Seeing Pink, White Women of Color

A University of Iowa law professor has complained that a locker room set aside for visiting teams at Kinnick Stadium is homophobic and sexist because it's painted pink, according to the Associated Press.

Erin Buzuvis, who moved from Boston to Iowa City to teach at the law school, says she and several friends have been concerned for months about the message behind the locker rooms. She says they promote negative stereotypes.

"With a pink locker room, you're saying that 'You are a girlie man. You are weak, like a girl,'" Buzuvis said. "That implies that girls are nondominant, therefore, lesser. And that is offensive."

The locker room was painted pink in the 1970s by former Hawkeye football coach Hayden Fry.

The carpeting, metal lockers, brick walls, sinks, shower floor -- even the urinals -- are all pink.

Buzuvis says she has been getting death threats and hate mail since disclosing her discomfort about the locker room to a reporter.

White Privilege

Organizers of a "Women of Color Dialogue" at Northeastern University in Boston were forced to open an event to all races after initially proclaiming that white women would not be allowed, according to the Northeastern University News.

Members of the Women's Studies and Graduate Consortium wanted to exclude white women from the first session of the dialogue. They said it needed to remain racially segregated in order to help the participants come together on issues that many of them felt were perpetrated by white people.

But after hearing complaints from two caucasian students, the Student Government Association and the school provost, the event was opened to all. Dr. Robin Chandler, director of women's studies and one of the organizers of the event, said she was disappointed by the demand.

"I think it's a shame that one or two white students based on white privilege, a lack of awareness of racial issues and a lack of generosity of spirit complained to the office of the provost and were able, because they were white, to gain admission to the morning session that I was forced to open up," Chandler said.

Flag-Free Memorial

The NAACP has drafted two Illinois senators in its crusade to prevent officials from flying a Confederate flag at the dedication of a memorial to Confederate dead in central Illinois, reports the Journal-Register.

The memorial is being built at Camp Butler National Cemetery near Riverton, the site of a prison camp for Confederate soldiers. Some 866 Confederate soldiers died there during the war.

Illinois' senators Barack Obama and Dick Durbin have asked federal officials to bar display of the stars and bars at the memorial.

"We, along with the NAACP and many Americans, believe that the Confederate flag has become more than an historic battle standard; for millions of Americans it is a symbol of slavery and segregation," the senators said in a letter to the director of the National Cemetery Administration.

Nettlesome Noose

A new bar in St. Paul named the Noose is drawing complaints from some of its neighbors on the east side of the city because they say the name conjures up images of black Americans being lynched, reports the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Penny Yauch, who recently bought and renamed the place on E. Seventh St. in St. Paul, said it takes its name from a local legend about a man who hanged himself there years ago. She said the racial connotations never entered her mind.

The Rev. Luches Hamilton, pastor of nearby St. John's Church of God in Christ, said he's been hearing complaints about the name, however.

"A lot of black people were coming to me saying it was very offensive," he said.

Shooting the Messenger

A group of Connecticut immigration control advocates who produced a study purporting to show that the workforce at many McDonald's restuarants in that state is not reflective of the wider population is being derided as racist hate-mongers for their efforts, according to the Hartford Courant.

Connecticut Citizens for Immigration Control released a study of the racial and ethnic makeup of the workforce at 152 McDonald's statewide. The group's Paul Streitz said that the workforce at some restaurants was 100 percent Hispanic, which he said raised the possibility that equal opportunity laws had been violated and that undocumented workers were being hired.

Immigration activists and Hispanic leaders dismissed the study, however, saying it was motivated by racism. Fernando Betancourt, executive director of the state Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission, said the group's finding were offensive and created a "climate of persecution" in the state.

Hero of the Week

A university student government in Australia's north has appointed what is described by The Australian as a "roo-shootin', beer-drinkin' rednecked country bloke" as the country's first heterosexuality officer.

Most of the country's universities have an officer to represent gay students, so the right-leaning student government at the University of New England has appointed Dave Allen to represent heterosexuals' interests.

Allen says he does not like the fact that homosexuals on campus get special treatment.

"It doesn't matter whether you're straight, gay, black, white or brindle, but when it starts getting 'Oh, we need a space for us to hang out', it's crap; just come down the pub and have a few beers with us," he says.

Opponents are calling the office, which is supported by student fees just like the schools' gay clubs, a waste of money and an insult to disadvantaged students everywhere.

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


Charles D. writes:

I cannot believe that a minority group at Boston College actually thought the use of the term "drug bust" is somehow racist. What term would you like us to use to describe persons getting "busted" for "drug" use? And the fact that the paper printed an apology just irks me to no end. How can you apologize for something that wasn't wrong in the first place? Sounds to me like the minority students who are mad at this term have other issues they need to deal with.

Ray B. from Omaha writes:

We need to ask the students that protested the headline at Boston College in the paper: What would it have been called had other directors been caught? Would it be different if they were white or Latino? And if these students are striving to be the next leaders of our society, they will have a difficult time adjusting to the real world!

Rachel H. writes:

As an alumnus of a university currently caught in a battle to keep our Native American nickname, I can see the harm in the phrase "scalp the Savages." Although the local nickname protesters (who are primarily white professors from the English dept.) rarely point to that type of misuse of the Native American names, that is the greatest harm I can see in having a Native American nickname.

Scalping reminds us of some horrible historical events that occurred in this country, so I can understand the offense. Let's keep school spirit to cheering on our own teams rather than making fun of the opposing teams' mascot with rather distasteful plays on words.

Maybe then we can all keep our beloved nicknames while we cheer the team on to victory.

Tiffany L. writes:

This is not an issue of political correctness gone mad. This is an issue of a wide-reaching insult. One would not say, "Scalp the Tigers," no, the use of this verb is the insulting part. It is the glorifying of a real horror that a real group of people went through, and that we as white Americans can little begin to understand. If the phrase was, "Beat the Indians," the Indians, as a mascot (a racist one at that) should expect such a chant from the opposition. The fact is, Native Americans were murdered en masse by white settlers, and we have not even made the attempt to apologize for it!

African Americans get all the attention in this country, and while they have seen many terrors as well, and continue to meet with discrimination, we need to remember the silent sufferers and not ridicule them.

Ric B. writes:

You wrote: "In a speech last week to the Heritage Foundation in Washington, Romney suggested that… authorities keep a close eye on university students who come from countries known to sponsor terrorism."

You then go on to suggest that people who protested this comment, like the writers of the Boston Globe, are being overly sensitive or otherwise wrong-headed.

Come on! Can you honestly suggest that the statement that students who simply come from certain countries should be monitored by the USA government is a good one? Shades of McCarthyism or the Japanese internment camps, anyone?

Honestly, I have rarely found your column to be germane or useful, but now I have come to regard it, and its writer, as rather ludicrous and even hateful. Or have I misinterpreted your stance?

Craig B. writes:

Fox News boasts that it is "Fair and Balanced." I've yet to read a single solitary piece in "Tongue Tied" that was anything but Scott Norvell cheerleading conservatism. Like conservative pundit celeb John Leo, he's obsessed with data mining "political correctness." Redundancy is boring. Uniformity of opinion is stale.

Which is to say, "Tongue Tied" isn't just about hypocrisy in lieu of Fox New's much ballyhooed sloganeering, but would be second-rate dullness even if Fox News' motto was more honestly "Nothing but the best in conservative thought."

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