Tongue Tied: Colombophobes, Islamaphobes & Old White Guys

Second-graders in Kim Mogilevsky's class in Boynton Beach, Fla., thought they were doing something nice when they spent two years raising money to buy cows and chickens for poverty-stricken families in Africa.

But the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida set them straight.

The Palm Beach Post reports that the animal rights group sent a letter to Mogilevsky asking her to "reconsider" her work with Heifer Project International, saying the project causes "pain, misery and killing ... that desensitizes children to the pain and suffering of animals."

Mogilevsky said she was upset, but undeterred, by the letter.

"It really broke my heart that somebody thought I was doing something wrong," she said. "I feel strongly about animal rights, but I also feel strongly that children who are starving should get help. The kids [here] worked really hard on this project, and they feel really good about it. I don't want them to think they haven't done good."

Colombophobes in Hollywood

Colombian activists say Arnold Schwarzenegger's latest action movie about a firefighter's efforts to avenge the terrorist killing of his wife and son is insulting and discriminatory against Colombians, reports The Associated Press.

Protesters appearing at a preview of the movie Collateral Damage said the movie cements stereotypes that Colombians are drug traffickers and guerillas instead of hardworking, educated people.

"It is discriminatory against Colombians," said Brian Jordan, a Franciscan priest. "The sins of the few should not be inflicted on the rest," he said, referring to the guerillas in Colombia's civil war.

And the Difference Is?

University of New Hampshire officials are up in arms over a proposal in the state Legislature to ban quotas, goals or guidelines based on gender, race, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation, reports the Manchester Union Leader. Such a ban would harm their efforts to diversify campuses, they say.

University of New Hampshire President Joan Leitzel said the school needs to increase diversity among its faculty members and student body in order to stay competitive. The university doesn't need quotas, she said, but does need goals and guidelines to assure it is meeting diversity objectives.

Rep. Michael Harrington, R-Barrington, the bill's sponsor, said his goal is to protect seats in university classrooms for New Hampshire residents. He said by setting out to diversify the campus population, the school is discriminating against New Hampshire students and job applicants who might not be in a minority group.

More Offensive History

In order to correct the "racist and patronizing attitudes" expressed on a plaque in Minnesota's Capitol rotunda about the Spanish-American War, a second one will be installed telling the truth about the war, reports the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

The first plaque commemorates the 13th Minnesota All Volunteer Infantry, which "battled to free the oppressed peoples of the Philippines, who suffered under the despotic rule of Spain." It was installed in 1948.

But the Philippine Study Group of Minnesota says the war against Spain was almost over by the time the Minnesotans got there. The Filipinos were close to defeating the Spanish and had already declared independence. In fact, the group says, most of the battles listed on the plaque were fought by the United States against Filipinos in a subsequent war now known as the Philippine-American War.

The offending plaque also calls the Filipinos "insurgents," the group says, when they were really fighting for independence of their homeland and refers to Philippine President Emilio Aguinaldo as "Chief Aguinaldo," as if he were an Indian tribal chief.

Similar complaints have been lodged about Spanish-American War plaques in California, Illinois and other states, but this is the first correction to be made, according to the group.

Forget Pearl Harbor

An online style guide published by the Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism at San Francisco State University says references to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor "should be used with extreme care because of the potential inflammatory effects upon" Japanese Americans.

The center, a joint effort by several minority journalists associations and funded by the Ford Foundation, says, "cries of 'Remember Pearl Harbor,' are still sometimes used to whip up anti-Japanese/Japanese American sentiment."

Protecting the Patrons

A Kentucky librarian who claims she was fired from her job at a public library for refusing to remove a cross necklace has sued the county claiming that her free speech rights were violated, reports The Washington Times.

When she was hired in August 1998 to work at the front desk in the Logan County Public Library, Kimberly Draper was aware of a dress code that forbids "clothing depicting religious, political, or potentially offensive decoration" but said she was assured that her cross was acceptable.

But according to the lawsuit, in April of last year Draper was ordered by an assistant library director to remove the necklace. She refused, and was eventually told to go home and to dress "appropriately" if she expected to work there anymore.

Libraries, one county official said, don't allow employees to wear religious medals because they are in direct contact with members of the public, who represent a broad spectrum of religious faiths and might be offended by the display.

The lawsuit seeks to have the library dress code declared "overly broad, unconstitutional and illegal."

NPR's 'Blacklist'

Terror expert Steven Emerson of the Investigative Project in Washington has been blackballed by taxpayer-financed National Public Radio because Islamic groups in the United States accused him of being an "Islamaphobe" before Sept. 11, writes columnist Jeff Jacoby of The Boston Globe.

NPR blacklisted Emerson in 1998 under pressure by Muslim extremists that labeled him a bigot for suggesting that radical Islamic terrorism is a threat to the United States. NPR officials vowed to keep Emerson off the air after complaints from the American Arab Action Network.

The network denies that it blacklists anyone and said more than three years ago that Emerson would be welcome back, but he has yet to appear even since 9/11.

Emerson himself says NPR has consistently suppressed news stories about militant Islamic groups in the United States. "It has allowed radical Muslim 'leaders' to have their say while ignoring the same leaders' statements and activities in support of Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad," he said.

From the Central Servers:

Greg M. in Austin, Texas, writes:

I wonder how the New York school district explains who bombed Pearl Harbor? Or who invaded Kuwait? Do you think they would accuse a teacher of "verbal corporal punishment" if they said the French invaded Germany in the late 700's? I think it was Huxley who said "facts don't cease to exist because they are ignored."

Steve M. of Lake Hopatcong, N.J., writes:

If we are not going to teach our children the truth, then why teach them at all?

Gregory B. writes:

The new revision of "Today's New International Version" of the Bible is not revising its language to gender-neutral to satisfy politically correct critics but rather to remain true to the original Greek and Hebrew.

Greek and Hebrew both have gender-neutral cases, and the Bible makes use of much gender-neutral language. Four hundred years ago when the Bible was first translated into English, gender-neutral language was not often used in English writing and therefore male terminology was often substituted for the original gender-neutral terminology.

This male terminology remained in the texts since due to tradition. The standard academic text, The New Oxford Annotated Bible, changed to gender-neutral language in 1991. This revision of America's best selling Bible merely corrects the language back to the original gender-neutral Hebrew and Greek.

Dave C. in Holland, Mich., writes:

With the constant erosion by the political correctness police of our American heritage (good and bad), it is saddening to know that the effort required to combat this sad destruction of our institutions and national heritage will take far more effort to maintain than they are exerting to destroy them.

Bob M. in Chico, Calif., writes:

When school administrators start pulling science projects like the one in Boulder, I wonder how people who are so uneducated can possibly educate our children.

The student's project — asking people to choose whether a Black or White Barbie doll was prettier — was almost exactly the same experiment used by the sociologist hired by the NAACP (under then- lead counsel Thurgood Marshall) to show that "separate but equal" schooling damages black children, forming the basis for the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education.

I think the ACLU's role in this story needs to be emphasized. Long criticized by the right as a bunch of politically correct weirdos, the ACLU in this case supported the student's right to display this science project and helped institute clear nondiscrimination rules that will, hopefully, keep similar over reaction by school officials in the future.

Elizabeth M. writes:

I'm afraid that your report on the Gender Neutral Bible failed to shock me. Changing "a man is justified by faith" to "a person is justified by faith" is hardly scandalous. The meaning isn't changed, it actually reflects what God was trying to say!

Annette N. wonders:

If we can no longer say that people came to this country to attain religious freedom, is that not changing history? And if we can no longer say that religion was an important part of the original settlers' life, how do we explain the actual reason we are here?