The London's Times reports that a school in the UK changed the words of the old Black Sheep nursery rhyme to "baa baa rainbow sheep" as part of an effort to improve equal opportunities for its students.

Stuart Chamberlain, manager of the Family Centre nursery, said such changes are "fairly standard" across nurseries in the area.

"We are following stringent equal opportunities rules. No one should feel pointed out because of their race, gender or anything else," he said.

Teachers at the nurseries also have changed the ending of Humpty Dumpty so as not to upset the children, and dropped the seven dwarfs from the title of Snow White.

Modern Journalism

At the Sacramento Bee, according to public editor Armando Acuna, the following descriptions of crime suspects are not specific enough to warrant inclusion of the suspect's race:

"5-foot-10, 185 pounds, with athletic build and short brown hair. He was wearing blue jeans and a hooded gray American eagle sweat shirt with pink, green and blue stripes near the sleeve shoulders."

"Stocky, 5-foot-9, 185 pounds with spiky brown hair. He was wearing blue jeans and a hooded black or dark-colored sweat shirt with lettering."

Providing more accurate descriptions of suspects could "provide false crime-solving leads and contribute to racial profiling," Acuna writes. Those who want the paper to publish more complete descriptions are often racists "who seem more interested in keeping a racial scorecard than in finding a suspect," he writes.

Inuit Offense

Viewers in the UK are complaining that a Land Rover ad featuring a sled-driving Eskimo being outrun in the snow by a four-by-four is racist and disrespectful of Inuit culture, according to Brand Republic.

In the ad, the sledder is so distracted by the Land Rover that he crashes into a pile of snow and is left chasing after the runaway sled. In addition to denigrating Inuit culture, the viewers complained that the ad encouraged behavior harmful to the environment.

The UK's Advertising Standards Authority rejected the complaints.

Derailing and Demeaning

A school trustee in Toronto who wanted to expand Black History Month to encompass the celebration of other nationalities and cultures was forced to withdraw the plan following complaints from irate members of the local black community, according to the Toronto Globe and Mail.

Trustee Scott Harrison wanted to designate February as Heritage Month to ensure that students from other groups wouldn't feel left out. He withdrew the motion, however, saying "too many people have taken it the wrong way."

Fellow trustee Chris Bolton said the motion should never have popped up in the first place.

"I think it's inconsistent with the culture of the Toronto District School Board," he said. "I'm all for freedom of speech and that kind of thing but there are limits to what we should be working on. This is not a positive, this is not productive. This is derailing and demeaning."

Michelle Cho, of the Toronto Coalition for Equity in Education, said the motion contributed further to the alienation of the black community.

It was So Offensive, They Can't Even Report it

Because of a crack about "racially stereotypical" food in a campus newsletter at a college in New Jersey, the entire staff of some 1,000 employees will be attending mandatory diversity indoctrination later this month, according to the Asbury Park Press.

The mock prediction of what sort of menu items would be served at one of Brookdale Community College's regular Diversification Breakfasts was deemed so offensive that college President Peter Burnham saw fit to order the sensitivity workshops, along with regular follow-up sessions throughout the year.

The editor and publisher of the newsletter, Stephen Nacco, also was suspended for several days without pay for the transgression.

Unacceptable

A television presenter in the UK who penned a column in a newspaper in Wales saying that gay men did not make good political party leaders because their lifestyles are "too divorced from the norm" is being taken to task by the Welsh Assembly for her homophobic views, according to the BBC.

Writing in the Western Mail in late January after a couple of high-profile gay sex scandals involving Liberal Democrat party leaders, TV personality Lowri Turner said: "However much I love my gay friends, I don't want them running the country.

"Frankly I don't trust a man who says he swings both ways, unless he is a spotty teenager who hasn't sorted himself out yet," she wrote.

She said gay men don't make good party leaders because they don't face the same challenges as those who have children, adding: "I have gay friends whose biggest headache is whether to have a black sofa or a cream one."

Gwenda Thomas, the chair of the Welsh assembly's equality committee, is demanding to know how such hateful opinions made their way into the Mail.

"Homophobia, together with all other forms of prejudice, is unacceptable in any modern, democratic, civilised society, and it is therefore disappointing to say the least that an article that promotes such attitudes appeared in a newspaper that purports to be 'the national newspaper for Wales,'" Thomas said.

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

Mailbag:

Bob Z. writes:

I have grown increasingly tired of this or that group being offended by team names, club activities and celebrations of holidays. This country was founded and built by immigrants, so diversity is in the "DNA" of the USA.

However, it is crucial to remember that the immigrants who built this country assimilated into the culture they helped build. Today's fractionalized and hyphenated immigrant appears to be more interested in taking from what has been built by others and contributing nothing but discord themselves.

Steven B. writes:

I realize that I'm probably the 100th person to point this out but someone needs to let folks know that Oriental means "eastern" and is the opposite of Occidental which means "western." It has nothing to do with race but the dividing line between east and west (Europe and Asia) that has generally been understood to be the Caucasus Mountains, which run from Russia in the north, southwest through Iran to Turkey in the south.

This is the area, by the way, from which the term "Caucasian" comes. That does have to do with race because the Mongols (and others) noticed that the folks living west of these mountains looked different, and vise-versa. Is it me, or do people in college seem stupider these days?

Jesse M. writes:

I always found it fun to play dodgeball in elementary school, even though we used foam dodgeballs. But to sue a 12-year-old for playing a game, albeit in an incorrect way, is stupidity of the highest order. Sure she kicked the ball and it hit the boy in the face, these kinds of things can happen in a game. Maybe the mother should learn to realize that stuff happens, and suing someone to make it go away won't help. Wounds will heal.

Mark J. writes:

I never realized that Idaho was such a hotbed of Islamic debate. By all means, change the name-- we wouldn't want to spur violence or even hurt feelings amongst their huge Muslim population. They might just get it into their heads to crash a plane into a grain elevator or something as a protest.

K. King in Virginia writes:

This anti-offensive stance Germany has placed on their traditional parade is just more proof that the terrorists are winning. This shows us that the terror has spread, like wildfire, across the globe. We should stand up for our beliefs in freedom, even if some other countries won't. Soon our newspapers will be edited by the government!

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