An editorial cartoon questioning the notion of slave reparations published by a student newspaper in Indiana was denounced as disrespectful of Purdue University's minority community and prompted an apology by the editor of the paper, The Exponent.

The cartoon, by Pulitzer-winner Pat Oliphant, features Abraham Lincoln as reluctant to hand out reparations to a group who already seems to have garnered a number of benefits. It also makes a side comment about blacks and the Academy Awards.

At a press conference, black student leaders said the comic goes against the spirit of Purdue's commitment to campus diversity. "I feel The Exponent has a long way to go in terms of long-term commitment with goals set forth in terms of diversity training and contacts among diverse groups," said junior Felix McElroy, president of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

Dave Stephens, editor in chief of The Exponent, apologized for running the comic. He said it is not an indication of what the paper's staff members believe.

Silence of the Campers

Face painting has been banned at 4-H camps in West Virginia and several other longstanding American Indian customs could also be axed because they might be offensive to Native Americans and violate federal law, reports The Associated Press.

For 80 years, West Virginia 4-H campers have been divided into four tribes that compete in sports by day then gather each evening at a council circle to conduct a variety of rituals, from performing rain dances to donning headdresses. Some of the traditions will continue as a yearlong investigation proceeds, but face painting, which some likened to using blackface, will be stopped and campers will no longer win "spirit sticks" for having the loudest tribal yell.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture employee apparently told officials at the West Virginia University Extension Service, which sponsors the clubs, that the rituals are offensive and could violate federal civil rights laws. The fear is that the university could lose at least $4.5 million a year in federal funds and millions more in research dollars if it continues to condone the practices.

At least three other states — Maryland, Virginia and Kentucky — are also trying to decide how to handle American Indian customs in their 4-H programs.

To read the Fox version of the story, click here.

No Shades of Gray

A Louisiana college fraternity was forced to move its annual Old South night party off campus because some students found the gray Confederate uniforms and ball gowns offensive, reports the AP.

The school's dean of student life said she would allow the event to take place on campus, saying the college also thinks the uniforms are offensive but the fraternity has a right to free speech and assembly.

But the Kappa Alpha fraternity decided to have it off campus anyway after about 20 students and faculty complained. Student Kristin Cochran, who helped organize the protest, said the event is "just not something that should be going on at a liberal arts college campus."

Silence of the Kindergartners

The parents of an upstate New York kindergartner who was prevented from saying grace over her lunch at school were in court last week trying to convince a judge to make the school stop silencing their child, reports The Washington Times.

The parents of 5-year-old Kayla Broadus sued the Saratoga Springs School District after her teacher hushed her for saying: "God is good. God is great. Thank you, God, for my food" over a snack of cupcakes and milk.

The school district initially said the child cannot pray aloud in school, but appeared to be willing to settle the case late last week. The school said it wants to settle what is becoming a national embarrassment and allow Kayla to pray if she doesn't disrupt her 19 classmates during instruction.

It Gets Better

A California journalist who is suing the city of Escondido claiming it violated his civil rights and those of others who use assistance dogs by keeping a hostile cat in the municipal library is now calling the attack a hate crime, reports KNSD-TV in San Diego.

Richard Espinosa, a former reporter for the North County Times, added the allegation to a $1.5 million lawsuit he filed against the city in November.

Espinosa was on assignment at the city library when his 50-pound Labrador mix, Kimba, was attacked by L.C., the library cat. The suit contends the city is guilty of a hate crime for putting the welfare of its "dangerous cat" above people with disabilities.

Espinosa, who sees perfectly well, relies on the state-certified assistance dog to help him deal with anxiety attacks and other health problems. He hopes the lawsuit will educate the public about the legal rights of people with "hidden disabilities."

From the Central Servers:

Larry P. writes:

If only McCarthy had Fox News and TongueTied to help him excite the fearful in the 50's, he'd still be finding a liberal-commie-pinko under every rock. But of course the seeds of McCarthyism are still being sown.

Whenever and wherever there is a demographic large enough to support advertisers that feel their jobs and lifestyles are being threatened by minorities, nonbelievers, homosexuals, women, science (i.e. evolution) and others, there will be those willing to pander them.

TongueTied's pandering to the threatened with fringe stories is meant only to push anger/frustration buttons, and like McCarthyism, it is shameful.

Rich C. from Little Elm, Texas, writes:

Wait a minute! The same Kansas City schools that have had $2 billion of our tax dollars poured into them to "remedy" desegregation (with some of those dollars coming from a court-imposed tax on the State of Missouri!) are now creating and operating Afrocentric schools? Where is the "diversity" in this? What a slap in the face for the taxpayers of Missouri.

Steve D. writes:

I'm a student at Michigan State University and I'd like to say that this special celebratory for black students is ridiculous. The hype is that it honors those who are the first in their families to get a degree and those who overcame great obstacles and financial burdens to be there. I got news for them — black students don't have a monopoly on hard times.

I think it's an excellent idea to honor students who are the first in their family to get a degree — why not include all races who fit that category?

Katherine R. writes:

I was a divorced mother with six young children and no child support. With student loans, I earned a civil engineering degree so that I would be able to sufficiently provide for my family instead of sitting and living off the system. Where is my "special recognition?" I guess because of my "white privilege," I will remain unnoticed.

Randall R. writes:

So, let me get this straight. The EU wants to limit not only the free speech of the citizens of its member nations, but their very thoughts and attitudes? Racism is something to be deplored, and often the actions of racist people are criminal, but to regulate the thought life and opinions of human beings is, perhaps, one of the greatest crimes that can be committed against humanity.

It brings to mind the very Nazi Germany that they condemn in the same set of laws, or the political and religious restrictions under the former Communist regimes that ruled much of what is now the EU.

Greg R. writes:

I eagerly await the prosecutions of numerous leaders of the Muslim communities in Europe under the various EU hate crimes statutes. Many of these leaders deny the Holocaust, others embrace it as a forward-thinking, progressive solution to the Jewish problem and look forward to applying it to Jews in Israel.

Mein Kampf seems almost tepid compared to the outpouring of violent hate speech directed at Jews from the Muslim communities of Europe.

From the old "blood libel" claims that Jews use gentile blood in Passover celebrations to the Muslim religious schools that use texts claiming that Islam calls for all Muslims to kill Jews, if any speech could ever be squarely within the meaning of these laws, the speech of these Muslims qualifies. I can imagine no clearer or more appropriate application of these laws. I will look forward to Fox questioning EU leaders about when they intend to bring charges. I won't look forward to the EU ever actually doing so.

Luke D. in Springfield, N.J., writes:

I weep for the future of the legal profession when graduating law students cannot come up with any better statement than "...if the national anthem is sung at graduation, I will puke..."

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