenger John Thune.

"In 2002, Thune would have been elected to the state's other Senate seat, but the election was stolen by stuffing ballot boxes on the Indian reservations," Novak said.

A statement from Sen. Tom Daschle’s office called the comments "unfair, offensive, and malicious."

"Mr. Novak's comments about the Natives in South Dakota were unbelievably crude and derogatory. It is hard to believe that a racist statement -- such as ‘the election was stolen by stuffing ballot boxes on the Indian reservations’ would be made at all, much less by a journalist," said South Dakota Democratic Party Chairwoman Judy Olson Duhamel. She called on Novak and CNN to apologize.

Dining Dilemma

A British police official’s warning that officers should shy away from eating street food at a Sikh festival in London because "their hygiene standards are not as high as ours" was deemed racist and insensitive, reports the Guardian.

The officer reportedly warned her colleagues not to eat food prepared by temples involved in the Guru Nanak procession in west London because an officer had previously eaten there and fallen ill. The officer who gave the warning is now under investigation for making "inappropriate comments."

Suresh Grover of something called The Monitoring Group said the comment smacks of racism.

"This is very serious because issues of religious identity and respect for religion are crucial," he said.

So Much for Sensitivity

A California high school student who penned an article for his school paper calling for a crackdown on illegal immigration says he has constantly been harassed ever since and the faculty there ignore his pleas, reports the Washington Times.

Tim Bueler, founder of the Rancho Cotate High School’s new Conservative Club, says he has been called a racist and a Nazi for his views. Some teachers have started a public campaign to have his club disbanded and stood by while Hispanic students threatened and harassed him.

"The teacher told him, 'When you say things like that, you've got to expect that things like this are going to happen,’" said Tim’s father, Dennis Bueler.

One teacher called his group "a bunch of bigots" and another called on students to "take a stand against the neoconservative wing-nuts who call themselves Americans."

Sleeping Dog or History's Tapestry?

Race-baiters are in a twit over publication of a new version of the classic "The Story of Little Black Sambo" and a positive review of it in one publication, saying the book is hurtful and has no redeeming social value, reports The Associated Press.

The prestigious Kirkus Reviews selected the re-release as one of its editors’ picks for 2003, saying "The most controversial children's picture book in history is richly resurrected with truly sumptuous illustrations in a gorgeous oversized format." Kirkus said the illustrator "replaces the stereotypical" and champions "a handsome, tawny-skinned Sambo."

But Richard Yarborough, associate professor of English and faculty research associate with the Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA, questioned the need for the remake.

"Why try to salvage it? What do we gain by trying to refashion and salvage that text?" Yarborough asked.

The story was written in 1899 by the wife of a Scottish medical officer stationed in India. It tells the tale of a "little black" boy who outwits a group of tigers bent on devouring him.

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

Mailbag:

Linda C. writes:

The claim by the multicultural PC crowd that they are seeking not to offend anyone is laughable. What they really mean to say is they don`t want to offend anyone who isn't Christian!

Jeffrey C. in Syracuse, N.Y., writes:

I’m baffled why people can not understand why our forefather wanted the separation of church and state. Silly and excessive complaints about religious symbols is a small price to pay for true freedom. Those who argue differently are missing the point. When it’s your home, your money, your property do as you please, but when the government is involved it has to be neutral. And please do not argue that taxes are "our" money because that’s a whole other issue stolen to give away the government's money to the rich.

K. Smith in Houston, Texas, writes:

As a pagan, I can honestly say that Christmas does not offend me, and I am of the opinion that people are now LOOKING for ways to be offended. There are so many other things to worry about in this world. I would love to have no other problems in my life than the fact that someone is putting up decorations that don't follow my religion!

Michael L. writes:

Lord of the Rings? Racist? Oh please. You can see racism anywhere if you look hard enough and talk yourself into believing it. When all you have to work with is a hammer, pretty soon everything starts to look like a nail.

Patricia S. writes:

I don't understand why you're taking the trouble to comment about someone's opinion that the Lord of the Rings is racist. Are you saying that he shouldn't be allowed to express that opinion? Was he proposing censoring the movie? Not that I can tell.

If he wasn't proposing censorship, then what is your purpose in publicly criticizing an opinion of an individual which the individual is allowed to hold legally? It's his right to call Lord of the Rings racist. Do you think he should not have that right? That's the impression you've given.

I don't get you people. You seem to be against censorship, but not really. You're mainly against anyone who expresses an opinion you don't like. You're hypocrites.

Steven B. writes:

I’m really trying to get the purpose behind your article "New Read on 'Rings,' Double Standard on Slurs." As far as I can tell, Lloyd Hart is merely one of the many ideologues found on the internet with little relevance and few (if any) adherents. 

Indymedia itself seems only vaguely more influential. Why grant them credibility when they have none to begin with?

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