A female corrections officer in New Zealand who refused to sit at the back of an event with all the other women according to Maori custom has received a warning from her superiors for offensive behavior, according to the New Zealand Press Association.

Josie Bullock was sitting in the front row of seats with all the other men during poroporoaki (farewell) for a group of male offenders who had just finished a violence prevention program at a probation center. A man approached her and told her she had to move to the back with the rest of the womenfolk.

She refused, and is now suffering the consequences.

"I'm not happy at all because I think it's ridiculous," she said. "I'm standing up for my rights — if male probation officers can sit at the front why shouldn't I?"

Taboo

A California college student who used the G-word in a term paper against the wishes of her professor was given a failing grade on the project, reports the Victor Valley Daily Press.

Student Bethany Hauf was told she could write about the impact of Christianity on America's development by English instructor Michael Shefchik, but she could not use any "big 'G' gods, i.e., one, true god" arguments.

"He said it would offend others in class," Hauf, a 34-year-old mother of four, said. "I didn't realize God was taboo."

For ignoring the admonition and using the word "God" 41 times, she was given a failing grade.

Cotton-Picking

A Florida teacher who tired of hearing students refer to each other by the N-word so casually and tried to teach them about the sordid history of the word during Black History Month has been suspended without pay and faces dismissal for making it an answer for a written quiz, reports the St. Petersburg Times.

Eight-grade teacher Dohn Bear, who says he marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Ala., in the 1960s, said he wanted to teach kids not to use the word, and using "African-American" just didn't cut it.

The quiz that got him in trouble was part of a lesson on Rosewood, the predominantly black Florida village wiped out by white mobs in 1923.

School officials accused the teacher of using poor judgment.

The Times said it was one of a series of racially charged events in Pinellas County schools in recent months. In one of the other cases, it said, a black middle school student complained that it was racist when a white teacher said he was "taking [his] cotton-picking sweet time" to get to class.

Contemptuous

Activists in Florida want a county judge investigated and reprimanded for using the terms "hovel" and "slum" in reference to the living quarters of the predominantly Haitian cleaning staff, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

The Broward County Public Defender's office filed a complaint with the state Judicial Qualifications Board charging that the comments by County Judge Leonarde Feiner were racially insensitive and showed contempt for the poor.

Feiner was complaining to a courthouse cleaning supervisor about shoddy work, when he reportedly remarked that the people hired "may live in hovels, but they don't have to leave courtrooms and the places they work looking like a slum."

"We found these comments to be outrageous and discriminatory and they should be the subject of discipline," said Chief Assistant Public Defender Catherine Keuthan.

This Is What It's Come To

The dean of the University of Georgia's school of journalism has been found guilty of sexual harassment for complimenting a female colleague's clothing and expressing concern that she was walking home alone from a social function, according to the Athens Banner-Herald.

UGA's office of legal affairs concluded that John Soloski created a "hostile and offensive work environment" for a female staff member. He has been formally reprimanded and will be required to undergo sensitivity indoctrination.

The incident in question, Soloski said, happened as he and the staffer were leaving a university fund-raising event. He commented on the colleague's dress, which he said was pretty, but "did not mean it in any sexual way." He also asked the woman if she was alone because he was concerned for her safety.

At the time, the woman did not act offended or reply, he said

Only the L.A. Times …

Activists from PETA want an aquarium in California to stop serving fish in its cafeteria, reports the L.A. Times, saying that "serving fish at an aquarium is like serving poodle burgers at a dog show."

The head of PETA's Fish Empathy Project, Karin Robertson, said the fish on offer at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach is unworthy of the institution.

"Fish are far more intelligent than previously thought, and in some respects their cognitive abilities surpass those of dogs and some nonhuman primates," Robertson wrote in a letter to the aquarium's chief executive.

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

Mailbag:

Gary F. writes:

I am responding to the Glasgow Muslim charities who formally objected to patio/outdoor serving of alcoholic beverages and inferred that "selling alcohol on the footpath is a temptation to our young people."

I am offended their organization has such callous disregard for the Scottish cultural heritage.

Scotland is steeped in longstanding traditions enjoying and partaking of such beverages and is widely acknowledged for manufacturing of some of the finest quality alcohol beverages in the world. To infer that public displays of engaging in such long standing traditional activities is somehow harmful to our youth smacks of intolerance.

Paul C. writes:

Why do you consider Chrysler "cowardly" for not using the Confederate flag to make money? I'm not sure I don't understand what is bad about the stand Chrysler is willing to take.

It may seem like nothing to you but the Confederate flag happens to be extremely offensive to African-Americans. People seem to always forget this, especially in the south.

As an African American, I recall watching "The Dukes of Hazzard" as a kid in the 80's. My parents decided that it was time to teach me about what the flag meant when I kept asking for a model toy of the "General Lee" car (I was 7 years old). This is how I learned about slavery and prejudice. This was unfortunate because it ruined my favorite show for me. I kept thinking to myself: "Why did they have to include hatred in this show?"

Chrysler should be commended. But I suppose that if you are not African-American, Chrysler's decision comes off as too politically correct and what not. For me, it is a relief because I own a Chrysler. I would never buy one again if they decided to cater to red-necks and oblivions who think it's perfectly OK to market the confederate battle emblem at the expense of others.

Kurt S. writes:

I say "kudos" to Chrysler for not giving in to a marketing scheme that could possibly hurt the company down the road. While playing off the popularity of the "General Lee" Charger with the Confederate flag on the roof may make marketing sense in the short term, it could have a negative effect on the brand going forward.

With sales of recent Chrysler products on the increase, why take a gamble on an advertising campaign that would alienate many people who would look at the Confederate flag and say "Hell no, I wouldn't buy a Chrysler product" because of it?

I'm sure that if they allowed Chrysler to use the new Charger "sans flag" and called it the General Lee it would still have the same impact as the original, and wouldn't offend anybody's craw.

Thurman H. in Maryland writes:

If Ms. Robinson truly believes that we should not name schools for anybody who represents intolerance or straight-up hatred, how does she feel about renaming Malcolm X Elementary in Washington D.C.?

Ian N. writes:

Hello Tongue-Tied. Just a quick pedantic heads-up for you — the potato cannot be a favorite "veggie," as the word "veggie" isn't the correct word. We use "veggies" as a slang term for vegetables — but only in the plural — for a single vegetable, it's just "veg" - as in "fruit and veg."

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