A Florida city that tried to hold a celebrity slave auction to raise money for a downtown revitalization effort had to stop the event after local black leaders took offense with the idea, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

Leesburg, Fla., spokeswoman Marilyn Davenport printed up fliers promising that "The Slave you buy (at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast) will provide drinks and dinner!"

T.H. Poole, president emeritus of the local NAACP (search ), said such cultural insensitivity could have major consequences for race relations in the city.

"You raise oppression up to a people who were oppressed for 200 years, and you're going to make a joke out of it? There's a difficulty in viewing how they thought that up," Poole said. "It seems simple. But it's a trouble-maker."

'Esteemed Guests' Maybe?

The head of an Atlanta-based political action committee says the term "illegal immigrant" is as offensive a slur to Latinos as the n-word is to African-Americans, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"I can't speak for other immigrant groups," says Jerry Gonzalez, head of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (search ), "but on behalf of the Latino community, many people I speak to on a day-to-day basis think it serves to dehumanize the person, makes them less than human. Similar to the way the n-word was used to dehumanize African-Americans."

Gonzalez says he plans to lobby state lawmakers to use the term "undocumented workers" when talking about Mexicans and other foreigners here illegally.

The Centers for Immigration Studies in Washington traces the preferred term to the Carter-era Immigration and Naturalization Service (search). "People wanted a P.C. word that downplayed the illegality of illegal immigration," says Mark Krikorian, the center's executive director.

Cheering the Holiday

Officials at a school district in Tennessee have bucked the national trend and officially renamed their mid-winter break "Christmas vacation," reports the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

The board of Shelby County schools didn’t say much about it, but it unanimously approved the change to the 2004-2005 school calendar. Board member Joe Clayton, who proposed the move, said: "This is Christmas break. I get offended when I see that pushed to the background."

A couple of local non-Christians described themselves as aghast, and the ACLU was apoplectic.

"They're now on record as being totally insensitive to the religious diversity in the community," said Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee.

Demeaned Schizos

Psychiatrists in Greece are infuriated over the title of a "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" remake, the title of which translates to "The Schizophrenic Chainsaw Killer" in Greek, because they say it insults people suffering from the disease, reports Reuters.

"The title has no relation to the English title, the protagonist of the movie is not suffering from schizophrenia and so it is insulting and demeaning to those suffering from it," the heads of three psychiatric groups in Athens said in a joint statement.

"The Greek title reproduces the stereotype that everyone suffering from schizophrenia is violent and dangerous."

Dubious Honors

Public schools in Nashville, Tenn., have stopped posting honor rolls because to do so might make underachievers feel bad, reports The Associated Press.

After a couple of parents complained that their children might be ridiculed for not making the list, lawyers for the school district said releasing the honor rolls might violate privacy laws.

In an apparent snowball effect, some schools have since put a stop to academic pep rallies and decided not to hang exemplary work in the hallways for fear of embarrassing even more underachievers. There’s even talk of canceling spelling bees.

Womb-less Women?

The South Carolina branch of the NAACP is under fire for a MLK Day commemorative service that featured speech deemed insensitive to homosexuals and transgendered people, reports The State.

During the speech, Dr. Sheila Koger of Columbia’s Bethlehem Baptist Church said that transgendered people confuse children and that the Bible doesn’t condone homosexuality. "God said in the beginning he created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve," Koger said.

"If you don’t got a womb, then you’re a man."

In a statement released later, the NAACP said her comments do not represent the group.

"The remarks by Dr. Sheila Koger regarding sexual preference did not represent the views of the NAACP and were inappropriate during a service designed to bring together the various sectors of the community," the statement said.

Peeved Peckerhead

A red-headed dude in New Zealand successfully convinced the advertising standards board there that an ad featuring a sexually aggressive carrot-top was demeaning to his kind, reports the Australian Associated Press.

C. Irwin complained to the board after sitting through an ad featuring a ginger-headed student misinterpreting his teacher's praise for a new rum-based drink called Coruba Ginja and "romantically lunging" at her.

The board was unanimous in its view that the commercial caused widespread offense to red-headed males despite its humorous intent.

Mr. Irwin said, "The advertisement will add to the atmosphere of denigration that currently exists in New Zealand towards red-headed males and I am sick of dealing with the repercussions of such ill-thought out humor."

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

Mailbag:

Bob M. writes:

I’m sure that eventually, "Cheese Nips" will be forced to change their name.

Brad J. in Minnesota writes:

I find it hilarious that the people that defended free speech so much in the 60s and 70s are now the same people who whine about anything that is said. Welcome to Ironic USA, land of the new liberal, where your views are not freedom of speech.

Hugh M. writes:

I thought maybe what was described in "I Have a Dream" had never happened anywhere else. I was in high school 10 years ago with an African born student who was not considered "African-American" because of her white skin. Then, as a young Marine, I served with a corporal who was born and raised in Kenya. He had pictures and everything to prove it. However, whenever "African-American" anything came up, he was not acknowledged because he was a white guy with red hair.

But the really ironic thing is, since that time, I have served with three Marines from Africa, all black, and none of them call themselves "African-American." They actually got offended when the touchy feely types told them that's what they need to call themselves. You know what they called themselves? Here's a shocker... "Americans."

Kris J. writes:

The professor should be ridiculed for what he wrote. Equivocating the ownership of a gun, which is a voluntary purchase, to a human organ, with which a person is born, is pure stupidity. A person who purchases a gun is a potential murderer -- along with being a potential hero, a potential mother or father and/or a potential voter. The lady’s comment was just a political statement that was nothing but pure hyperbole (as in an exaggeration that is used for emphasis or effect). The professor's response was downright rude and obnoxious. Any comment he made should not have been a personal comment but a valid one that dealt with the issue.

Christopher W. in Iowa writes:

Something seems very wrong to me when students are punished for promoting probably the only true "African-American" in the entire school. If the award is supposed to go only toward black students, then it should be called the "Distinguished Black Student Award" instead of the "Distinguished African American Student Award."

William W. writes:

Do you really get paid just to hype up these crappy little stories I see on your page? Have a bit of self respect. You sad little man.

 

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