The mayor of a town in Massachusetts who flew the Danish flag outside town hall as a sign of solidarity with his besieged Scandinavian brothers is now being accused of being insensitive and inflaming Muslim passions, according to the Boston Globe.

Town Manager Mark Stankiewicz of Stoughton, Mass. was so angry about the pictures of crazies burning the Danish flag in the Middle East that he put the red-and-white flag beneath the U.S. one outside the town hall.

Some in the town said flying the flag was insensitive and inflammatory. The Stoughton No Place for Hate Committee is now on the case and said it plans to discuss the episode at a meeting because of fears that residents might be hurt or insulted.

Mural Madness

A victim-support charity in the UK says a bus station mural featuring an ethnic minority tribesman trying to start a fire with sticks of dynamite is racist and must be removed in order to prevent hate attacks in and around the station, according to the Plymouth Evening Herald.

The mural on the wall of the Bretonside Bus Station in Plymouth was painted two years ago. The artist, Roy Christie, says it's a message about globalization and the damage done to the planet. He insists that it does not incite violence or racism, and says, "we live in a free society and if you have got an opinion on something you should be allowed to express it."

But the Monitoring Group Rural Racism Project disagrees.

"The image presents a disturbing racist-stereotype clearly linked to terrorism," says the group's Jon McKenzie. "The extent to which this mural may be reinforcing hostile attitudes towards ethnic minorities is unclear, but we do not rule out possible links between this image and racist attacks at the bus station."

But Then ...

Complaints about a school reading assignment that mentioned four robbers has led a Baltimore school district to remove the material from classrooms because it unfairly stigmatizes inner-city school children, reports the Associated Press.

The offensive worksheet, entitled "The Four Robbers," is intended to teach students about a sequence of events by telling the story of four people who get away with robbing a house. Kenyona Moore, whose 9-year-old brought the worksheet home, said it promotes criminal activity to youngsters. The underlying message, she said, is "this is all you'll be able to do anyway."

The lesson makes no mention of race, but Moore said it could have a damaging effect on the self-esteem of children in majority-black city schools. "You could have given him 'The Three Little Pigs,'" Moore told WBAL-TV.

T'was the Night Before Tookie

An Iowa prison supervisor is being reprimanded for sending what's described as a racist ditty about Tookie Williams to friends and colleagues over the state email system, according to the Des Moines Register.

Lt. Ron Wheeler, a supervisor at the Newton Correctional Facility, forwarded the poem, "Twas the Night before Tookie's Execution," to friends in December before Tookie was executed in California. The poem described a person drinking a beer, watching the execution on the Fox News Channel and mocking the Hollywood celebrities and ACLU-niks who celebrated his cause.

Renee Sneitzer of the Iowa Board of Corrections said she was deeply offended by the poem. "This is ignorant and racist, among other things," she said. "This is unacceptable on several levels, more than just race."

Historic Preservation

City officials in Georgia who want to paint a mural in town celebrating the town's history as a center of cotton-farming are being told they shouldn't because "certain segments of the population" might be offended by that history, reports the Atlanta Constitution.

Sandra Vincent, a first-year city councilman in McDonough, Ga., is worried about a planned mural tentatively titled "When Cotton Was King" that would depict a 1920s scene of blacks and whites coming and going between the town square and a nearby cotton gin.

"My concern is we might erect something that might offend certain segments of the population," said Vincent. "When cotton was king, we were slaves."

Wrong Culture

A high school student in Missouri who wanted to celebrate Southern culture at a school multicultural assembly by unfurling a Confederate flag was told that's not the sort of culture his school wants to celebrate and unceremoniously removed from the assembly, according to the Columbia Missourian.

Ryan Lanman and a friend at Hickman High School in Columbia, Mo. were kicked out of school for raising the flag. He said he merely wanted to openly support a multicultural group that is under-represented and ignored in school.

Other students said the act was racist. Junior Taneka Jackson said the action "really hurt me, seriously hurt me" and that it was inappropriate at a multicultural assembly meant to celebrate different cultures. "It was a disrespect to everyone in there," she said.

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

Mailbag:

Thomas H. writes:

I don't know that you would ever truly understand what it feels like to have someone use the "dreaded n-word." But I can tell you that no matter the context it is always hurtful and denigrating. To act as if it has a function in literature is weak.

I hold a masters degree, and I have heard people I don't know and who don't know me use it in reference to me, and the feeling is the same. And no, I am not an African-American who uses it in conversation but feels people of different ethnic groups can't. I feel the same way about this word as I do about the "b" word that is used to hurt and denigrate women. There is nothing affirming about the word and trivializing its impact will not change the fact that it is hurtful and denigrating.

Clarence Thomas was right" "You can be a Supreme Court judge and a drunk lying in his own vomit and urine can raise up and call you 'n.'"

Jerry D. writes:

As a long time blood donor, I am well familiar with the screening process the American Red Cross uses for blood donors. The questions are aimed at all behaviors that carry an AIDS risk including IV drug use, visiting certain African countries and hetero-sexual intercourse with prostitutes or IV drug users, as well as homosexual activity.

It also eliminates people who have spent too much time in countries where Mad Cow disease is found (such as England), those who have had organ transplants, and those with a history of certain hereditary conditions. The point of the process is to maintain a pure blood supply for those in need. To allege that the screening process is homophobic is pure nonsense.

Verti writes:

Regarding the "Camel Cartoon Sparks Controversy" item: I am the photographer of the original camel picture. I'm Israeli and the picture was taken last year at a gas station just outside Jericho. The cartoon was not created by me, although the original intent of the picture was humorous.

Konnie E. writes:

"The word [squaw] is widely, though falsely, believed to be a derogatory reference to Native American women."

How could you make a blanket statement like that by just looking up what "squaw" means in the Oxford English Dictionary?! Did you also notice that in that same definition, if you scroll down, the Oxford English Dictionary uses the word "Negro" to describe black men? Maybe the next time you try to claim that someone falsely believes a word is derogatory to their own culture, you should try asking the people of the culture themselves and see what they think instead of looking at a dictionary written by a bunch of stuffy, old school, and obviously politically incorrect people.

Editor's Note: Believe us when we say we have traced the etymology of the word "squaw" far beyond the OED.

Jeff D. in Fort Lauderdale wonders:

If "Indian" names are so offensive, and we are not even allowed to say "Indian" anymore... then why do the "Native American" casinos all have "Indian" in their name?

Tom W. writes:

I just love how "social progressives" have screamed for years about freedom of speech/expression, but when it offends someone they turn into Communist Chinese.

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