The Palm Beach Post reports that a mall in South Florida is making bunnies available for pictures this week and next but none of them will include the word "Easter" in their names because, well, we all know why by now.

The Gardens mall in Palm Beach County has an "egg hunt" and mascots with names like Garden Bunny, Baxter the Bunny and Peter Rabbit. No mention of that upcoming religious holiday, though.

"Because we're such a multicultural community, it's good just to remain neutral," mall General Manager Sam Hosen said.

Really Braves

Students and administrators at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke are resisting pressure from the NCAA to change their team name, the Braves, to something less racially offensive, reports The Associated Press.

UNC-Pembroke officials said the Braves logo is part of their heritage, and wouldn't ya' know it — they're right. The university campus is in the center of the region the Lumbee tribe calls home and was founded exclusively for Native Americans in 1887.

It didn't integrate until 1953, and about 20 percent of current students are Native American.

"The thing about it athletically was, when it was all American Indians, the leaders at the school and the student body referred to themselves as Braves," Athletic Director Dan Kenney said. "Nothing has changed. Our community wants that link back to our origins."

Silencing the Fans

High school basketball fans in Oregon who carried on the time-honored tradition of taunting an opposing player while he was shooting free throws are accused of being racist for suggesting that he was sub-par academically, reports the Oregonian.

In a game between Lincoln and Lake Oswego high schools, Lake Oswego fans began chanting, "You can't read!" when Lincoln's Omar Leary was shooting free throws. They also yelled in unison, "Sixth-year senior!"

Because all the starters at Lake Oswego High are white and Leary is one of five African-American starters on Lincoln's team, the taunts were deemed racist.

Lake Oswego Principal Bruce Plato called in every student suspected of participating in the chants for questioning and a discussion about racial sensitivity. At least eight students have been told to write letters of apology to Lincoln High.

Who Gave This Guy 68K to Begin With?

A Chicago man who claimed he was racially harassed because he found a half-eaten chicken wing in his pot roast dinner at Denny's has had his case thrown out by an Illinois appeals court, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

Nathaniel Washington, who said white workers put the chicken wing on his plate as a joke, was initially awarded $68,000 in damages, but the verdict has been overturned. The Latino cook who made Washington's food and the Indian waitress who served him denied there was a plot involved.

Washington admitted he'd eaten about half his food before noticing the chicken wing and "assumed" someone else had bitten it. But the stress he felt from the incident was strong enough, he said, that he started fighting with his wife, losing sleep and drinking half a pint of liquor a day.

Can't Win for Trying

Five employees of a state prison drug treatment program for juveniles in New Jersey were fired for allowing inmates to put on an anti-racism skit that involved dressing up as members of the KKK, reports the Newark Star-Ledger.

Three inmates, two of them African-American and one white, wore white hoods and full-length white sheets during a skit at the Garden State Youth Correctional Facility. It was intended as a spoof of "The Jerry Springer Show" in which the "Klansmen" were interviewed by another inmate acting as the show's host.

Shirley Robinson, an African-American counselor who lost her job over the skit, said the plot centered on a white KKK member who had fallen in love with a black woman and wanted to renounce his membership in the group. The other two KKK members, portrayed by black inmates, were trying to talk him out of leaving the Klan.

"The moral would be that love can conquer things like bigotry and racism," Robinson said. "The idea was if you can have a Klan member denounce his membership because he is in love, then love can conquer all."

But state officials said the motivation behind the skit is irrelevant.

"To utilize racially inflammatory, socially unacceptable rhetoric and to dress in costumes worn by a hate group is entirely inappropriate in a prison setting, especially one in which a treatment function is supposed to be carried out," said Corrections Commissioner Devon Brown.

Those Pesky Prayers

Managers of a charity-run senior citizens center in Arkansas have been forced to ban pre-meal prayers because someone threatened to sue if the practice isn't halted, according to the Russellville Courier-Times.

Board members of the Friendship Community Care have halted the prayers at its senior activity center until they can get clarification from lawyers about the legality of the practice.

Local resident Philip Mullins prompted the debate by writing a letter asking that the public prayer be discontinued. He threatened to file a lawsuit against the organization for infringing on his religious beliefs if it continued.

No Freebies for You!

Breast-feeding activists in Texas are pushing the state Legislature to ban baby formula manufacturers from giving away diaper bags full of freebies to new mothers at hospitals, reports Knight-Ridder.

Bills have been introduced that would ban health-care providers from passing out free formula to new mothers. Supporters of the measure say that to do so sends the wrong message.

"That's like telling someone who had a heart attack that they should eat healthy food, but in case you can't, here's some McDonald's coupons," said Marianne Baker-Bolduc, chairwoman of the legislative committee of the Central Texas Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, a nonprofit organization.

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

Mailbag:

Catherine S. writes:

Give me a break! So we have now reached the point in any public discourse that everyone in an audience must have their point of view and lifestyle choice addressed and affirmed as valid? Ms. Pinkett-Smith was making a point based on her personal experiences.

Does that make her speech somehow less interesting or valid?

Lynda S. writes:

How ironic, individuals who are homosexual want to be able to live their lives as they choose. Fine. Then they are offended when they are not addressed in every social situation. So they really don't want to just do their thing. They want everyone to pay attention to them as they do their thing, acknowledge it and fuss over them and their uniqueness. That is quite different than just wanting to do their thing. I don't discuss the details of my sexuality with anyone nor should they. This is their personal business and their preferences in everything they do should not be used in a detremental or judgmental way for or against them. More than that is simply none of anyone's business.

Brian H. in Austin reminds us:

'Heteronormative' is not even a word.

Kate W. writes:

How very intolerant of the students at Bowdoin College to call someone an "Uncle Tom" just because he doesn't agree with the liberal politics they seem to think should define all African Americans. Very "lacking in openness", if you ask me. Hypocrisy in its finest form.

Stephanie R. writes:

Okay, all this time I thought black and white were colors and that we were fighting against judging on appearances. I did not realize that to qualify as black that you also had to have a certain set of beliefs. So is Howard Dean more black than Bill Cosby? I guess that Condi Rice is so un-black that she is white. But does that mean that Hillary Clinton is black? Can anyone get me a score card and an aspirin? My hair hurts from trying to figure this out.

Janice S. writes:

It's easy to get caught up in scoffing at every item of political correctness that comes down the pike every day. However, being PC is not necessarily a bad thing. If not for political correctness, lots of things would still be going on that are offensive or just plain wrong. Of course it's sexist to call a women's athletic team the "Lady" anything. Adding the word "lady" does imply secondary status.

For you to dismiss it as simply "politically correct nuttiness" is disconcerting. It wouldn't be acceptable to add the word "black" in front of a team name if that described all of the team members, so why is it ok to add the word "lady"?

Susan C. writes:

I just don't get the point of your column. Are you trying to say that ignorance, prejudice, bigotry and discrimation are cherished American values? I certainly hope not. Your column seems to be pointing out what you consider to be outlandish responses to these kinds of hate crimes. You have obviously never suffered the pangs of rejection for something as simple as the color of your skin or your religious or ethnic heritage. I should certainly hope you will come to see the light.

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