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Native Americans Seek Apology, Students Seek to Ban Military

American Indian activists at Dartmouth College have wrested an apology from the school's administration over what they say was a series of racist incidents on campus during the course of the fall term, according to Boston Globe.

Among the incidents cited were a "cowboys and indians" themed party by members of the school's crew team and a photograph in an alumni calendar of an alumnus holding a cane with a carved Indian head.

Members of the Native American council also complained in a full-page ad in the student newspaper about a dining hall mural painted in the 1930s that features a Native American holding a book upside down and another one lapping rum from the ground. The mural has been covered for years and is set to be removed entirely during upcoming renovations.

In an e-mail sent to the student body, President James Wright said students need to make the school a more welcoming and respectful place. "They deserve more and better than to be abstracted as symbols and playthings," he wrote.

Marketplace of Ideas

A university in Scotland has forced the student Christian Union to cancel an upcoming abstinence course because the curriculum included stories from people who had been "cured" of their homosexuality, according to the Scotsman.

Officials at Edinburgh University said the six-week course, entitled Pure, violated the school's diversity policies. A university spokeswoman said the course was "contradictory to our equality and diversity values" and not appropriate to run on university or Students Association premises.

Members of the Christian Union accused the school of closing down free speech and said they would appeal.

Flashback

Members of Students for Democratic Society, as well as a handful of locals, marched in Chapel Hill, N.C. to protest the opening of a new army recruiting center near the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill campus, according to the student newspaper at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, The Technician.

The paper says about 40 members of the group marched two miles from campus to the center shouting slogans like "Out of Iraq, out of our schools," and "No blood for oil, U.S. out of Iraqi soil."

One of two real students in the march, Dante Strobino, said he was there because "modern military recruiting is racist ... They prey on economically disadvantaged people to join the military."

The research-challenged author of the article said the SDS "is known for supporting peaceful anti-war movements and participatory democracy."

Racist?

A high school newspaper in California was confiscated and destroyed because school officials determined that an article comparing a group of rowdy black students to monkeys was racist, according to the LA Times.

The anonymous opinion piece, titled "Looks like the circus is in town," described the students' impolite behavior.

"The one thing that I hate more than anything is standing in that line with dumb-ass people paying and acting a fool around me," it said. "When I go to Taco Bell, I want to go to a restaurant, NOT A ZOO! Stop acting like animals … behave and clean up after yourself."

In justifying his decision, school principal Kenneth Keener said the article included "insensitive and racially derogatory comments, was inflammatory and heightened tensions on campus."

"We are one of the most diverse, multicultural campuses in Southern California. Our strength is our diversity," he added.

Unpleasant Truths

A book about a young girl's experience in war-time Korea has been removed from a middle school reading list in Massachusetts following complaints from some parents that it included racist and demeaning portrayals of Koreans, reporters the Dover Sherborn Press.

"So Far from the Bamboo Grove," by Yoko Kawashima Watkins, has been part of the sixth-grade curriculum at Dover Sherborn Middle School for years. The book follows an 11-year-old girl as she struggles to survive amid the violence between Korea and Japan in 1945. One of the scenes to which the parent objected describes describes Korean soldiers who "staggered among the people, hunting maidens for their pleasure, and whenever they found one they dragged her outside. Women's shrieks echoed."

The parents complained about, among other things, "the racist overtone and the distortion of historical facts."

Mailbag:

Jeff M. in Illinois writes:

I'm not at all politically correct, but it really surprises me that it's perfectly okay to stereotype Italians as being mobsters and illiterate morons, but it's totally unacceptable to stereotype any other ethnic group.

Do you really think a public middle school would ever show a play about blacks being portrayed as gang-bangers on welfare or Jews as cheap shysters? How about a play about the Irish showing them as fighting drunkards, or a play about Polish people being stupid idiots that takes five of them to screw in a light bulb?

The answer is you would never see such a thing, so why is it Okay to spend my tax dollars to make fun of my ethnicity?

Sara W. writes:

Have we as Americans become so self-obsessed and weak that religions are no longer able to show symbols of belief? Our "Land of the Free" is turning into the land that can't say Christmas, post a cross, study historical literature, or even put on a middle school play out of fear that we may offend someone.

America doesn't need to worry about terrorists attacking from the outside. We need to worry about our own self-destruction. The extremist groups can just sit back and watch us implode ourselves.

Russ B. in Oregon writes:

It appears that the African American students at Purdue University are seeking supremacy rather than equality. Each student group should be allotted the same amount of funds. If those funds are not enough for a group to do a field trip, they can do a fund raiser event to supplement their allotted funds. That would be equality.

Phil P. writes:

I would like to respond to ...the exponential rise of political correctness. What I find truly ironic in the "Begins with "N " item [of last week's column] is that the complaint is by one parent of an African-American honors student who— I will wager— listens, on a daily basis, to hip-hop music that routinely uses the same word.

We cannot undo or rewrite history. The "N" word was part of and may still be part of our everyday lexicon. Only now Causcasians cannot use the word to describe anyone while the African-American culture uses the word as a sense of ill-placed pride.

[Huckleberry Finn] is one of the all-time classics [told through] Huckleberry Finn's perspective. Why is that wrong? Shall we go down the list of classic literature and begin to remove them from shelves because of language, subject matter, tone, setting, theme, or any other literary tool?

Travis B. corrects us:

There is a geographical error in your column this week concerning the location of Whitman/Whitworth College. Your column inaccurately stated that Whitman College is in Spokane, Wash. Whitman College is in Walla Walla, Wash. Whitworth College is in Spokane.

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