Political Correctness is Numbing
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Political Correctness is Numbing
Political Correctness has, in the last few years, mutated from a useful instrument for
enlightenment and change into a symbol of public and private views gone awry. This controversial
philosophy is used by some special interests as a platform to force radical and often illogical teachings into
the classrooms of colleges and universities across the U.S.. Unlike the abortion issue or the federal deficit
which are very present forces guiding our national thought, political correctness (abbreviated as P.C.) is a
subliminal back-burner that is only brought to bear when an ethnically non-specific, gender neutral,
ageless, nameless, colorless, secular being or group takes issue with a verbal or written statement.
Unfortunately, its usefulness as an instrument to correct grievous wrongs such as rightfully offensive racial
and ethnic slurs, hate speech, prejudice, or inferior references has been diluted to the point of being absurd
and ridiculous. Many of the critics of traditio!
nal education have so abused the term that the cliquish trend to become politically correct is turning our
culture into a vanilla flavored, middle of the road, unopinionated society. If the P.C. movement continues
it’s literary censorship campaign through our college libraries and classrooms, we will be left without
anything thought provoking or mentally stimulating to debate as every verbal statement or written word
with this attribute will be deemed politically incorrect and offensive.
College campuses across the U.S. have been fertile ground for debate over PC issues since the late
1960’s. Early actions of this ideology, referred to as liberal humanism, ultra-radicalism, or “‘68
Philosophy” by Paul Berman in his book Debating P.C., centered on “identity politics” like woman’s rights,
gay and lesbian liberation, or ethnic revivals such as black nationalism. The phrase “politically correct”,
originally coined by Marxist fundamentalists to denote acceptable party behavior, was adopted by today’s
movement in the early 1980s and continues to be used to judge ideas on the basis of who they might
offend(5). This new thinking is becoming a dominant force on campus that seems to be “fostering a
decline in tolerance and a rise in intellectual intimidation”. New York’s liberal Bard College president
Leon Botstein states point blank, “Nobody wants to listen to the other side. On many campuses, you really
have a culture of forbidden questions.”(Henry 66) This typ!
e of censorship and politically correct blather permeates society and stifles the effective, democratic, two-
way debate of issues that are necessary for college students to develop structures of logic and reservoirs of
information that will be needed later to responsibly deal with larger issues.
Admittedly, political correctness has its place in rooting out and squelching hateful speech, racial
epithets, and truly obscene or condescending remarks. Prejudice or malicious and willful disregard toward
another person are offensive by any standard. If women, gays, and racial minorities are seeking special
protections, it is because they have been the objects of special attacks. One minority student in five
experiences “ethnoviolent attack”, including verbal assaults according to sociologist Howard Ehrlich as
quoted in a recent Newsweek article(Adler 49). The problem is that tolerance is being imposed in the form
of censorship codes that are so broad and subjective that ordinary opinions on politics or religion can’t be
discussed in open forum without drawing fire.
Campus politics and loose interpretations of various P.C. guidelines have been successful in
coercing a handful of well respected professors into self-censoring their views and opinions or caused them
to drop courses that touch on controversial topics. Professor Vincent Sarich of the University of California,
Berkeley wrote in the alumni magazine the university discriminates against white and Asian applicants
with it’s affirmative-action program. After 23 years of teaching his introduction to anthropology, Sarich is
unsure he will be allowed to teach the course after his department finishes the investigation of his views
(Adler 49). A mock court at the New York University Law School had to withdraw a case involving
custody rights of a lesbian mother after a student stated that “writing arguments (against the mother’s side)
is hurtful to a group of people and thus hurtful to all of us.” Professor Anthony Amsterdam responded by
pointing out the potential hazard that this vi!
ew poses by stating: “The declaration that any legal issue is not an open question in law school is a
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Political correctness, Etiquette, Pejoratives, Satire, Sociolinguistics, Hate speech, Self-censorship, Censorship, Correctness, George Orwell
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