The city of New Orleans' new planning commissioner walked away from his job following complaints that he used a racist statement on his first day, reports the Times-Picayune.

During his first meeting with staffers, Verl Emrick said he intended "to grab the tar baby by the ears and jump right in" on his new work. Some staff members said they were offended by the remark and went crying to the office of Mayor Ray Nagin.

Hate Mongery

A Maryland state legislator who forwarded his eighth-grade nephew's analysis on why Islam can be a violent religion to colleagues via his work computer is being called a hate monger, reports the Baltimore Sun.

Donald H. Dwyer Jr. distributed an essay titled "Is Islam Really Peaceful?" to 187 of his colleagues in the state house. The essay cited Islamic scripture to make a case that the religion is not peaceful. Within two hours of sending out the note, fellow Sen. Sharon M. Grosfeld wrote back calling the e-mail an "inappropriate" message that "perpetuates hateful stereotypes at a time when building bridges is necessary."

"I suggest that rather than trying to shield yourself, you keep your nephew's and your discriminatory diatribe to yourself," she said.

Seyed Rizwan Mowlana of the state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called the email alarming. "Sending this out as an elected official, it becomes conduct unbecoming. He used the legislative e-mails, my taxpayer money, to send his hate out," Mowlana said.

Racist Right-Wingery

The head of Britain's race-relations commission has been branded a racist right-winger for suggesting that multiculturalism is failing and the country should strive toward more common values, reports the Observer.

Trevor Phillips, head of the Commission for Racial Equality, said in a newspaper interview that "multiculturalism suggests separateness" and that the U.K. should strive towards a more homogeneous culture with "common values ... the common currency of the English language, honoring the culture of these islands, like Shakespeare and Dickens."

The idea of imposing British values on the country's different racial groups was likened by one MP, Keith Vaz, to the work of Christian missionaries.

"Britishness cannot be imposed on people of different races, cultures and religions," he said. "In Britain's multicultural society differences are celebrated, not exploited."

Security = Racism

Lawyers in Texas said landlords there who require non-citizens to fill out an extra form with questions about their immigration status are discriminating against those applicants, reports the San Antonio Express News.

The form, introduced by the Texas Apartment Association two months after the Sept. 11 attacks, is dubbed the "supplemental rental application for non-U.S. citizens" and is intended to help property managers clamoring for ways to help boost national security and maintain financial piece of mind.

But some immigrant advocates say the forms are racist.

Paul Parsons, an Austin lawyer and chairman of the Texas State Bar's immigration committee, wrote a letter a month ago asking the TAA to do away with the form, equating its use to biased housing practices. Parsons says landlords shouldn't be enforcers of immigration laws.

April Fools

The University of Nebraska at Omaha student newspaper is in hot water for an April Fools Day issue that included "racial stereotyping" and generally offended the NAACP, the Urban League and Omaha Public Schools, reports the Omaha World Herald.

The Gateway apologized to its readers for a spoof edition dubbed The Ghettoway that was wrapped around the paper's normal issue March 30.

"Through headlines, bylines and story content, The Gateway displayed a lack of sensitivity and judgment ... that demeaned African-Americans and attempted to extract humor at their expense," UNO Chancellor Nancy Belck said in a statement.

The edition featured stories written in hip-hop slang, one that poked fun at victimization claims by the campus zombies and featured bylines like Imma Slapu and Donbee Trippen. The paper apologized the following day.

April Fools Too

A fake letter to the editor in an April Fools Day edition of the Pasadena Weekly — attributed to the local school superintendent with misspellings and bad grammar — has infuriated the target of the jibe, who calls it a "sick display of humor loaded with racial stereotypes," reports the Pasadena Star News.

The letter, one of nine fakes attributed to a number of city officials, said, "A lot of peeple out there been saying the kids ain't getting no good edjucation in the classrooms at PUSD. And that all them little bastards do is fight all day."

"All youse got to start backing off right now and cum in for the big win."

Percy Clark, the school superintendent, is demanding an apology.

"The letter's use of bad grammar, improper syntax and misspelled words invoke our country's history of racial discrimination and bigotry, a time when Blacks — particularly those in the South — were ridiculed in films, magazines and minstrel shows for their lack of formal education," Clark said in a letter to the paper. "When such words and thoughts are given to a Black superintendent in a community that has had a history of racial intolerance, they are loaded with the very stereotypes, innuendo and racial connotations that our country and its leaders have fought for years to remove."

The editor of the paper, Kevin Uhrich, said no apology would be forthcoming. A similar mock letter would have been attributed to any top education official regardless of race.

Still Smoldering

Officials at Georgia State University are adding more sensitivity sessions and contemplating the creation of an African-American cultural center because a member of a fraternity showed up at an off-campus hip-hop theme party in blackface, reports the Atlanta Constitution.

Following the January incident, the fraternity involved has been suspended and judicial proceedings have been initiated against the two students involved. Members of the Black Students Alliance, however, have called for even further sanctions. At a rally in which students raised their fists in the air and chanted "Black Power," the alliance called for the suspension of the fraternity for a minimum of three years, the addition of a mandatory African-American history course for all students, and hiring of more minority faculty in tenure track positions.

"The entire organization needs to be kicked off this campus," said Dawn Davison, 27, who led the rally. "Any threat to diversity is a threat to the university."

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

Mailbag:

Tom C. writes:

So, the phrase "you people" is now politically incorrect under any circumstance. Please don't let that happen to the southern phrase "y'all," which essentially means the same thing. I'm far too old to change a life-long habit.

Mark B. in Bullard, Texas writes:

I find it rather humorous that chairman Matt Hardman of the children's soccer league in England states that it is cruel to report on a 29-0 defeat — that the children have "suffered a heavy defeat and they don't need to see it in large print with words like 'emphatically trounced.'" It's ridiculous to even assume that a child would know the meanings of either words.

Robert G. in Pensacola, Fla., said:

Since the Council on American-Islamic relations is so concerned about "positive" actions between cultures, I would like to know what they have done positive lately? Whining over a silly mannequin in the hopes non-Muslims will grovel at their feet and issue profound apologies doesn't sound very "positive" to me.

David F. in Chicago writes:

I'm amazed at the fact that the United States hasn't begun doctoring results of studies like the European Union in order to make them more acceptable for American PC advocates. I'm sure we could doctor results of studies on gang-related violence so as to blame "disaffected, white," suburbanites for the troubles. Or better yet, why don't we render our politicians and leaders impotent by terrorizing them with hypersensitive claims of racism so they can no longer work to correct problems because someone may be offended at what is insinuated.

I guess some people really don't want problems solved, because that requires work. They'd rather bitch about it.

Andrew G. writes:

I think most people would agree that many of the PC items that you list are as ridiculous as you feel they are. At the same time, however, if you support understanding and equality between all races, genders, and other groups, then your column simultaneously hits and misses the mark.

Frankly, your column is plainly one-sided. I say this not as an insult but rather to pose to you what may be a flaw in your reasoning in writing this column. If you want to report without bias a few random cases where political correctness got out of line in the past week, you should also report a few cases where not enough was used, or more importantly, what situations were handled correctly.

Political correctness, for all of its annoying-ness, is at its heart a reaction to problems that exist within a society. Support greater dialogue between people, don't deny that one side's problem's exist. Taking sides prolongs misunderstanding and perpetuates overcompensation by liberals in the form of political correctness, which I suppose creates an endless supply of material for more columns, but that shouldn't be the point.

Amit K. writes:

I'm sorry, but half of the items in this week's Tongue Tied are legitimate grievances by real victims, like the "car dealer bomber" story and the "I don't like black people" comment by the teacher. Put yourself in the shoes of a minority before you mock our outrage.

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