Friday, April 27, 2007

NY County Enacts "Symbolic" Ban on Racial and Religious Epithets

By a vote of 15-2, on March 20 the Rockland County, New York legislature passed a Resolution declaring "a symbolic elimination of the use of the 'N' word and all derogatory words which may be offensive to any group in Rockland County". The introductory clauses in the resolution make it clear that it is also intended to extend to words that reference various religions in a derogatory manner. (Minutes of meeting.) The resolution has become law without the signature of County Executive Scott Vanderhoef, according to a report yesterday in Newsday. In a statement issued yesterday, Vanderhoef said that education rather than regulation of speech would be a better approach to eliminating offensive words. Similar resolutions have been approved by New York City, Westchester County and Nyack.