racist

Fried chicken, collard greens and cornbread may have been one of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s favorite meals, but apparently serving it alongside a picture of the Civil Rights legend as a homage during Black History Month is “offensive.”

Wright State University this week apologized for a menu “of chicken, mashed potatoes, collard greens and cornbread under a picture of Martin Luther King Jr. and other famous black figures,” WHOI reports.

The Ohio-based public university’s Twitter account confirms as much:

apology

A picture of the menu was also posted on Twitter:

menupic

Wright State is not the only entity to take heat recently for trying to honor MLK by serving up some home-style Southern cuisine.

Last month, an Atlantic City casino was called “seriously racist” after serving fried chicken and collard greens on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, the New York Daily News reports. The casino’s restaurant manager – an African American chef who wanted to honor her hero – was baffled.

“Our general manager of the restaurant is an African-American female who wanted to come up with the menu to celebrate and honor Dr. King,” a casino manager told The Associated Press. “We allow our managers to run their restaurants. She did research and came up with an authentic recipe. It’s very clear these were his favorite foods.”

“The AP noted a 2008 article in Knoxville News Sentinel which quoted a guide leading a tour of King’s childhood home saying that one of the Civil Rights leader’s ‘favorite meal[s] was the Sunday feast of fried chicken, collard greens, black-eyed peas and corn bread,'” the Daily News reported.

As for Wright State, some said they felt the menu – which coincided with a campus panel discussion among active members of today’s civil rights movement – was rude and stereotyped the black community.

“I was really hurt (by the menu). Extremely hurt,” Billy Barabino, a senior organizational leadership major from New Jersey and president of the Black Student Union, told WHOI. “For me, it was a knock in the face for African (and) African- American individuals who have fought for us to be progressive. I was extremely offended by it because it minimizes who we are as people.”

Is it such a crime to try to honor and respect the black community by serving up food traditions?

As a daily newspaper reporter in Southern California for a decade, I often covered annual Juneteenth celebrations, which mark the end of slavery in the United States.

Along with spareribs, beans, macaroni salad and other picnic items – there was plenty of chicken, collard greens and cornbread. None of the families were ever offended by the potluck menu. And it was downright delicious.

Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix. (@JenniferKabbany)

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IMAGE: Mark Andbinder/Flickr

The Iowa City Press-Citizen has an in-depth (and depressing) look at the timeline of events that led the University of Iowa to remove an anti-racist statue from campus because some students utterly missed the point.

Vice President for Student Life Tom Rocklin repeatedly defended the school’s action against its own artist-in-residence. Try not to throw up when you read his response to a concerned law professor:

“While I understood that I would view the piece through the lens of my own privilege, hearing the students pour out their hearts as they described the fear they felt when the saw the piece was a visceral reminder that intent is only part of the question … and sometimes impact trumps intent.”

Keep holding back that impulse to wretch:

In the email [to a concerned student], Rocklin said it took five or 10 minutes between when he arrived on the Pentacrest and when the sculpture was taken down. But he described that time as being “excruciating” for community members who feared for their safety.

Orwell couldn’t have written the university’s official response any better:

The two-paragraph statement further said UI “respects freedom of speech, but the university is also responsible for ensuring that public discourse is respectful and sensitive.” As such, “there is no room for divisive, insensitive, and intolerant displays on this campus.”

The head of the art school ripped the head of PR for the statement:

“Are you aware that the work was clearly — to anyone who actually looked at it — an indictment of racial injustice in the U.S.?” …

“I think it would be important to interpret the work correctly. The UI statement gives a false impression about the meaning of the work of art and that contradicts our reason for being an institution of higher learning.”

Shake your head and weep:

To a question about what more Rocklin would say to [artist Serhat] Tanyolacar, Rocklin responded in one Dec. 5 email: “All I can say is that the students were not just hurt. Some of them were genuinely afraid that the KKK was on campus and might harm them.”

Read the full story.

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IMAGE: Sam Graham/Flickr

UPDATED

Several universities have recently admonished their students not to wear a variety of costumes for Halloween that could potentially offend people, frighten people, or reinforce stereotypes.

At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, for example, some students were warned against donning a Hannibal Lecter-inspired straightjacket costume because it’s offensive to people who struggle with a mental illness.

At the University of Southern Maine, two students wearing Ebola suits to a party prompted massive outrage, a situation that ultimately involved a call to the police.

And at Lehigh University, the entire Greek system has been warned not to host Halloween-themed parties on – or off – campus that could potentially upset any number of people.

Move over, war on Christmas – the war on Halloween on campuses across the country is in full effect.

Some universities offer subtle reminders to students, just little nudges from the campus politically correct police. An email to students at the University of Michigan on Oct. 29 titled “Halloween Safety” reminded readers to “choose a Halloween costume that does not disrespect others by promoting racial, cultural, gender or other stereotypes,” according to a copy of the email obtained by The College Fix.

But some go way overboard. Take this email recently sent to some University of Wisconsin-Madison students by one of its Residence Life coordinators:

Halloween: Questions to Ask Yourself before Donning a Costume

WEARING A FUNNY COSTUME?

Ask yourself: Is the humor based on “making fun” of real people, real human traits or cultures?Though intended to be funny, the “Mental Patient” costume by Disguise was considered demeaning, dehumanizing, and humiliating to individuals struggling with a mental illness and their families. Complete with a “Hannibal” type mask and a straightjacket, the costume reinforced stereotypes and fears about persons with mental illness.

WEARING A SCARY COSTUME?

Ask yourself: Is the “fear factor” based on real forms of violence or grotesque depictions of human traits? “This scary stud can empty out a full house just by walking through the door,” touts the tag line for Fright Catalog’s “Vato Loco” mask. The bandana clad, tattooed, brown-skinned vinyl creation makes light of gang violence, which takes a serious toll on families and neighborhoods across the country. The costume also sends the message that Latinos are violent.

WEARING A HISTORICAL COSTUME?

Ask yourself: If the costume is meant to be historical, does it further misinformation or historical and cultural inaccuracies? The “Indian” get-up prevails each year as culture-turned-costume. But did you know few Native Americans wore buckskin and headbands and even fewer wore them together? Did you know “war paint” and feathers carry religious meaning and were never worn by Native American children?

WEARING A “BEAUTIFUL” COSTUME?

Ask yourself: If the costume is meant to be beautiful, are these characteristics drawn from commercial references, such as movie characters? Too often, beautiful at Halloween means white, blonde, princess masks. What statement does your Halloween costume make about what constitutes beauty — and about who is beautiful and who isn’t?

“While some of the points she makes are legitimate – individuals certainly ought to think before donning a costume, especially in a place with so many international students and professors – I don’t really think that’s the issue here,” said the UW-M student who emailed the memo to The College Fix.

“We are college students and (supposedly) responsible, educated adults. Why, then, does our university feel the need to micromanage our lives? By attempting to impose their liberal ideals on our every move and action (“…what constitutes beauty…” etc.), they deny us the right to think for ourselves and, perhaps, learn from our own mistakes.”

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is not the only university to take political correctness to the next level in time for Halloween.

The University of Minnesota sent a letter to students “encouraging them to avoid ‘culturally insensitive’ costumes that might also land them in trouble with the university.” Specifically cited by UM are “costumes [that] inappropriately perpetuate racial, cultural and gender stereotypes.”

At the University of Southern Maine, where two students were chastised for wearing Ebola suit costumes, a student who was offended by the costumes told the Bangor Daily News: “There was a dead silence in the room, and you could see it on everyone’s faces, we were all terrified… I was thinking the worst, and I know everyone else was thinking the worst, too… We all thought the campus had become a control center.”

The university wants to use the Ebola nurse costume incident to “educate people about how something that was done in the spirit of having fun can be perceived as disrespectful and offensive to others,” USM’s dean of students Joy Pufhal told the Bangor Daily News.

Meanwhile, at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Penn., there’s new policy for Greek events aimed at preventing offensive parties and costumes throughout the year – but especially at holiday celebrations.

“We confront and reject discrimination in all its forms, including that based on age, color, disability, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, national  or ethnic origin, political beliefs, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, socio-economics, veteran status, or any differences that have been excuses for misunderstanding, dissension, or hatred,” the policy states.

“In the spirit of this statement, our belief is that any event sponsored or endorsed by a Fraternity or Sorority in Lehigh’s Greek Community, may not discriminate against any class listed above. Failure to adhere to this … would result in investigation and adjudication …. This includes on and off-campus events, activities and actions as well as actions taken on-line via use of social media.”

So much for people’s private lives staying private. The PC campus police at Lehigh presume to dictate how students operate everywhere, period.

Requests by The College Fix for details about this policy were not immediately returned.

This year’s admonishments follow along similar ones established in year’s past.

Last Halloween, a picture of four Washington University in St. Louis college students dressed up for Halloween in costumes resembling SEAL Team 6 members holding water guns toward a fifth student dressed like Osama bin Laden with the American flag draped in the background prompted outrage and controversy. A man wearing an Obama Halloween mask was deemed racist.

And the University of Colorado Boulder told students in a memo that “sombreros … geishas, ‘squaws,’ … cowboys and Indians” all fall under the insensitive category.

College Fix reporter Dominic Lynch is a student at Loyola University Chicago.

CORRECTION: An earlier edition of this article stated the cops were called on students wearing Ebola suits. In fact the students in the costumes reportedly called the police because they felt threatened.

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An eight year-old boy at Harold McCormick Elementary School in Elizabethton, Tennessee brought home a handout which stated those on Mount Rushmore were … racists.

The handout, provided by the Nation of Islam(!), was titled “What does it take to be on Mount Rushmore?” and noted that George Washington was a “prime breeder of black people,” and that Teddy Roosevelt called Africans “ape-like.”

Fox News reports:

There were also disparaging remarks made of Thomas Jefferson (he enslaved 200 Africans) and Abraham Lincoln.

She [the mother, Sommer Bauer] said her jaw dropped when she followed the link to a website that was listed on the handout. Imagine her surprise when up popped the Nation of Islam home page.

The Nation of Islam believes there is no God but Allah. They also aren’t all that keen on white folks or Jewish folks.

“It raised a number of red flags,” she said. “They are basically saying our Founding Fathers are racists.”

Sommer told me she reached out to the teacher for an explanation – hoping it was an honest mistake.

“At first, she did not recall which paper it was,” she said. “Later in the day, she found the paper and told me she didn’t like what it said – and said she must have printed it by mistake.”

The teacher also told Sommer that her son was not supposed to take the Nation of Islam handout home. It was supposed to stay in the classroom. That bit of news caused her great alarm.

Ms. Bauer said she is still waiting for the results of a promised investigation by the principal, but Fox reporter Todd Starnes managed to get a comment from the district superintendent.

“My goodness, that we would promote bigoted or racist points of view – merciful heavens,” Superintendent EC Alexander said. “I can assure you that is not the case.”

But Alexander offered a different version of events from the school’s, saying that the handout was “never meant for public distribution” and that Bauer’s son “took the handout from the teacher’s work station without her permission.”

Read the full article.

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A legal activist professor’s quest to convince the Federal Communications Commission to ban the NFL team name Washington “Redskins” on air by having it dubbed profanity gained steam Tuesday.

The chairman of the FCC said he will seriously consider the petition by George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf, which asks the agency to deny the renewal of a Washington Redskins-owned radio station license under the auspices that the repeated use of the word “Redskins” amounts to obscenity akin to “profanity” and a “hate crime.”

Banzhaf, a professor of public interest law, told The College Fix in an interview that the chairman’s comments represent “a very positive development” because it means a hearing will most likely be scheduled to address the petition.

Banzhaf has successfully lobbied the FCC in the past to force diversity regulations upon broadcasters, and he submitted his Redskins petition to the FCC earlier this month.proftp

“The agency would never countenance stations broadcasting words like ‘N*gga,’ ‘Sp*cks,’ ‘W*tB*cks,’ ‘F*gs,’ … even as the name of a team or a musical group,” the petition states. “If the N-word (like all the others) is impermissible because it offends many blacks, the repeated and unnecessary use of the R-word should also be because it similarly offends many Indians.”

Nevertheless, an ESPN poll taken in early September found that 71 percent of Americans think the name should not be changed, down from 89 percent in 1992.

At Tuesday’s news conference, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said his agency will review Banzhaf’s petition and deal with the issue “on its merits” and will “respond accordingly.”

“There are a lot of names and descriptions that were used over time that are inappropriate today,” Wheeler said. “And I think the name that is attributed to the Washington football club is one of those.”

But shortly after the petition had been filed, Wheeler had said that Redskins owner Dan Snyder should “see which way things are going” and make the decision himself. Wheeler’s new statements seem to represent an about-face to his previous comments.

Banzhaf said Wheeler now seems ready to confront the issue head-on, instead of waiting for Snyder to cave to public pressure alone.

“I am increasingly optimistic that the team name will have to be changed,” he said in an interview with The College Fix. “It’s very unusual for a majority of any agency to comment in your favor on a matter which is already before them.”

He said he does not expect them to take immediate action, however.

“In terms of timing, the agency tends to move slowly and deliberately on controversial issues,” he said.

The “threat” of the FCC to delay renewal of the radio station’s license will “move the industry towards seriously addressing the issue,” he said.

Banzhaf said any type of delay will have an “adverse and perhaps coercive effect” on the radio station and the team – “hanging like a Sword of Damocles over the station,” he said.

“It’s hard to see how a team can operate if its name isn’t going to be used on the air,” he said.

A ruling against the Washington Redskins could further tarnish the team after recent developments in which The Washington Post and the New York Daily News announced they would cease the use of the team’s name in its editorials.

In addition, the University of Minnesota has been caught in its own set of controversies involving the team, because the campus is set to host an NFL game in November between the Minnesota Vikings and the Washington Redskins. The university has asked the Redskins to not display its logo or sell any of its merchandise when they visit the campus stadium next month.

College Fix reporter Andrew Desidero is a student at The George Washington University.

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Katherine Timpf reports for National Review Online on the latest uproar over college students daring to wear sombreros and eat tacos on Tuesday:

A sorority at California State University Fullerton is in serious trouble because it hosted a Taco Tuesday event where students wore “culturally insensitive attire” such as sombreros.

The school’s chapter of Alpha Delta Pi hosted the event on August 19 as part of recruitment. Ninety percent of attendees wore costumes, which also included sarapes and “in some cases, gang costumes,” according to an article in the Daily Titan, the school’s official newspaper.

The sorority claims it never asked people to wear costumes and that some had chosen on their own to do so. CSUF isn’t buying it, though, and has decided to take “serious sanctions” against every single member of the sorority, whether she attended or not. … In addition to being banned from this semester’s recruitment, the sorority also faces a year of probation, through December 31, 2015.

ADPi must also develop and promote a “We’re a Culture, Not a Costume” program, an initiative that began at Ohio State University in 2011 to stop people from promoting racial and cultural stereotypes through Halloween costume choices.

Read the full article.

We here at The College Fix are not surprised by this ridiculous turn of events. Chronicling extreme overreactions by the campus political correctness police over Mexican-themed parties is something of a hobby for us:

Pi Beta Phi sororities’ all-you-can-eat “Pi Phiesta” taco bar fundraisers at their respective campuses to raise money for charity are deemed racist and culturally insensitive;

A sign at UCLA offers students a guide to a “racist-free Cinco de Mayo,” advice that included warning students not to speak their shoddy high school Spanish on the day;

At North Carolina State University, its dining services officials had to apologize for handing out “offensive” chocolate mustaches for dessert on Cinco de Mayo;

A similar kerfuffle also occurred at the University of Maryland after two Latino students were offended when the university’s dining services staff voluntarily wore fake mustaches and sombreros during its Cinco de Mayo dinner;

And at Stanford, more sombrero-wearing dining staff raised angst.

And all this was just in the last year alone.

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