Birthday Bashing, Heteronormative Hoopla

WCMH-TV in Ohio reports that an elementary school there has banned celebrations of Halloween, Christmas and Valentine’s Day, in part because some of the students don’t participate in such holidays because of personal beliefs.

The kiddies at Glendening Elementary School in Groveport will no longer be able to play dress-up, eat candy canes or exchange Valentine’s cards because school officials say they also need the four or five hours a year they spent in those parties to improve academic results.

They’ve even managed to quash individual birthday celebrations in favor of one big birthday bash at some point during the year during which everyone’s special day will be celebrated.

Adventures in Etymology

Students at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania are in a snit over a recent fraternity party advertised as having a "Professors and Schoolgirls" theme, reports The Phoenix.

Some students said the theme was highly objectionable and sexist, particularly in its treatment of gender roles, and objected to the fact that it was partially sponsored by the Student Activities Committee.

Student Dave McCandlish objected to the "heteronormative activities" apparently endorsed by such a theme.

"Heteronormative" apparently refers to those objectionable social mores and rules that force us to adhere to heterosexual standards of identity.

Where's the Outrage?

The Detroit City Council wants to implement an economic development plan that rails against immigrants and non-black minorities and sets aside city money for an exclusively African-American business district, reports the Detroit Free Press.

Members of the council want to adopt a plan dubbed "Powernomics" that advocates spending taxpayers’ money on a business district dubbed African Town. The plan explicitly blames the plight of Detroit’s black residents on immigrants from Mexico, Asia and the Middle East.

In voting to implement the Powernomics plan, the council also passed a resolution that designates blacks, who make up 83 percent of Detroit's population, as the "majority minority" group and another that creates a development corporation that would operate as a loan fund exclusively for black entrepreneurs.

Hostile Art

A civil rights group in Washington, D.C., is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to remove a painting from one of its buildings because it promotes a hostile work environment by portraying a historically inaccurate image of American Indians as savages, murderers and sexual predators.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights says it is representing Native American employees of the EPA who are suing to have the painting removed from the Ariel Rios North Building. The group says the painting is racially and ethnically demeaning.

"I'm sickened by the violent images in these paintings," said Bob Smith, one of the EPA employees represented by the group. "I, along with other Indians, feel ashamed and embarrassed that EPA would allow this kind of hostile environment to exist under the protest of the EPA American Indian Advisory Council."

The paintings, "Dangers of the Mail" by Colorado artist Frank Albert Mechau and "Attack on a Covered Wagon" by William C. Palmer, were commissioned by the Treasury Department in the 1930s and have been hanging in the EPA building since.

The Usual Suspects

Following complaints from the Maine Civil Liberties Union, the City Council of Monson, Maine, will no longer begin its annual town meeting with a prayer, reports the Bangor News.

The MCLU said it had received complaints from Monson residents who felt discouraged from attending and participating in their town meeting because of references to "Jesus Christ" and "God, the Father."

The town selectmen said they thought about fighting the MCLU on the issue, but opted not to in order to avoid the expense of litigation.

For more doses of politically correct nuttiness, head on over to the TongueTied daily edition.


Corey W. writes:

Do you actually think that calling African-Americans "mandingos" is acceptable? As an African-American male, I'm absolutely disgusted that you could defend this and just brand this as "politically-correct nuttiness." What frightens me is that conservatives such as yourself will just dismiss things like this, and then very publicly wonder why the GOP can't get more of the "black vote."

J.D. writes:

This native-born lily-white woman completely agrees that calling black football players at Ohio State University "Mandingos" is racist. I doubt seriously the team is composed of young men who personally emigrated from West Africa. Those players are more likely all Americans and should be referred to simply as "Americans," not by some reference to the continent from which their ancestors may have come.

Until we start referring to all citizens simply as "Americans," instead of African-American, Hispanic-American, etc., etc., we will never get beyond racism no matter the skin color, ethnicity or national origin of citizens. If my opinion is "politically correct," I think everyone should be politically correct in this regard. We're all in this together.

Vince B. wonders:

In reference to the Iditarod animal abuse piece, how exactly does on push a dog to inhumane limits? Because a dog is not, of course, human.

Ramey M. writes:

The dogs that are used in the Iditarod are animals that are designed my Mother Nature to survive in the cold and be able to travel long distances fast in search of food. Pulling a sled for thousands of miles is their idea of fun.

Anyone who knows anything about dog sledding knows that when racers break at night, the animals are taken care of first. They are fed first, their bedding is prepared first and their comfort is of the upmost importance. A good racer knows that they are dependent on their dogs and that if they don't take good care of them, [the racers] are dead. Anyone who has worked with a dog for a particular purpose-- i.e. drug dogs, search and rescue, agility-- knows of the bond that you form with the animal.

More animals are abused in people’s back yards daily than any other place.

Tracey O. writes:

I usually agree with everything you say, but the article about the Crusaders was right on. The Crusades were a terrible time of religious bigotry.

As a Christian, I don't like to be associated with a time period of killing Jews, Muslims and orthodox Christians. The name should be changed. 

Tom D. writes:

I can only imagine what the UK nannies would do if they heard about the insomniac agnostic dyslexic -- you know -- the guy who lies awake at night wondering whether there is really a dog.

Mary Beth V. writes:

I'm dyslexic and I thought that joke was worth a good chuckle myself. Anyone with a disability that makes her program three misspellings of "the" into her auto-correct had better be able to laugh at herself or she's going to spend a lot of time mad.

Yes, I said "disability." I don't do political correctness. If you won't call a problem a problem how are you supposed to know you need to fix it? And it may interest people to know that I read at a level most people will never achieve and am in the beginning stages of a professional writing career.

Thank you, Ohio Township Elementary School, for teaching me via strict phonics in first grade -- a strategy so successful that my dyslexia was not even identified until I was an honor student in high school. A strategy that I hope they have not abandoned in the 30-some years since.

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