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Heteronormative Harassment, No Ladies Allowed

Actress Jada Pinkett Smith (search) is under fire for a speech she made at Harvard University that was overly "heteronormative" and made gay students feel uncomfortable by not sufficiently addressing their status, reports The Crimson.

Organizers of the Cultural Rhythms show are apologizing for the offense caused by the wife of actor Will Smith (search). In the speech, she was said to be giving the story of her life "and her perspective was a heterosexual perspective.

"She wasn't trying to be offensive. But some felt she was taking a narrow view, and some people felt left out," the apology reads.

Members of the Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Supporters Alliance (BGLTSA) said Pinkett Smith's comments implied that standard sexual relationships are only between males and females.

"Some of the content was extremely heteronormative, and made BGLTSA members feel uncomfortable," said BGLTSA Co-Chair Jordan B. Woods.

No Easy Way Out

A Florida company is being sued because employees put a noose near a wastebasket at the back of one of its warehouses, reports the News-Press.

A black former employee of Wayne Wiles Floor Coverings in Ft. Myers is suing the company, claiming the noose stunned and humiliated him because it is a symbol of the decades of lynchings that plagued the South after the Civil War.

The company says the noose was hung months or maybe a year before the employee went to work there and was part of a joke they shared about committing suicide and "taking the easy way out" when their jobs got too rough.

Ya' Just Can't Make This Stuff Up

Students at Middle Tennessee State University had a teach-in recently and came to the conclusion that use of the word "lady" to refer to female athletic teams was sexist and derogatory, reports the student paper there.

A panel of students and faculty suggested that the school no longer use the term "Lady Raiders" to refer to the women's basketball team. (The men's team is named the "Blue Raiders.")

"When we use the word 'lady,' today at least, we recognize it as sort of a sexist remark," said Ryan Husak, a member of Solidarity. "It is used to sort of suggest secondary status."

Because of the connotations of the word "lady," it is demeaning to athletes to refer to them in this manner, according to Husak.

The J-Word

A school board in Florida is considering dropping its pre-meeting invocations altogether after an invited clergywoman dared to utter the J-word during one of them, reports the Naples News.

The Lee County School Board is concerned about being sued over the prayers with which it routinely kicks off its meetings. Its members are worried about endorsing a particular faith.

The board is acting following the prayer offered by Sara Vellekamp, a pastor at First Assembly of God and Cornerstone Ministries in Fort Myers. She concluded her July 27 invocation by saying, "In Jesus' name, we pray."

Horrible History

A strip mall owner in Wisconsin is catching hell for daring to fly a Confederate flag on his private property as part of a display of his collection of some 18 historically significant flags, reports the Green Bay Gazette.

Norm Watermelon is flying the flag outside his history-themed Heritage Village Shoppes in Allouez. But it keeps getting stolen, and a couple locals say that the flag is racist and has no place on public display.

The flag flies alongside an oversized Old Glory; the flag for the battle of the Alamo; a St. George Cross; the Continental flag used at the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775; and a replica of a Betsy Ross original, among others.

Not Black Enough

Students at Bowdoin College in Maine are shredding the College Republicans there for inviting a black conservative to speak on campus during Black History Month, according to the student paper there.

The critics say North Carolinian Vernon Robinson is not really a black guy; he is, they say, an "Uncle Tom" who has no right to speak on campus. One writer said (with a straight face, presumably) that the Republican student group "displayed its lack of openness by inviting" him.

"To have Robinson speak at this school as a representative of Black History Month destroys the racial peace movement that has been formulating on this campus," one wrote.

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

Mailbag:

Alicia S. writes:

I think everybody just needs to get a life. All these people who complain, complain, complain need a hobby or something. If all you have to do every day is sit around and find ways to be offended, then I really feel sorry for you.

Like Mandy Dawson who wants the state official fired for showing a Chris Rock video. She said it was racist. Isn't that the point he was trying to make? Come on Mandy, let's use the good sense God gave you. Uh Oh! I said God, I wonder if someone is offended. I hope so.

Brian in Aberdeen, S.D., writes:

When are governments going to get a clue about the fact that "allowing" and "endorsing" are two different things? The proposed memorial in Evergreen, Colo., is a perfect example of government running scared. If the city were paying for it, then I could see where there would be a concern, because then it could be implied they were endorsing the young man's faith, although even that would be a major stretch. But the parents are footing the bill, and so they should allow it.

Pete H. in Reno, Nev., writes:

So, the Campus Socialists and the Chicano activist group, MEChA, advocate rights and benefits for illegal aliens but in the same breath advocate denying rights and benefits for legal activities such as free speech and a free press? What is there about "illegal" that these people don't understand? Illegal aliens do indeed have rights: the right to a speedy arrest and trial, the right to a safe and humane deportation, the right to be billed for the costs of throwing them out of the country. When they are given these rights, all of the others become moot.

Ian D. writes:

Something I don't understand: The gay rights groups have complained about the Bremerhaven Zoo's penguins having a "right to form couples without human intervention," but doesn't the fact that these penguins reside in a zoo already indicate human interference in their lives?

Isn't it possible that these penguins would have formed heterosexual relationships in the wild, as opposed to a female-penguin-deprived zoo environment?

Dave D. writes:

The Howard Dean remark was roundly applauded by the African-Americans attending that meeting. You left that out of your article. You should report on the entire event, not just pick out what you want your audience to hear.

Denise B. writes:

I'm a little shocked that Fox News laughs at animal cruelty complaints. I used to read this column every day, but the tone has become so sarcastic that I seldom read it anymore. The comments that I read in the Animal Kingdom section showed a complete disregard for the welfare of animals. I rescued an older cat from a shelter six months ago, and I have been an animal lover most of my life. I am sure that many Fox viewers are also animal owners, and will probably not appreciate such an outdated attitude.

Please use this column to encourage society to respect all animals; those who don't show respect for life should not be tolerated.

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