The Tampa Tribune says officials in Florida want to change the name of Slave Canal in Jefferson County as part of wide-ranging, statewide efforts to remove insensitive monikers from the map.
The canal through a secluded swamp near Nutall Rise is so named because it was dug by slaves in the 1800s. The state wants to change it to Cotton Run Canal.
Neither blacks nor whites in the area are said to favor the change.
"I find this to be a little bit too much political correctness," said Julian M. Pleasants, professor of history at the University of Florida. "Should we go to Monticello and destroy all of Thomas Jefferson's slave quarters?" he asked, adding that the proposed name change is "a terrible precedent."
The idea was floated by officials in the state capital looking at place names across the state that might be considered offensive in response to legislation in 2004. A state commission also suggested changing the names of Tate's Hell Swamp, Bloody Bluff, Whiskey George Creek, Indian Swamp and Deadman's Slough.
Law Enforcement 101
Pro-immigrant activists in California decried as racist a city's plans to train its police to help enforce federal immigration laws, reports the LA Times.
The City Council of Costa Mesa voted last month to allow its police officers to question suspects arrested for other crimes about their immigration status. Mayor Allan Mansoor insists that enforcement will focus on those accused of serious crimes and that random sweeps are not part of the plan.
Protesters who attended a city council meeting, however, said the initiative is racist. About 80 of them turned up waving hand-painted signs reading, "Nobody Is Illegal" and "Mansoor Is a Bigot." Other signs proclaimed the United States the property of Mexico and Americans as the interlopers.
"We demand a reversal of the agreement," said Coyotl Tezcalipoca of the Tonantzin Collective, a pro-immigrant group.
The Retreat of Reason
A writer for the Times of London says in a report that the "soft totalitarianism" of political correctness and the intellectual dishonesty driving it are doing more harm than good to society.
Writing for the think tank Civitas, Anthony Browne says that a concept that began as a well-intentioned effort to prevent discrimination and give voice to the powerless is poisoning the well of debate in the United Kingdom.
"It [political correctness] has now become a hindrance to social progress and a threat to society," Browne said. "By closing down debates, it restricts the ability of society to tackle the problems that face it."
The full text of the report, titled "The Retreat of Reason: Political Correctness and The Corruption of Public Debate in Modern Britain," is available as a pdf file here.
The Guardian reports that a gay magazine in the United Kingdom is being lambasted for describing Islam as a "barmy doctrine" and maligning immigrants by publishing an article endorsing the opinions of the former Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn.
The magazine of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association [Galha] reportedly said Islam is growing "like a canker" in the United Kingdom and derided immigrants as "ill-educated and culturally estranged Third Worlders."
The editors who wrote the article have since resigned, and Peter Herbert, chairman of the London-wide Race Hate Crime Forum, said he would be pushing prosecutors to file charges against them for such "racist and degrading" comments.
A student editor's artsy photo essay exploring her fantasy of having "unexpected intercourse" in a parking garage has prompted teeth-gnashing from the usual suspects at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, up to and including calls that the paper be kicked off campus for glorifying rape, reports the AP.
The critics say the essay, as a work of art, has no place in a newspaper. Catherine Seasholes, director of the campus Women's Resource Center, said students were offended and frightened by the essay.
The staged scenes in the photo essay, titled "Bedtime Stories," show DeKeuster being slammed against a car by a man and forced to have sex, leading to her feeling "guilty and rejoiced." It's author described it as an exploration of "the age-old repressed female sexuality in its attempt to strip itself of social and feminist constraints."
A Christian cross and a Jewish menorah were removed from a fire station in Massachusetts after a resident complained about the display of religious symbols on public property, reports the Mildford Daily News.
The man insists that the symbols, perched atop the observation tower of a station in Holliston, were religious, not secular, and therefore had to go. City officials, citing an existing policy, complied immediately.
The cross and menorah were made by hand by firefighters more than 15 years ago.
For more doses of politically correct nuttiness, head on over to the TongueTied daily edition.
Pat M. writes:
Assuming for the moment that the "Stonewall" in the school's name actually is a reference to Gen. Jackson, wouldn't it be a good idea for those school officials in San Antonio to read a biography of Stonewall Jackson before labeling him a racist? I think they will be surprised by what they find. Education is a wonderful thing. The school officials in San Antonio ought to try getting one.
Dave A. in Clinton, Tenn. writes:
I guess that to get rid of this problem once and for all we should strip every public building of any reference to anything. Public schools will be numbered and mascots can only be named from the vegetable world. (I don't think they're any racist veggies, are there?) Ladies and gentlemen, let's give it up for the Fighting Kidney Beans from High School #12!
Nickoy B. writes:
I am a Nigerian-descended Southerner from Kentucky and I object to both Nick Calzoncit's denunciation of Stonewall Jackson as a "racist" and the author's denunciation of Cesar Chavez as a "socialist."
Jackson was well-known for his sympathy for the plight of black slaves and defied tradition by teaching one of his uncle's slaves how to read and write as a young boy. He fought for the Confederacy simply because that's the side of the border he was on when war broke out (a war that was not originally fought for slavery).
As for Chavez, he was a civil-rights champion who defied segregation laws and helped unionize brutalized farm workers and fight for better wages. So simply because he was a union leader, that automatically makes him a "socialist"? I suppose all liberals are also "godless anti-white, anti-male, secular, Christian-bashing, cheese-eating, wine-drinking socialists?"
The author might do himself a favor and take a look in the mirror, because if he does, he will see that he has clearly distinguished himself as a hypocrite who uses knee-jerk right-wing labels (socialist!) while decrying leftists using them (racist!).
Anthony H. writes:
You know, I don't like to throw around words like "racist," "anti-semite" or "homophobe" very lightly, since they're serious charges. But after having examined your Web site over at tongue-tied, I must conclude that you people truly are nothing but a pack of gay-bashing, Muslim-hating, racist fanatics.
Robert G. in Las Vegas writes:
So, the Democratic party is disenfranchising white voters in Mississippi, this according to the Department of Justice. Well, where is the so-called "mainstream" news media? Ike Brown, head of the Democrat party, claims a lot of these white Democrats aren't really Democrats at all. Well, I would like to know what his definition of a Democrat is and how he can tell the difference from a "real" one and a fake one.
Lenny B. writes:
I disagree with Tongue Tied on the aboriginal commercial. Usually I get a good giggle out of juvenile people taking up arms over instances of others being blunt instead of being politically correct, but I don't quite understand how this commercial DIDN'T cross the line.
It's like walking up to a group of Irish-Catholic tourists visiting Boston, stopping them and saying, "Enjoy your visit folks, oh, and by the way, lay off the liquor and try to resist the urge to burn any Protestant churches, thanks."
It is pretty insulting and it comes completely out of left field. Maybe I'm missing the context of this ad, or maybe I'm just a sensitive Irish-Catholic who doesn't like to part with his Jack Daniels. Who knows.