Artists Under Attack, Muslims Against Advertising

A professor at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas may be punished because he offended one of his students by saying in a lesson on economic planning that homosexuals tend to plan less for the future than other groups, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Hans Hoppe, described as a conservative libertarian economist with 20 years experience at UNLV, says that during the lesson he gave several examples of groups that tend not to plan for the future, among them the very young, the very old, childless couples and homosexuals. He said discussion of homosexuals took up about 90 seconds of a 75-minute lecture.

Within days of the lecture a student had lodged an informal complaint about its content. The university is now threatening Hoppe with a letter of reprimand and wants him to give up his next pay increase.

Hoppe is fighting back, with the help of the ACLU. It is not his job, he said, to consider how a student might feel about economic theories.

"Our task is to teach what we consider to be right," he said. The offended student, he said, should have been told to "grow up."

More Sensitive Students

A teacher in Grand Rapids, Mich., who assigned a story with racial slurs in it in a lesson about racial intolerance, has been suspended and may lose her job following complaints from parents, reports The Associated Press.

Patricia Bouwhuis and her seventh grade students read aloud from "Telephone Man," a story about a white boy overcoming the racial prejudices he learned from his father. The story ends with a black student saving the boy from being beat up by a Chinese karate gang.

Hazel Lewis, president of the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, called the story "trash" and said Bouwhuis should be fired.

Um ... No It Shouldn't

For a few weeks now, Muslims in the U.K. have been complaining about and vandalizing billboards in their neighborhoods featuring scantily clad women because the show of skin offends them.

Of particular concern are posters for the show "Desperate Housewives," which show more cleavage than the locals in some parts of East London would like. A group called Muslims Against Advertising has deemed them offensive and encouraged people to tear them down or deface them.

Speaking to the Indo-Asian News Service, Ahmed Shiekh of the Muslim Association of Britain said the issue is not one of free speech "because freedom of speech should end when you offend others."

How Not to Respond

Latino students at the University of North Texas are outraged and offended and demanding something "be done" about a Young Conservatives’ PR stunt called "Capture an Illegal Immigrant Day," reports the Denton Record-Chronicle.

For the stunt, the Young Conservatives wore bright orange shirts that read "Illegal Immigrant" on the front and "Catch me if U can" on the back. Passers-by were encouraged to track them down around campus and win a prize.

Some Latino students said the exercise caused them great pain and humiliation and amounted to hate speech. They said the dean should not have allowed the conservatives access to the campus free speech zone.

"If it's going to offend and hurt people, something should be done," said Pricila Cardenas, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens on campus.

How to Respond

At the University of Pennsylvania, a professor who wrote an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal suggesting that African-Americans should take responsibility for the disparities between blacks and whites in America rather than regarding themselves as the victims of racism is generating controversy but no fireworks, reports the Daily Pennsylvanian.

Instead of prompting calls for her dismissal or generating mass protests, the piece by Amy Wax, titled "Some Truth About Black Disadvantage," is generating … discussion.

Nakia Thomas, a law student and vice president of the Black Law Students Association, says the group has no plans for an "official" response. "I definitely think when there's more discourse, it's better for everyone involved," Thomas said.

And That's Probably Not Hyperbole

The New York Times says the threat to artists in Holland from Muslim extremists is the worst that country has endured since the Nazi occupation during World War II.

The country’s main film festival in Rotterdam had to cancel a showing of Theo Van Gogh’s documentary denouncing violence against Muslim women following threats from irate Muslims.

And in Amsterdam, a Moroccan-Dutch painter was forced into hiding after a show of his work featuring works critical of "hate imams" prompted death threats.

But Of Course!

The bright lights at Harvard University have identified another reason for low-performing people to blame society for their problems and not themselves: "stereotype threat."

A press release from the Harvard Mental Health Letter explains that the condition arises when "members of a stereotyped group risk doing something that conforms to the dominant culture's typecasting. If their performance coincides even slightly with a demeaning belief, they may be reduced to that stereotype, either in the minds of others or in their own minds."

The condition, say the good doctors at Harvard, can lead to anxiety-provoking self-consciousness that can deter achievement.

And thankfully, they have suggested solutions. Among them: Encourage awareness among the subjects that it’s society's fault and not theirs, and, of course, provide plenty of counseling by trained mental health professionals.

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


Roy T. writes:

Regarding the Washington Post report on the group of parents in rural Virginia who were attempting to shut down an off campus religion class for public school students because it stigmatizes students who don't attend. I wonder, will anyone try the same thing on football programs or other athletic programs around the country? I personally know a number of people who were stigmatized in high school because they did not turn out for sports.

Edward R. writes:

As most Americans, I am very protective of religious freedoms and appreciate the positive influence that spirituality can have in anyone’s life, especially young children. However, I can understand the feelings of the small minority of parents who don't like the Bible classes. What is the point of having the class in the middle of the day? This may be a 65-year-old tradition, but in today's more diverse social environment, this is an unnecessarily disruptive and divisive approach.

Move the classes a few hours until after the school day is over and it becomes a non-issue. Of course, pot stirrers like you wouldn't have anything to complain about then.

Donna M. writes:

I am writing for the first time because I am finally upset enough over one of your news items to do so. I am truly appalled that some parents in the Staunton, Va., school district are trying to end a program for Christian education that is being conducted off the school grounds. First they take prayer out of the schools, now they want to take it out of the school day, as they feel their children are being "stigmatized". I wonder what they think the Christian children feel like when they can't even mention their religion in school! It is time to turn the tables back around. Christians have their rights also!

Tammi H. writes:

As a former student who went to school in Staunton, Va., I find the actions of these parents completely out of line. I went to the Bible class, which was held off school grounds. We had students who did not go to Bible in our class--this was in the late 70s and early 80s. There was no ridicule or stigma of these students. They were sent to the library or did something else while we attended Bible. Most of the time, no one really noticed who was there or who wasn't. Isn't this stigmatizing my child for his beliefs by not allowing him to go? How about violating my rights? Isn't this reverse discrimination?

Mary H. writes:

I'm still trying to figure out how exactly it is you think it isn't objectionable that kids are let out during the day to go to a Bible study group. This is a public school. If they want, they should do this after the school day. It is absolutely ridiculous to let these children go to a religious study group during the day. I wonder, would you have stuck up for the religious class if it had been for studying the Koran, Bhagavad-Gita, Guru Granth Sahib, or Buddhist Sutras? In all those cases, children in a public school should be having their secular education.

After school, it's up to the parents. And if the parents want Bible education during the day, they can always send their kids to a private religious school.

Marc H. writes:

In Scott Norvell's report "justice, Italian-style," he derided the Italian court for deciding that a man touching a woman's "bum" while she made a call from a public telephone booth was sexual assault. According to most state law within the United States, that [action] is sexual assault, and is a felony. It is a very degrading act that adds to the reasons why many women live with fear. While I admire some of his critiques of political correctness, it is wise to do so with correct facts, while not appearing to support sexist ideas.

T.A. writes:

Writing a column like Seate has written is much more of a cowardly way of intimidating someone than simply flying a flag in the window of your truck. It was obviously an attempt to goad this man’s employer into threatening him with the loss of his job. He used his position with the paper to get inside this man’s employer's office and complain to him under the guise of "interviewing" him for an article. Then he pushes the employer’s buttons by promising to write a column that puts his company in a bad light. The domino effect is that the employer will force this man to bow to Seate’s demands.

So, in effect, Seate has used his position with the Tribune-Review to terrorize and threaten this man’s livelihood. If I were the man in question, I’d file a lawsuit against Seate and the Tribune-Review in a heartbeat.

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