The public art committee in Portland, Maine is resisting the gift of a bronze statue because some of its members say the city already has enough statues of white people, according to the Boston Globe.

The statue, to be donated by the owner of a local minor league baseball team and placed outside the stadium, depicts a family of four going to a game. In an article about the statue, the local Portland Press Herald quoted a member of the public committee that must approve its placement as saying that the city had enough "white folks on pedestals."

Predictably, many locals didn't take too kindly to the comments, calling the committee arrogant, out-of-touch and ungracious. Comments to the paper's website have run overwhelmingly along the lines of those of Melissa Wolf of Scarborough, who said:

"I'm not racist, but there's nothing wrong with white people. Every city is different, and here, we're the majority. I don't see why diversity has to be shoved down our throats."

Even the Silence?

A couple in Texas has sued their local school district, claiming the moment of silence started as a compromise with anti-Christians is merely a ruse to get prayer in public schools, according to the AP.

David and Shannon Croft said one of their children was told by an elementary school teacher at the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District in north Texas to keep quiet because the minute is a "time for prayer."

Croft, a computer programmer, says there is no secular reason for a moment of silence. "Is there any study showing a moment of silence helps education?" he asked.

Now There's an Idea

The University of Massachusetts-Amherst will begin phasing out residence hall areas designated for particular races and ethnicities, according to the Boston Globe, concluding that "there's nothing healthy about segregation."

Currently, there are dorms floors set aside for students of Asian, African-American, and Native American backgrounds, and one for students seeking a multicultural environment. They are intended to "provide comfort and comradeship on an overwhelmingly white campus."

Beginning this fall, however, there will be no Black Only or Asian Only floors and officials say they will discourage students from segregating themselves.

"Students who come to the university need to be exposed to different opinions and ideas. When you have segregated pockets in our residence halls, we are allowing students to shut themselves off, and then they are missing out," said Michael Gargano, vice chancellor of student affairs and campus life.

Unsafe and Intolerant Environments

The UK's Guardian says calls are growing for the dismissal of a college professor who expressed support for the theories espoused in Charles Murray and Richard Hernstein's 1994 book, The Bell Curve.

Students at Leeds University in northern England marched across campus calling for lecturer Frank Ellis to be sacked for his views, expressed in an interview with the student newspaper a couple weeks ago. In the interview, Ellis, a professor of Russian and Slavonic studies, also expressed support for the right-wing British National Party, questioned whether women have the same intellectual capacity as men and said he would support repatriation of immigrants if it were done humanely.

"This is a fight that is going to go on and on until we get rid of this man," said one of the marchers, Hind Hassan. "It has gone beyond an issue of freedom of speech or academic freedom and now directly impinges on the rights of students to live and work in a safe and tolerant environment."

Administrators at the school have so far resisted calls for Ellis' dismissal, saying that he is entitled to his views no matter how unpopular or abhorrent they may be to the rest of the faculty and staff.

Prescience

A state legislator in Colorado who disseminated an email with an essay criticizing the "moral poverty" of residents who stayed in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina was forced to apologize for the essay on the floor of the state house after being denounced as a racist by his colleagues, according to the Denver Post.

Rep. Jim Welker apologized for sending the essay by the conservative black minister, Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, which said in part that it was "primarily immoral, welfare-pampered blacks that stayed behind and waited for the government to bail them out" during Katrina's aftermath. Welker apologized for what he said was offensive, inappropriate and degrading material.

His colleagues in the state house denounced Welker as a racist and a bigot when word got out about the email. "Maybe he should go to Sears and see what size sheets and hoods they have," Democratic Sen. Peter Groff said of Welker.

Coincidentally, Welker earlier had sent out an email about the origins of political correctness, which offered a link to an essay describing how, "for the first time in our history, Americans have to be fearful of what they say, of what they write, and of what they think. They have to be afraid of using the wrong word, a word denounced as offensive or insensitive, or racist, sexist, or homophobic."

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

Mailbag:

Tami M. writes:

All of these articles about race issues are so ridiculous to me! Who cares if a nursery rhyme has the phrase "black sheep" in it? Kids aren't thinking "Wow, we shouldn't be singing that because my black 4-year-old friend might be offended!"

And a community in an outrage because someone wants to include a Heritage month on the calendar instead of just singling out the black community for Black history month? God forbid we actually do something racially-diverse (like every one is screaming for us to do). I feel the people that are truly racist in this world are the same people screaming race.

Because seriously, the rest of the world really doesn't care!

David H. in Tempe, Ariz writes:

Clearly, those at the school in question haven't taken the time to interpret this nursery rhyme beyond their superficial and reactionary aversion to the simple appearance of the word "black." I mean, if they insist on applying human racial characteristics to the little bugger, then one would think it a compliment to be associated with what is clearly an intellectually superior and business-savvy talking sheep.

Joe K. writes:

I think what people are missing is the fact that Baa-Baa Black Sheep is the story about how affirmative action works! Years before affirmative action, this same black sheep wouldn't have had the opportunity to have those three bags of wool, at the most he would've had one bag. What we should be focusing on is why the sheep wasn't able to keep any of the bags of wool for him/herself.

Here are a few more things that are troubling for me as well. 1. Why is does the black sheep have to refer to his owner as "Master"? 2. The sexist way the black sheep refers to women; "One for the Dame". 3. Why is the black sheep giving the boy down the lane gifts? This type of gift giving to children sound eerily familiar…Neverland Ranch?

Steven L. writes:

Every mention of the word black does not refer to those of non-white, non-asian descent. I may have black coffee in the morning without denegrating them. I may print with black ink without making a racial statement. And I may call it Black Friday without placing the blame on them. By the way, in most cases, it is not former Africans causing the problem. It is white pinheads who have no understanding of language.

Amy in Arizona writes:

Whenever I sang 'Baa Baa Black Sheep' with my children, I never once thought about a black person -- only those cute little black lambs. Until the Family Centre Nursery brought it up.

Barbara L. writes:

Bravo to the educator in Toronto who tried to study other nationalities during Black History Month. Sadly, we discovered recently that our 4th grade son knew a great deal about Martin Luther King, but could tell us only a few uncertain thoughts about Abraham Lincoln. Something is wrong here.

Mathew M. writes:

The Sacramento Bee editors are the racists. In numerous articles which they have published, they identify numerous groups by ethnicity and nationality, except for one...white. While several groups are identified as African-American, Asian-American, or Mexican-American, whites are never identified as European-American. I have emailed them several times on the issue, most recently when the Bee called the Winter Olympics the "White" Olympics in the front page story of racial diversity at the Olympics.

An email response from an editor stated it was the Sacramento Bee's policy to use certain racial terms. In other words the Sacramento Bee has a policy to be racial bigots.

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