The name for a dance sponsored by a campus club at the Virginia Tech, Midwinter 2006: Tour Through the Orient, is under scrutiny by Asian students on campus because some of them feel word "Orient" is derogatory, according to the student paper there.
The Asian American Student Union called an emergency meeting to discuss the issue of The German Club's dance, a campus tradition for more than a century. Most of the students at the meeting didn't know the term was offensive, so they were educated by the more enlightened among them.
"This is a touchy subject among Asian-Pacific Americans and the subject should not be taken lightly," said Jennel Baltazar. "There are so many different cultures and ethnicities from Asia that it just seems wrong to lump everything into one big 'Oriental' category."
The German Club has apologized, not just for the title of the dance but for some of the decor — images of the Buddha, sumo wrestlers, people performing karate, the Hokie Bird dressed as a samurai, and chopsticks in people's hair — that was described as "exploitative" of Asians.
Those who complained want the money raised from the dance to be contributed to the school's Asian Studies Program as pennance.
Killing the Crusaders
A university in Idaho will vote to change its current sports nickname, The Crusaders, because of the negative image it presents, according to the Idaho Statesman.
Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa has used the name since the 1940s, but is now under pressure from some in the student body and elsewhere to switch to something more "appropriate" for the sensitive era in which we live.
The school's Board of Trustees will vote on the issue at its March meeting.
A 12-year-old girl in California has been charged with battery following a playground game of dodgeball, reports the Associated Press.
The charges stem from one of the regular games of Wall Ball at Hermosa Elementary School in Alta Loma, Calif. Brittney Schneiders is accused of kicking a ball at an opposing player with braces, giving him a fat lip.
Five other students were also accused of battery stemming from the incident, but they opted to take probation. Brittney's parents said they will fight the charges.
The case is set for trial in March.
Welcome to Old Europe
Lithuania's new racial ombudsman office has received its first racial discrimination complaint — against a flower shop that charges customers more to have an African guy deliver flowers than it does to have a white guy do it, according to Reuters.
The shop — Tarp Geliu, or "Among the Flowers" — in Vilnius charges nearly twice as much to have a Somali immigrant dressed up as a hussar deliver flowers as it does to have a local in the same attire do so.
Someone complained that the practice is exploitating the man's ethnicity.
The 31-year-old Somali, Thomas Amaikar, doesn't have a problem with it, however, and the shop owner is described as unapologetic.
Deutsche Welle is reporting that officials responsible for this year's Carnival celebrations in Germany have put the kibosh on any mockery of religious topics because they do want to fans the flames of hatred.
Citizens across Northern Europe have a tradition of mocking anybody and everybody during the annual celebrations. Last year's parade in Dusseldorf, for example, featured a float showing a German Cardinal torching a woman and a giant mullah made into a hamburger. The year before, now-Chanceller Angela Merkel was depicted crawling out of Uncle Sam's behind.
There will be none of that this year, however.
Bernd Jost, a spokesman for the Düsseldorf carnival committee, said floats dealing with religion would not be allowed at all this year.
"In view of the current debate, we will be keeping very clear of things related to Muslims," he said. "We don't want to fuel hatred."
Even the Best Intentions ...
The publishers of a golf magazine targeting high-end consumers have found their Black History Month issue removed from Sports Authority stores across the USA because people complained that the cover art was offensive.
Target Market News says The Green Magazine, which describes itself as a portrait of the "good life lived for people of every color," featured an image of a 1784 sign advertising "Negroes For Sale" on its February/March cover. Sports Authority execs described it as "too rude" and had it yanked from the shelves.
Publisher Rafael Martinez is unapologetic.
"Freedom of speech stands at the very heart of American society," he said. "Our content is uplifting. We didn't create the reality represented by the cover. In fact, it was our fore-parents who were forced to survive the atrocities of slavery and we alone are the custodians of their stories. As such, the image on the cover of the Feb/Mar issue is by no means a source of shame for us."
For more doses of politically correct nuttiness, head on over to the TongueTied daily edition.
William F. in Detroit writes:
Calling a Houston soccer team's name offensive to the Hispanic community just because it commemorates Texas's independence from Mexico is absolutely ridiculous. I suppose celebrating the Fourth of July offends the British, too, eh? Guess we'd better stop.
Randy B. writes:
I totally disagree with the Latino community's push to have the name of this soccer team changed. Just because the name is pro-America, does not mean it is anti-Mexican. Can't America and its people be proud of our accomplishments without offending anyone?
Sam Houston and his soldiers fought and died to win the battle for Houston in 1836, and just because the Latino community has a problem with history that does not mean history can be rewritten or ignored. Like it or not, this is America, with Americans in it, and we have an appreciation for all things American. Even our history.
Kolby W. in Texas writes:
I am a Christian and it is considered blasphemous to refer to God or Christ in any derogatory way but it has happened many times without such useless violence. It is really hard to have a even handed view of the Arab world when all we see are violent murderous tendencies. How are we supposed to think a nuclear armed fundamentalist regime would behave?
I think it speaks for itself. For their own sake the moderates had better step up or they could get caught in the middle of a West that is protecting itself from the real great Satan, Extremist Islam.
Jefferson S. in Slidell, La. writes:
I can only assume that the Hispanics offended by Houston 1836 will understand that Cinco de Mayo may be offensive to the French and will discontinue its celebration.
Robert B. writes:
I am a native Houstonian and I am outraged about this named change. Americans of Mexican descent can celebrate Mexican independence from Spain (Sept. 16 ), but Texans can not celebrate Texas independence from Mexico. The reason cited was that this year may offend some people of Mexican descent. I am sure Mexico celebrating independence from Spain may offend some of those in Spain.
Texas won independence from Mexico in 1836. That is our heritage and our history. If you choose to live here and you don't want to respect our history and heritage, I am sorry, but tough! Don't live here. Go live back where you can celebrate your own heritage and history and leave mine alone. And if you do choose to live here, and you respect my heritage and history, then you are welcome to be my neighbor.
I will respect your heritage and history, but I will not change mine because it may offend you.
Sarah M. writes:
Freedom is putting a flag out respectably under the country you live in because you are proud to be free and wish others had it as good.
Cultural representation is anything that happened in our country, depicted in any form. The confederate flag reminds us that the Dukes of Hazzard had a cool car if you were a 10-year-old boy when it aired, and that bad things happened in our country. We should never forget our bad history. If a person cringes it means they have the heart to make a difference...you can hide from our history or teach others how not to repeat it. Writing poems, raising flags, and cringing is called respect and humility. more people should have these qualities, and everyone should use them to fight for their beliefs.
If you cringe, teach a class on how wrong the KKK was, or ignore the reminder, but don't complain and do nothing because that is not how freedom was won.