Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Hate Group Plans Rally

Tim Evans, writing in the Indianapolis Star:

In a state still trying to shake a legacy of antiblack sentiment and Ku Klux Klan activity, a different breed of racism is taking root.

The National Socialist Movement, which bills itself as "America's Nazi Party," has announced plans to conduct a White Unity Rally on Aug. 24 at the Statehouse.
The rally, sparked by the rapid growth of the city's Hispanic population, will be the first public anti-immigration event in Indianapolis and the first gathering by a recognized hate group since 13 Klansmen gathered at the Statehouse in January 1999.

Organizers say they want to promote their belief that white populations are being forced to adapt to non-American cultures.

"They are dragging down the economy and stealing jobs . . . making a lot of Americans feel like second-class citizens," Jeff Schoep, national commander of the National Socialist Movement, said of the city's new immigrants.

City officials and civil rights advocates say the group has a right to air its views, even if people don't agree with them.

"The First Amendment is at its most important when we are dealing with ideas we don't like," said Ken Falk of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union. "We want ideas out where everyone can observe them and decide on their own whether they are worthy."

Mark Potok, spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., said the rally was part of a swelling anti-immigration movement that found legs after the 2001 terrorist strikes. It's also fueled by the nation's growing Hispanic population.

"Groups like this tend to go to communities experiencing a major ethnic change and try to take advantage of that," Potok said.

Indianapolis fits that label.

The city's Hispanic population grew from 8,450 to more than 33,000 from 1990 to 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That immigration, Schoep said, has become "the country's biggest problem," with white Americans as the victim.

In the past year, his group, with Indiana chapters in Alexandria and Osceola, has rallied in Topeka, Kan., Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Berwyn, Ill. This will be its first event in Indianapolis.

The rally will come just weeks after an anti-immigration flier targeting Hispanics was distributed locally by supporters of the National Alliance, of West Virginia.

Schoep said he expected 50 to 100 members of his group, many wearing uniforms similar to those worn by Adolf Hitler's supporters, to attend the Indianapolis rally.

But community leaders are hoping for a better turnout at another event on the same day.

"The goal will be to celebrate the diversity in Indianapolis and be thankful that everyone doesn't act, look and think alike," said City-County Councilwoman Karen Celestino Horseman.

"If we are going to be a 21st century community, we have to show we are welcoming to other cultures and people. Hopefully, we'll get our message out loud and clear."

Ricardo Gambetta, the city's director of Latino affairs, said the alternate event, whose location has not been set, would "send the message that this city will not tolerate this kind of rally."

Monday, July 28, 2003

On Netscape Today I found this:

Words Just Too Dirty to Say Out Loud

"Get a bar of soap. Wash your mouth out. This is how bad our language has gotten: Only a handful of words are so foul-mouthed and truly awful that they can be considered taboo, according to the authors of the new edition of the Collins English Dictionary, which is published in Great Britain.

In fact, there are only 16 such words left in the English language. You can guess one of them. It begins with an "f."

London's Telegraph newspaper says the rest have been downgraded to mere "slang." In fact, these same editors predict that the asterisks writers use to soften taboo words in print will soon become an historical nicety. No ****!"

To come to this radical conclusion that there are only 16 really nasty words left in our language, the editors of the Collins English Dictionary examined hundreds of millions of words that are used by the media. The reasoning is that if a word is commonly uttered by TV reporters or written by newspaper journalists, then it's acceptable in everyday conversation. Jeremy Butterfield, the dictionary's editor, told The Telegraph, "There is a certain amount of subjectivity about this. It is not automatically the case that repeated use 'de-taboos' words. It's to do with the majority view that such-and-such a word is not acceptable. There can be new taboo words, not ones to do with body parts, but ones addressing race or sexuality."

When we hear these bad words on television, it has an interesting effect, according to a British media watchdog group called Mediawatch-uk: It devastates our communication skills. "Far from there being a natural evolution in language, there has been a consistent effort to promote obscenity, swearing, and profanity against the wishes of most people," Mediawatch-uk said in a statement. "The effect of this on educational standards and communication skills has been devastating."

And that's part of the point: We curse in order to shock. But we've cursed so much, it's lost it's ability to shock. There was a time not too long ago when it was just not acceptable to curse. Parents didn't swear at their kids, and kids--if they had any sense at all--didn't swear (within earshot) of their parents. Teachers didn't swear at their students. Coaches never swore--publicly. And remember those seven words that were never ever uttered on television? Yeah, you can hear them almost every night now on your favorite cable TV shows. Something has changed.

James O'Connor says that what we say and how we say it is a reflection of who we are. And we don't look so fine right now. To that end, O'Connor has founded the Cuss Control Academy in Lake Forest, Illinois and written a book called "Cuss Control."

O'Connor has devised the cure for the common curse:

10 Tips for Taming Your Tongue

Recognize that swearing does damage.
Start by eliminating casual swearing.
Think positively.
Practice patience.
Cope, don't cuss.
Stop complaining.
Seek alternative words.
Make your point politely.
Think of what you should have said instead.
Work at it.

And it never hurts to hear Mom's voice in your head telling you to mind your mouth."