A Nashville city employee who forwarded an e-mail pointing out that Muslims were responsible for several acts of terror over the past 30 years or so is facing disciplinary action for sending offensive information over city e-mail, reports the Tennessean.
The e-mail was a sarcastic multiple-choice test listing 12 historic incidents, among them 9/11 and the taking of hostages in Iran. In each case, there were throwaway answers blaming figures such as Scooby Doo (search) and Bugs Bunny (search), with a letter D answer blaming Muslims.
Lori Lazo-Bell, an employee of the city's finance department, received the chain mail and forwarded it to several people. It eventually made its way to a man in West Virginia who was outraged by the contents and complained.
In a letter begging for forgiveness, Lazo-Bell was forced to profess her love for diversity and her unwillingness to stereotype anyone's age, color, economic status or nationality.
A black professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is blaming racism for the fact that he was recently denied tenure, and the Boston Globe is giving him a platform for his grievances.
Dr. James L. Sherley, a stem cell researcher, admits that he has never suffered any "overt racism," but says that he has endured a hostile environment nonetheless. He says people often ask him which lab he works in when in fact he runs his own lab. For not taking the advice of other scientists on the faculty, he says he was labeled "stubborn" instead of independent-minded.
And, worst of all, after he was involved in a shouting match about the relative merits of embryonic and adult stem cells, Sherley says he stopped getting invited to the dinners. Imagine!
"This is what racism looks like today," he said.
Harvard University President Larry Summers is under fire for daring to suggest that sexism might not be behind the dearth of female faculty members in university science and math departments around the country, according to the Boston Globe.
In a speech at the National Bureau of Economic Research that was intended, as Summers put it, to be provocative, he wondered whether innate differences might explain the lack of women in science and math.
Several women in attendance said they were deeply offended by the comments.
One of them, MIT biologist Nancy Hopkins, walked out in the middle of the speech, apparently because the topic was so upsetting that she was on the verge of passing out.
The Nerve! II
London's Daily Telegraph reports that the head of Britain's education watchdog is being branded an insensitive Islamaphobe for suggesting that traditional Islamic education doesn't teach kids the skills they need to survive in the modern world.
In a speech about citizenship, the chief inspector of schools, David Bell, said the push for diversity and tolerance of different cultures should not preclude an emphasis on British national identity and the rules of citizenship.
"The growth in faith schools needs to be carefully but sensitively monitored by government to ensure that pupils at all schools receive an understanding of not only their own faith but of other faiths and the wider tenets of British society," he said. "We must not allow our recognition of diversity to become apathy in the face of any challenge to our coherence as a nation."
Muslim groups immediately branded the comments derogatory and irresponsible.
Italy's Supreme Court has ruled that unwanted physical contact between a man and a woman constitutes sexual violence and warrants ... um ... stiff penalties, reports the BBC.
The ruling comes in the case of a 40-year-old man from Friuli who was convicted of touching the bum of a woman as she made a call from a public telephone booth.
In its decision, the court said the act constituted a sexual assault.
For more doses of politically correct nuttiness, head on over to the TongueTied daily edition.
Patrick D. in Baltimore writes:
Perhaps the school board of Newton, Mass. should ask the business leaders in the community what they think should be stressed in educating its future workforce. I'm guessing that the overwhelming majority will say they would rather have employees who can read, write and do math rather than uneducated people who can tell you why they should be respectful of people who are not respectful of them.
Patricia S. writes:
I am a scientist, and you have not provided enough evidence for me to judge whether the woman was really fired just for saying "Poppadum" or if this was just the icing on the cake of a long pattern of bad behavior. Fox likes to encourage people to make angry snap judgments about people they don't even know. Is that a good character trait? I don't think so. I am always disappointed by you folks.
Randy from Bellevue, Neb., writes:
I have been a Tongue-tied fan for years now, but this time you have crossed the line. I mean, making light of crazy Teddy bears is just insane... sorry, I meant that only a lunatic would get upset about a Teddy bear...oops, did it again. If there is one group of people I don't want to offend, it's the insane people, but would they understand it anyway? If so, then that's good, they are making progress!
Tim M. in Tempe, Ariz., wonders:
How would crazy people know that they were being demeaned? Aren't they crazy?
David W. in Los Angeles writes:
I read your diatribes against political correctness occasionally. Sometimes you go overboard in your efforts to find something to fill your column, but you're usually right on. So why not go after the PC baloney of the Right? Do you think that only the Left can fall prey to form over substance labeling and extremes?
Perfect example from your own site. In today's "Behind the Bar" column, Matt Hayes refers to what appears to be a religiously motivated murder as a "bias crime." What kind of foolishness avoids calling a spade a spade on this one? You don't murder an entire family because of "bias." It's hatred! That's why most of us call them hate crimes.
And that goes for the FOXNews doctrine of calling suicide bombings "homicide bombings." Aren't all successful bombings directed at others a homicide? Our bombing of Bagdad during the first few weeks of the war qualified as such. Isn't there merit in distinguishing between bombings where the triggerman kills himself, too, as opposed to the run of the mill roadside bombing going on every day in Iraq?