Unethical Website, the Sequel

The Special Olympics, now in the business of censoring the English language, has applied technology to the task with a new website, http://www.rwordcounter.org. The site allows one to enter a URL and have the site immediately searched for the offending words “retard,” and “retarded,” sort of like little teeny versions of Big Brother’s thought-police rifling through your closets and under your mattresses for bootleg copies of The Bible or Paradise Lost. Then, once the website under surveillance passes the Special Olympics Appropriate Senstitivity and Inoffensive Expression Test, it can proudly display a banner that proclaims it Clean.

Too bad the website itself is unethical, for two reasons:

1. Its purpose violates the ethical values of autonomy, fairness, tolerance, equity, openness, process, respect, and American citizenship, and

2. It is incompetent and a fraud: the damn thing doesn’t work, or at least didn’t the two times I tried it on Ethics Alarms. Apparently I could make a terrible joke here about who must have designed the site, and it would still tell me that my site was “r-word free.” I am thinking the joke, however, and hope that when the folks at the Special Olympics devise a way to detect that, as I’m certain they would love to do, their R-Word Brain Purging Unit works just as well.

Unethical Website: www.r-word.org

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, criticized for using the word “retarded’ during a private meeting last summer, has told advocates for the mentally disabled that he will join their campaign to help end the use of the word.

I’m sure he will. Emanuel, like too many politicians, is willing to throw Freedom of Speech and thought under the bus if it gets him out of hot water with the politically correct. But while the efforts of the Special Olympics to “end the r-word,” as its website http://www.r-word.org  puts it, are understandable and well-intentioned, they couldn’t be more wrong. Or dangerous. Continue reading

Florida, Facebook, and Teacher Conduct

Two teachers are out of a job. Both share some responsibility for their fates. The question is how much, and whether their school districts over-reacted to their conduct.

The easier of the two tales, and by far the funnier, took place in Prairie Village, a suburb of Kansas City, Kansas.  A Mission Valley middle school teacher (make that ex-teacher) named Ryan Haraughty was drawing a map of the United States on the blackboard and drew Florida out of proportion. The extra-long, engorged Florida drew snickers from his teen age students, which Haraughty acknowledged by quipping, “Florida got excited.” Hilarity ensued. Continue reading