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A public forum on the Minuteman Project will go ahead in San Jose, Calif., reports the Mercury News — over the objections of Latino activists who call members of the group racist hate-mongers.

The activists successfully shut down the event earlier by telling managers of the taxpayer-funded Mexican Heritage Plaza, where the event was to be held, that there would be violence if the founder of the Minuteman Project, Chris Simcox, were allowed to speak.

Outraged immigrant advocates said it was disrespectful to have a "hate group" in their plaza on Sept. 16 — Mexican Independence Day. One said it was like scheduling a public forum on racism with the Ku Klux Klan on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

The event's organizers said it will go ahead at the plaza on another date and probably without Simcox. He said losing Simcox showed "that certain opinions are not allowed in certain public venues.''

School's Back I

To celebrate the confluence of National Coming Out Week and Disability Awareness Month, student fees at Ohio State University in Columbus are being spent on events to make people aware of the unique lifestyle of gay people with disabilities.

The events, led by the Los Angeles-based Queers on Wheels organization, are sponsored by GradQueers with help from the OSU GLBT student services, the ADA Coordinator's Office, the Women's Studies department, the English Department and the College of the Humanities.

The Queers on Wheels Disability Sensitivity Training involves lectures on using proper people-centered language, etiquette do's and don'ts and a general discussion about disability and the GLBTQ community.

Over at Lawrence University, students are invited to a conference on Discrimination and Prejudice in the 21st Century at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. No fewer than 30 social scientists will proffer up papers on everything from The Pernicious Effects of "Benevolent Sexism" to The Interactive Nature of Patriarchy and Arbitrary-set Hierarchy: The Dynamics of Sexism and Racism from An Evolutionary and Social Dominance Perspective.

School's Back II

It's been less than a month since students around the country returned to universities, and already the student press wars have started.

At the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, reports the Herald-Sun, a student pundit was fired after she penned a column in the Daily Tar Heel saying Arabs should be racially profiled in the name of airport security.

In a fit of hyperbole, junior Jillian Bandes wrote that Arabs should be "be stripped naked and cavity-searched if they get within 100 yards of an airport."

The editors insist she was fired for "journalistic malpractice," or taking the comments of her interviewees out of context. The column and the paper's editors were roundly denounced on campus as racists for publishing the piece.

And the Gainesville Sun says administrators at the University of Florida have lambasted an editorial cartoon in the student newspaper, The Alligator, for "reinforcing negative stereotypes of individuals in the community."

The cartoon pictured rapper Kanye West, who said President Bush doesn't like black people during a fund-raiser for Hurricane Katrina victims, holding a playing card labeled "The Race Card" next to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The bubble over Rice's head contains the words: "Nigga, Please!"

Wrong Signals

The Times of London says British Prime Minister Tony Blair is under pressure to halt the country's annual commemoration of the Nazi Holocaust because it alienates young Muslims who might then blow themselves up on crowded subway trains.

Advisers appointed by Blair after the bombings this summer are suggesting that Britain substitute its annual Jewish Holocaust Memorial Day with a Genocide Day that would also recognize the mass murder of Muslims and people of other faiths. The day, established in 2001, is marked each year on Jan. 27.

"The very name Holocaust Memorial Day sounds too exclusive to many young Muslims," a member of one of the advisory panels reportedly wrote. "It sends out the wrong signals: that the lives of one people are to be remembered more than others. It's a grievance that extremists are able to exploit."

Hog-Wild

A church in the UK was forced to cancel a planned hog roast after an animal rights group complained that its members were offended by the event, according to the Cambridge Evening News.

The event planned at St Matthew's Church was cancelled after the activists called and said they were shocked by an ad for the event that featured a cartoon pig being roasted over a fire.

"We decided it would be simpler to cancel it and serve cream teas instead," rather than argue with the militant vegetarians, the organizer of the event said.

Updates

A Florida teacher who was forced out of her job for writing to her congressman and complaining that an influx of Latino students who don't speak English was dragging down the educational standards of her district now says she will sue her former bosses.

Officials say they still haven't seen the letter that caused all the fuss, and congressional offices in the district said they never received it. No one seems to know how it fell into the hands of a local Spanish-language newspaper, says the Orlando Sentinel.

A Scottish newspaper editor accused of inciting racial hatred for publishing an article critical of plans to build a massive refugee camp in the area has had the charges against him dropped, according to the Scotsman.

Alan Buchan, publisher and editor of the North East Weekly, was arrested following publication of an editorial headlined "Perverts and Refugees."

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

Mailbag:

Anton S. writes:

The use of the term refugee is not an appropriate reference to the citizens of New Orleans. The term refugee literally means "one who flees"; however, the historical context of the word has traditionally been "one who flees to a foreign country to escape danger or persecution."

These American citizens are being transported to other parts of their own country. Homeless or displaced would be a more appropriate reference. I do not believe use of the word refugee was racially motivated but I also believe that abandoning the word is not politically correct, just correct.

Kyle C. writes:

I guess Jesse Jackson has redefined the meaning of the word "refugee," if he thinks it depicts a person as being hierarchically low. The word refugee is not hierarchical in meaning. It simply refers to a person who is fleeing from danger and taking refuge. That's exactly what the people of Mississippi and Louisiana have done by fleeing the destruction left by Katrina and going to other states.

Jesse, quit feeling sorry for yourself and your race. If you are really treated less importantly because of your skin color, then that is wrong. But, causing a stink about the use of one word, that you don't understand, is ridiculous.

As a Texan, I'm glad to have refugees taking refuge with us. If I'm ever a refugee, I think the people of Louisiana would gladly receive me as a fellow American too.

Bob M. writes:

I actually had this discussion and found it absurd. "Refugee" is a perfectly neutral word describing any person, regardless of race, creed, color, national origin, sexual preference, toothpaste brand or favorite color of crayon, who seeks "refuge" from something, hence the term "refugee." It absolutely fits all those who fled Katrina's devastation. To try to couch this term in racist tones is patently asinine and those who would seek to do so will get no help from me.

I'm extremely disappointed President Bush bought into that nonsense.

Chuck D. writes:

Renaming Gingerbread men into Gingerbread persons has got to be one of the most asinine things I have heard in a very long time. I guess there must have been some Gingerbread people that rose from the dough and complained? The only real people without genitals at IU Bloomington are the ones who keep silent while the Politically Correct march goes on.

Patricia S. writes:

Lacking any physical evidence as to the true sex of gingerbread cookies, I think it is in keeping with reality and common sense to consider them gender neutral.

Robert D. writes:

I find it interesting that no one at Fox News thought to say anything about Barbara Bush's comments on the victims of Hurricane Katrina, which were: "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them."

But I guess being that you're Fox News, commenting on racist/elitist chatter from your friends is against the rules. Fair and Balanced by whose standards?

Scott H. writes:

A woman tells a man he should think more like a woman and that men tend "to do things at the last minute" and the result is "chiding."

However, had a man made comments that a woman should think more like a man and that women tend to "make snap decisions," there would have been at least a letter of reprimand and a demand for a public apology, and in all likelihood, that man's career would have been seriously damaged at that company.

William M. writes:

Thanks for being one more force for the ever increasing fragmentation of this country along party lines. Your hypocritical pandering should sicken every educated person in this country. How can you sleep at night knowing that your column simply fuels the intolerance that is so utterly inimical to effective, wholesome democracy?

Perhaps you could devote equal time to those sites on the Internet devoted to the forces of hatred and extremism which are far greater threats — albeit less easily mocked — to the Republic. Fortunately, I am sure that the inevitable comeuppance of FOX and Mr. Murdoch is just around the corner.

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