School officials in Ohio cancelled an optional anti-drug assembly at a high school because a band scheduled to perform was described as Christian and mentions God and Jesus in its lyrics, reports the Toledo Blade.
Officials at Rossford High School cancelled the performance by the group Pawn, a member of which is a senior at the school, because of concerns over having religious music played in a public school.
"We are just shutting the whole thing down," Rossford Superintendent Luci Gernot said. "There is some controversy, and I'd rather err on this side."
Hero of the Week
Students at a high school in California who were told they could not paint a nativity scene on a school window as part of an annual holiday decoration effort argued and eventually won their case, reports the Siskiyou Daily News.
The students at Weed High School by tradition paint windows for the holidays to compete for spirit points.
Senior class president Becky James and her classmates wanted to paint a simple nativity on a small window at the entrance of the school, but were told they couldn’t.
When student body president Jessica Hofer heard about it, she balked.
"I thought that the ruling of no nativity set was unfair, especially when one class had 'Happy Kwanzaa' approved and another class a Menorah," Hofer said. "To say you can't have a Christian symbol at Christmas but allow other religious symbols is discrimination."
Hofer provided Principal Mike Matheson with a copy of a 1989 Supreme Court ruling that allows student-initiated free expression of religion at school.
"Our First Amendment rights give us freedom of religion, not freedom from religion," Hofer said. "Mr. Matheson said he would allow the nativity scene if we took a poll of the class and the seniors were for it.
"We did, and 43 of our 45 seniors signed it saying they were in favor of the nativity scene. Two seniors were absent that day."
But for a Preposition
A reporter for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune has been disciplined for using the term "colored officers" in an e-mail to a black officer at the police department in that city, the Star-Tribune reports.
Police reporter David Chanen told editors that he meant to use the term "officers of color" but accidentally used the other phrase instead.
The paper apologized to Police Chief Bill McManus, but he said the apology "should be made to Minneapolis Police Department officers of color, not to me. Certainly, they are all offended by it. This isn't the 1960s anymore."
Black journalists say comments by new "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams (search) to the effect that the country has more important things to worry about than the number of journalists of color are deeply disturbing, reports the Baltimore Sun.
Williams reportedly told Hemispheres magazine — in response to a question about the lack of diversity in newsroom management — that: "We have bigger problems. There are no black members of the Senate. We should keep some perspective on this ..."
Ernest Sotomayer, president of Unity: Journalists of Color Inc., said the statement was evidence of the lack of commitment to diversity by the media industry.
He said he was disappointed and concerned about the remarks.
Williams was forced to clarify his remarks. "It is clear that my response to a question posed by an in-flight magazine has been misconstrued," he said. "I believe that the lack of diversity is a serious challenge not only in newsrooms across America, but across the upper echelons of our society as well. In no way have I ever diminished the problem that exists in our newsrooms."
As penance, NBC News President Neal Shapiro was forced to meet with the leadership of the National Association of Black Journalists and reaffirm the network’s commitment to diversity.
Conservatives are complaining because Democratic Sen. Harry Reid (search) said Thomas is an "embarrassment to the court" and his opinions are "poorly written." Because he then praised white Justice Antonin Scalia on NBC’s "Meet the Press," the comments have been deemed racist and insensitive.
"I consider Senator Reid's comments against Justice Thomas to be among the boldest and most unambiguously racist public attacks since the day when lynchings were commonplace and Orval Faubus and Bull Connor openly used their political power to keep blacks down," said Mychal Massie, a member of Project 21, a black leadership network.
Officials in France have denied children their traditional chocolate treats because of the country’s ban on religious symbols in schools, reports the BBC.
Chocolate figures depicting St. Nicholas were recalled from the area's schools after a teacher noticed large crosses on them, banned under the law.
The mainly Flemish region celebrates the saint's day on Dec. 6 by delivering the chocolates to schools.
Officials replaced the figures with "nice round sweets and chocolate bars."
For more doses of politically correct nuttiness, head on over to the TongueTied daily edition.
Daniel S. writes:
Regarding the professor who sent an email that contained the phrase "It's time to acknowledge and celebrate the superiority of Western Civilization:" Thank you for bringing that to national attention.
It's absolutely a horrible, xenophobic thing to write, particularly by an educator. It's also ignorant — as evidence at least of competition, I point to current China's growth rate and its existence as a technologically advanced nation thousands of years ago when Europeans were running around with paint on their faces.
Vince B. writes:
To the college prof who sent the faculty-wide email touting the superiority of Western Civ to other cultures: I say he’s right on the mark. I also wonder how a professor could be so incredibly ignorant and politically naïve in today’s ongoing climate of Political Correctness. That guy deserves a slap on the wrist for having his head too far up his, umm, Aristotle text books!
Matt V. in St. Louis writes:
The Council member of Wichester, England who compared the southern United States to Nazi Germany is more than a little bit over the top. It may just be attributable to the lack of accurate foreign reporting in this country, but I don't recall any U.S. state, Confederate or Union, ever bombing London. If there had been such hostilities visited upon England, I'm sure I would have heard of "The Gritzkrieg."
Dave R. writes:
It’s ironic. I read about the flap over "Leroy, the Redneck Reindeer" in the morning. Yet, that evening, I attend my daughter’s high school choir recital in which the offending song is performed by our school’s top athlete/scholar, who is African-American. Must be us simple folks up here in Ohio have better things to do than quibble about stupid things like that.
Tim B. in Tulsa, Okla., writes:
Since when is it such a big deal to be offended? Just because someone does or says something that I disagree with doesn't mean that it has to be stamped out. So what if I'm offended by a church's sign- I can always take another route to work.
Steven G. writes:
I just had to respond to this article because it mentioned Kwanzaa as a "tradition" being kept in a school play. Kwanzaa is not a tradition and I, as a black American, am sick and tired of it being portrayed as such!
This "holiday" was started in 1966 by one Ron Everett (now known as Maulana Karenga — "maulana" is a Swahili word for "master teacher" and is a title he bestowed on himself in the 1960s). Mr. Everett/Karenga is blamed by many for stopping the Black Power movement in the 1960s through his group counter to the Black Panthers, the Us (United Slaves) Organization. Among the deeds of Us were the killing of two Black Panther members in 1969 and the brutal torture of two women whom Mr. Everett/Karenga believed were trying to poison him — despite the fact he had earlier given them the title of "African queen" within his group.
Thankfully, the justice system didn't buy into his story (a court psychologist wondered if he was even sane!) and he was sentenced to serve 1 to 10 years on two counts of felonious assault and one of false imprisonment. In fact, the only acts for which Us (this supposedly pro-black organization) was known were [acts] against blacks!
As for Kwanzaa itself, there is no information about it other than from Karenga himself. He claims it is based on a harvest festival from Africa, but no record of any such type of festival exists. It is entirely possible that festivals occurred for the harvest, but they were not in any way formalized like Karenga would lead us to believe. Oh, and since it is harvest time, it's incredible that it takes place in winter. And the word "kwanzaa" itself? A derivation of the Swahili term "matunda ya kwanza" that means "first fruits." And what's with all the Swahili? Swahili comes from east and central Africa. The overwhelming majority of slaves and their descendants living in America are from west Africa. They never spoke Swahili! This holiday is a sham!
And as for Mr. Karenga's current whereabouts? The convicted felon is a professor at California State University, Long Beach. Don't ask me how a convicted felon, less than five years out of prison, got into a leading role in the Black Studies department at CSU Long Beach, despite provisions in the state education code about employing convicted felons.
Steve R. reminds …
… people who are tired of the conservative ideas on this site that Canada is ready when they are.