Local government officials in a town in England have been informed that use of the words "lady," "ethnic" and "elderly" should all be avoided when referring to constituents lest they offend someone, says the Yorkshire Post.

The Corporate Equalities Unit of the Hull Council in York sent out an e-mail to employees containing a long list of potentially offensive terms. Terms such as "foreigner" and "darling" were lumped in with words like "dyke" and "spastic."

Conservative councillor John Fareham said he was insulted by the list.

"My employees have just told me I can't call a lady a lady," he said. "To me, not calling a lady a lady is an insult, and to further say it is as unacceptable as genuinely derogatory terms for ethnic minorities is appalling."

Ignorance is Bliss

Northwest Indiana's Times reports that a group of parents at an elementary school are upset because the school allowed a local Muslim family to give a presentation about their traditions during Ramadan.

The second- and third-graders heard from the family of some Muslim students who are new to the school about Islamic traditions and were read the book "Ramadan" by Carol Gnojewski.

Some parents complained that religion has no role in the public school setting and said they would take their complaints to the school board.

School officials say the presentation was merely an effort to teach students about a variety of cultures and widen their world views. It does similar presentations about Chanukah and Christmas, they said.

Sexist Indianettes

A 15-year-old wanna-be dancer in Florida is threatening to form a breakaway troupe at his high school unless it changes the name of its dance team to something less sexist than "Indianettes," reporters the Lakeland Ledger.

Galen Smith says the name of Choctawhatchee High School dance team also discourages boys from joining, and he wants a more gender-neutral one.

Speaking of the Devil

A high school marching band has been forbidden from playing a Charlie Daniels song at an upcoming bowl game because of fears that it might cross the line between church and state, according to the Washington Post.

The band at C.D. Hylton High School in Prince Williams County wanted to play Daniels' "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" during an upcoming appearance at the Peach Bowl.

A local resident, however, complained in a letter to the Potomac News that a song about the devil was an inappropriate insertion of faith into the repertoire of a public school band. The band's director, Dennis Brown, pulled the song from the playlist.

White Flight

Residents of White Settlement, Texas, are being asked to change the town's name to West Settlement because they say the current moniker has negative connotations, reports the Dallas Morning News.

White Settlement Mayor James O. Ouzts says that while the name has nothing to do with racism, it has turned off potential new residents and businesses.

"One of the first things they say is 'What's up with the name?' " Ouzts says. "They have a negative perception, and you have to try to overcome that. You expend a tremendous amount of energy trying to explain the name."

Racist NBA

Players in the National Basketball Association say a new dress code imposed by league officials is racist because it bans players from wearing gaudy gold chains outside their clothing while making public appearances on behalf of the NBA, reports the Associated Press.

The dress code will go into effect at the start of next season, and requires players to dress in "business casual" attire when on league business. Items such as sleeveless shirts, shorts, sunglasses while indoors, headphones, visible chains, pendants or medallions over their clothes are forbidden.

Jason Richardson of the Golden State Warriors and a handful of other players said the rules are racist, and Philadelphia's Allen Iverson says that the if the league wants players to dress in a certain way it should pay for their clothes.

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

Mailbag:

Stephen L. writes:

I wonder if Tom Wilson of Canal Alliance realizes what an ignorant statement he made when he said, "They're painting illegal day workers as criminals, making generalizations about a group of prople." It seems to me that being an illegal day worker is a criminal thing to begin with. This guy needs to put his brain in gear before putting his mouth in motion.

Robert B. writes:

In your piece entitled "VP for Inclusion" I am surprised that no one has yet complained about the use of the word "cross" in the VP's title. After all some could argue that the "cross-cultural" refers to those nutty religious right wingers who are trying to turn us into a Christian fascist state (similar to Islamofascist without the beheading part). Perhaps a less controversial title and even more inclusive might be "vice provost for all that offends." This would at least give him (or her) something to do since it seems we are in a constant state of being offended these days.

Gary M. writes:

Did you ever notice that announcements from the University of Texas at Austin these days sound very much like Pravda in the 1930s? Does nuttiness go in circles, or what?

John H. in California writes:

On the opposition to the cross symbol by the Rev. O'Neill, she forgets that the bus boycott was organized by a group of Christian ministers and churches. At the time, her Immanuel church did not exist but Presbyterians in Montgomery were fractured by the civil rights struggle and mainly on the segregationist side. They have since mostly embraced civil rights. Let's remember and celebrate the facts accurately.

Aaron B. in Michigan writes:

I think the Copenhagen Press is discovering why the Western world is scared to discuss Islam openly. No one wants to die for having a religious discussion.

S.E.J. writes:

It's very easy to make fun of something when you know your target audience isn't capable of abstract thought. When will right-wingers stop trying to keep us in the Dark Ages? Idiots.

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