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Just What the Dirty-Word Is Going On in Wilmington?

Political items removed from student union

By Jon Sanders

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May 09, 2003

This past semester several political items were removed, as soon they appeared, from the student union at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Among them: anti-war flyers labeling President George Bush a "bully," depicting Lady Liberty impaling a dove by its rectum on a sword, and having the U.S. flag being produced in the exhaust fumes of B-1 bombers; magazines containing a photograph of men engaging in anal sex; a large sign advertising "The Vagina Monologues" that called for all [offensive slang for vaginas] to "Unite!"; and flyers in support of war against Saddam Hussein.

Actually, only the last one was deemed offensive enough for removal from campus. The rest were allowed to stand.

Also deemed too offensive for UNCW this year was the song "Cotton Eye Joe" as performed by the group Rednex. The song used to be on the play list for UNCW basketball games, but it was pulled in February when a trustee complained.

The nature of its offense is not the Rednex version, however, but rather its roots as an old minstrel tune. As the trustee, Linda Upperman Smith, explained to the Wilmington Morning Star, "There are some very derogatory lyrics in the oldest version of the song that make reference to the ownership of a black man." The Star also reported that "Melton McLaurin, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, said because of its minstrel roots, even a modern remake of the old song could offend African-Americans."

Not too offensive for UNCW, however, was rapper Ludacris, who once sang that he hates it "when it's too many n------, not enough hoes." In fact, he was deemed not too offensive to the extent that the university shelled out $120,000 (half of it paid through student fees, the other half through ticket sales) to bring him and opening act Petey Pablo for a March 29 concert.

Here's a taste of what UNCW paid 120 large for. These are some of the lyrics from the Ludacris song "Move B-----": "Move b-----, get out the way / Get out the way b-----, get out the way / Move b----- (&c.) ... Get the f--- back / guard ya grill / There's somethin' wrong, we can't stay still / I've been / drankin' and bustin' two / and I been thankin' of bustin' you / Upside ya / m------------ forehead / And if your friends jump in, "Ohhh gurrlll", they'll / be mo' dead ... Is / there a bumper on your ass? No n-----! / I'm doin' a hundred on the / Highway / So if you do the speed limit, get the f--- outta my way / I'm / D.U.I., hardly ever caught sober / and you about to get ran the f--- / over ... F--- this rap s---, we clap b-----, two / in your body / Grab ya four, start a fight dog, ruin the party / So move / b-----, get out the way hoe / All you f------ m------------- make way for / 2-0."

Note no reference, historic or otherwise, to slavery.
Perhaps it bears remembering that it was a Wilmington middle-school teacher who got in a heap o' trouble this past year for assigning "niggardly" as a spelling word. So if a popular song used to contain references to slavery but no longer does, or if a word sounds like the "n-word" but isn't, it's offensive. But if the popular rapper uses the actual "n-word" (repeatedly) amid a flurry of profanities, threats and insults to women, and offensive slang for homosexuals, that's worth UNCW paying for?

What's behind this bizarre, apparently double-natured standard for offensiveness? How is it that pro-war flyers, which if nothing else reflected the sentiments of a large majority of North Carolinians and Americans, and a sanitized song with admittedly shady roots were treated as more offensive than a photograph of anal sex, references to women as slang for their vaginas, descriptions of women as b——es or "hoes" and boasts of violence to them, and desecrations of American symbols? If censorship had to be used, and if the basis for that censorship was that some would be offended by the speech in question, as it was here, then why were only the former censored and not the latter?

Put another way, just what the [here insert the word used 25 times in the Ludacris song "Get the (expletive deleted) Back"] is going on down Wilmington way?
Do those items that escaped censorship have anything in common? In fact, they do. They are all items of interest to the "protected" groups on campus: homosexuals, feminists, black activists (who politicize rap and hip-hop as forms of political dissent), and leftists in general.

What does that have to do with anything? Well, UNCW is very, very serious about ensuring "diversity" on campus. UNCW has a "Chancellor's Task Force for Diversity" tasked with "improving overall campus diversity" that on April 15 released its final report of recommendations.

Naturally the task force was told to place "special emphasis on racial/ethnic diversity." That's well in keeping with their peers across academe, where diversity is only skin deep and intellectual diversity is dangerous and probably offensive to somebody who's "diverse." The campus idea of diversity generally resembles a bag of Peanut M&M's™: different colors on the outside, same nutty interior.

Perhaps that's why UNCW students were forced to pay to give Ludacris a forum on campus, but students who voluntarily devised, photocopied (at their own expense) and posted pro-war posters on campus found out the next day that they had no forum after all.

 


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