College Releases Guide of Offensive Words and Phrases for Students to Avoid
Jan 16, 2017 by Raven Clabough
The PC movement continues to barrel through college campuses across the country with extraordinary steam as exemplified by a new campaign against so-called offensive language at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, in which students are asked to avoid innocuous words and phrases like “you guys” and “crazy.” The school published a guide for its “Check Yourself Educational Campaign” in which it lists a set of terms and words that are said to be offensive.
“Sometimes we say things without realizing the impact they may have on others,” suggests the campaign. “Take time to educate yourself about language and the histories of oppression. This list is not extensive, but touches on common identities and concepts. Read them. Consider them. Understand them. And Check Yourself before you use them.”
While a number of the expressions found within the guide would generally be classified as offensive, such as racial slurs, derogatory terms, and curse words, others are harmless colloquialisms.
The guide spends a lot of time discussing terminology that can be perceived as offensive by the LGBTQ community.
For example, it instructs students to avoid asking about the gender of a trans person from someone other than the transgender individual. Similarly, students are not allowed to make claims that bisexuality does not exist and that people are simply either gay or straight. The reason? “This denies the fluidity of sexuality and dismisses people’s experiences and definitions of self.” At the same time, however, students are asked not to make such statements as “I think everyone is really bisexual” because it then denies bisexual students of their individuality as bisexuals.
It also prohibits students from using terms like “she-male,” “she-he,” and “tranny,” as they “dehumanize transgender women.” It asks students to stop exclaiming that something is “so gay” as a “negative adjective.” All derogatory terms for homosexuals such as “faggot” and “dyke” appear on the list.
The guide also showcases an underlying anti-male attitude, as it takes a stand on using words referring to “people with vaginas to express that someone is weak or emotional dehumanizes women and perpetuates misogyny and sexism” but makes no such point regarding men and derogatory words typically used for males.
It instructs students to avoid using terminology having to do with female promiscuity, such as “ho” and “slut.” The reasoning is bizarre as it seems to indicate that racism somehow plays into the use of these words. It also seems to justify a sexually promiscuous lifestyle as one that should be accepted. The guide asserts that the use of these terms does the following: “Dismisses anyone seen as being ‘too sexual’, particularly sex workers, women, LGBTQIA+ people, and people of color. Perpetuates negativity towards sex itself. Promotes a sexual double standard.”
Additionally, students are asked to avoid the phrase “illegal aliens” because it apparently reduces undocumented immigrants to “something less than human.”
Students are discouraged from using terms like “ghetto” or “ratchet” because it associates “people of color” with negative characteristics of being “poor” or “dangerous.”
The guide also asks students to avoid terminology that would amount to body-shaming, specifically by referring to someone as fat, as the guide claims such a word reinforces “harmful assumptions that fat people are gluttonous and are fat because they have no constraints around food.” Students are asked not to refer to themselves as fat for the same reasons.
It continues by stating that the term audaciously implies “that there is an acceptable amount of food to eat and anything more is disgusting, or that enjoying too much food is disgusting.”
“Ugly” also appears on the list, because it somehow “can be connected back to white supremacist, ableist, sizeist standards of beauty.”
Any reference to a person’s inability to execute a task, such as “retarded,” “lame,” “dumb,” and “crazy” are also no-nos because they allegedly target “mental, emotional, and physical disabilities as objects for ridicule.”
But of all the items prohibited by the guide, perhaps the most absurd is the phrase “you guys,” which apparently generalizes “a group of people to be masculine,” and fails to properly address the various identities of those in the room.
The guide, like all other PC efforts, is yet another attempt at preventing hurt feelings. It contributes to students’ inflated sense of self and their delusions that they should never have to experience confrontation or differing viewpoints that they may perceive as offensive. Of course, the PC movement encourages all viewpoints to be accepted, unless they are conservative or Christian. Those are the viewpoints deemed hateful, and anyone holding them should obviously be told they are wrong.
Institutions of higher education are doing a dramatic disservice to their students by guarding them from all that can hurt their egos. Greg Lukianoff, a constitutional lawyer and the president and CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist who studies the American culture wars, addressed this very issue in the September 2015 issue of The Atlantic in an article entitled “The Coddling of the American Mind.”
They contend that political correctness has morphed into an even more restrictive movement that not only seeks to limit free speech but also attempts to punish anyone who interferes with those goals, which fails to prepare students for real-world scenarios. They wrote:
It prepares them poorly for professional life, which often demands intellectual engagement with people and ideas one might find uncongenial or wrong. The harm may be more immediate, too. A campus culture devoted to policing speech and punishing speakers is likely to engender patterns of thought that are surprisingly similar to those long identified by cognitive behavioral therapists as causes of depression and anxiety. The new protectiveness may be teaching students to think pathologically.
These PC efforts encourage students to avoid all that they fear and all that offends them, thereby further increasing their sensitivity to things that may otherwise have not offended them. “In the name of emotional well-being, college students are increasingly demanding protection from words and ideas they don’t like,” Lukianoff and Haidt wrote.
Schools such as the University of Wisconsin-River Falls are only too happy to comply. And as long as the students remain on campus, they may be able to safely avoid being offended, but who will protect them when they graduate?
Why Political Correctness Is War By Other Means
Jan 16, 2017 By Raffaele Ventura
Political correctness was not such a bad idea in the beginning. Western societies have become terribly complex, and a healthy control of language can curb the rise of conflict—although often all it takes is a touch of politeness. This is the great lesson from sixteenth-century European wars of religion: some actions and words must be left outside the public space.
Five centuries later things have escalated, and PC is now a nightmare. It does not only define some areas where it now seems impossible to say anything (for example the so-called “safe spaces” of U.S. universities) but also fails in its basic function: instead of appeasing, it provides new and endless reasons for conflict.
By identifying victims at all levels and complaining about aggressions and micro-aggressions behind every exchange of communication, PC ends up fomenting a “just war” available to everyone. It is easy to see who profits from this permanent conflict: the social class that manages it. The victory of the super-incorrect Donald Trump, a white person tit for tat, is nonetheless a sign of the frailty of this model of integration.
How Tolerance Became Crucial to Peace
Earlier, political correctness functioned differently. When the sixteenth-century political philosopher Michel de Montaigne lived, for example, those who wanted to preserve the neutrality of the public sphere were simply called “politiques.” To end the civil war between Catholics and Protestants it was imperative to break down the vicious circle of vengeance.
The starting cause of violence among factions—a “trigger,” in the language of PC—was often a mere insult, a rather bold theological opinion, or an oath. Thus rulers convened and decided that to guarantee public order there was no other solution but to intervene in the sphere of language, extending the monarch’s jurisdiction over gatherings, theatrical shows, and printed books.
The great jurist Jean Bodin invented the principle of absolute sovereignty to free political power from the constraints of a specific religious faction, the Catholic one. It worked. In time, all these neutralizing devices, at the service of a super partes power, simultaneously designed a certain idea of public space (neutralized) and a certain idea of the state (neutralizer). Within this sphere, inside an accurately established perimeter of freedom, arose the modern liberal society. In the seventeenth century, philosophers such as Pierre Bayle and John Locke defined this system more accurately under the name of “tolerance.”
Americans, who experienced civil war more recently, have not forgotten some pragmatic adjustments. An exemplary case: when the massacre at Charlie Hebdo took place, the media decided not to publish the offensive cartoons that provoked the terrorist attack on the French satire magazine. It was a technically “secular” choice, if by secular we mean the exclusion of the divine—albeit in the shape of blasphemy—from public space.
It was undoubtedly a politically correct choice that took into account the sensitivity of part of the American public. Some intellectuals, including Salman Rushdie, questioned its cowardice; others instead hailed such carefulness as heritage of Abraham Lincoln’s political genius or the influence of British colonial know-how.
The Neutralization of Culture
There was also a more recent influence on outlets’ decision to not republish the Charlie Hebdo cartoons: the debates about multiculturalism over in the last 30 years within universities and the liberal blogosphere, where concepts such as “safe space” and “trigger warning” had been theorized. It basically concluded that minorities must be sheltered from all that might offend or provoke them.
The problem is that the list of triggers is subjective and potentially infinite. So at the precise moment when their leaders decide to make the press or universities safe, their ability to transmit and elaborate knowledge is compromised. It is the PC dilemma, which through ellipses and euphemisms runs the risk of offering us a completely non-sensical reality. To what extent can we remain neutral?
A perfect safe space, in effect, is merely an empty set. According to these criteria, the cultural precept on which Western societies are founded is certainly not safe. As PC activists have long since denounced, the authors studied in universities were previously mostly white, male, heterosexual, and dead. Values and knowledge previously considered universal are rooted in a precise historical experience. According to Difference Feminists, even abstract disciplines such as logic may be an expression of phallocentrism, while according to anti-colonial activists human rights are an instrument of imperialist domination.
With theories like these minorities can perceive Western culture, even in its apparently neutral aspects, as the ideology of a specific faction. Thus the preference accorded to certain authors in the public debate—even if they are called Montaigne or Bodin—becomes a trigger, as it indicates an oppressive relationship.
The Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor defended the need for an “identification policy” to avoid low self-esteem among minorities. To be truly politically correct, therefore, university programs should guarantee as much space to Montaigne as to Judith Butler, as much to Shakespeare and to the Antilles version of his works created by the poet Aimè Cèsaire. This vaste programme, however, presents first of all a resource-allocation problem: financial, temporal, and intellectual.
The first to criticise this system was Allan Bloom, the University of Chicago professor who in his book “The Closing of the American Mind” in 1987 highlighted an American academic culture corroded by relativism. According to Bloom, this so-called tolerance is a form of indifference to truth and falsity, to right and wrong. The identification policy side-effect was therefore some sort of “allotment” of cultural life: the urge to please everybody produced a system that failed in its primary mission, which was to pass on knowledge.
The Microwar of Everybody against Everybody
Obviously a racial, religious, or sexist-based insult might trigger a reaction. But what about a trivial “faux pas” like asking someone with Oriental somatic traits if he was born abroad? In guide-books distributed to students in American universities, this behavior is specifically condemned: it’s not a faux pas but a “micro-aggression.” The politically correct world owns plenty of potential victims asking for acknowledgement, compensation, and reparation. But are these really the foundations that can hold together a multicultural society?
According to philosopher Michael Walzer, who dedicated to military doctrine in 1977 a now-classic book, “Just and Unjust Wars,” “Aggression is the word used for a crime, and that crime is war”. If we believe in the meaning of those words, identifying a micro-aggression means to lay the foundations for a legitimate reaction in the contest of a micro-war.
It is not by chance that the most fervent defenders of PC in the United States are called “social justice warriors,” for behind their claims lies the idea of an already raging conflict, a permanent war named “unjustice.” But a war against unjustice is an endless war, and one anybody could declare on anybody, anytime. If the century of religious wars taught us something, it is that no peace is possible until justice is settled.
When in 1988 the Black Student Union managed to erase the list of compulsory first-year readings at Stanford University after judging them “racist” because they contained only white allegedly heterosexual male authors, among the cancelled books was Niccolo Machiavelli’s “The Prince.” It’s a real pity, because inside that text perhaps for the first time was exposed the ratio of the system upon which our societies are based: the principle of the politician’s autonomy.
According to the Florentinian secretary, a prince must be in some way unscrupulous. In other words, he must be above morality to be super partes. The century of wars of religion also taught that if the king wants to guarantee peace he must contain all the attempts from different factions to moralize each other, protecting public space from interference from all directions.
“Men offend for fear or for hate,” Machiavelli wrote: there is no way to maintain social cohesion unless the spiral of resentment is broken. Here comes the paradox: public space should be neutral, but it is not the place where you confront each other and establish what should be neutral. Unless you decide to live in a state of permanent war.
CONSERVATIVE STUDENTS ARRESTED FOR HANDING OUT CONSTITUTIONS
Jan 19, 2017 By Amber Athey
- Kellogg Community College is being sued after campus police arrested three conservative activists and college students while they were handing out pocket Constitutions and signing students up for a conservative student organization.
- Administrators told the activists that asking students if they “like freedom and liberty” was disruptive because students “don’t know that they can say ‘see ya later.’”
- The Alliance Defending Freedom has now filed a federal lawsuit against KCC, accusing the school of violating both the First and the Fourteenth Amendments.
Kellogg Community College is being sued after campus police arrested three conservative activists and college students while they were handing out pocket Constitutions and signing students up for a conservative student organization.
As detailed in video footage obtained exclusively by Campus Reform, a KCC student and two fellow conservative activists spent two to three hours handing out Constitutions and recruiting for a Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) chapter on campus in September before they were accosted by administrators and ultimately arrested for trespassing.
The three activists in the video are Nathan Berning, a Stanford student and employee of the Leadership Institute; Isaac Edikauskas, vice president of Michigan State YAL; and Shelly Gregoire, president of Kellogg YAL.
They were first stopped by Drew Hutchinson, the manager of Student Life at KCC, who told them they couldn’t approach students outside or engage them in conversation because it could “obstruct the student’s ability to get an education.”
“We ask that you don’t do it in the middle of everything, and part of that is because if we obstruct the student’s ability to get an education then it kind of becomes counterintuitive to the whole, um, right to speak, kind of Second Amendment rights [sic],” Hutchinson explained, intending to cite the First Amendment.
The activists explained that they weren’t physically stopping students, and were allowing students to decide whether to stop and talk, with Gregorie stating that “[when] we’ve had people who have said they’re not interested, we don’t go after them.”
Hutchinson denied that students could make the decision not to stop, asserting that “these students also don’t know that they can say ‘see ya later.’”
Edikauskas then asked a student walking by if he “likes freedom and liberty.” The student replied, “sure” and stopped to talk to Edikauskas.
Hutchinson, however, declared that this action broke the Student Code of Conduct because the student was on their way to “educational places,” and the question, “Do you like freedom and liberty?” was too “provocative.”
“You’re asking them a provocative question in which you are instigating whether they are American or not. It’s a very powerful question,” Hutchinson said, arguing that the “social pressures” of such a question would compel the students to stop.
The activists and Hutchinson continued to debate school policy until Hutchinson eventually exclaimed in exasperation that “I’m digging myself into a hole here!”
Berning told Campus Reform that about twenty minutes later, a security officer came up to the group and asked them why they hadn’t left campus, to which they responded that they felt as though the request violated their First Amendment rights.
Shortly thereafter, the activists were surrounded by several campus police officers and the Chief of Police, Harold West, who told them they were violating student conduct and that they would either have to leave the premises or move to a predetermined indoor location.
“Essentially what we’re asking you to do is comply and leave and get the proper permits,” West demanded. “Yes we do have civil rights, you have liberties, you have [the] First Amendment. However, when they start violating other people’s rights that’s when it starts to run into a problem.”
When Berning asked what rights they were violating, West responded, “You’re violating the school structure.”
A female police officer then explained to Gregoire that being arrested puts her academic career in jeopardy, and Gregoire responded, “I am. I’m putting my nursing degree in jeopardy.”
After the activists refused to leave the premises, the male police officer told them that they would be arrested and sent to jail for trespassing.
“I think we would be best off to handle it in court. Let the judicial system handle it,” said West.
Berning told Campus Reform that the three activists looked at each other, thinking, “I can’t believe this is happening.”
The activists were then placed under arrest and taken to jail.
Berning noted that while he was fully prepared to “stand up for the First Amendment” that day, he never expected that it would lead to an actual arrest.
“We knew what we were doing, we knew this could create change, but we didn’t go into it thinking we were going to get arrested. I thought they would just escort us off of campus,” he explained. “Once they said to us that they were going to arrest us, it just became a matter of principle that I was not going to leave”
“We were exercising our first amendment rights and they took us to jail for it and that showed me how important what we’re doing is,” Edikauskas told Campus Reform. “I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
“They’re telling me I can’t talk on a college campus; that’s ridiculous,” Berning concluded.
The Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal organization that advocates for constitutional rights and religious liberty, has filed a lawsuit against KCC alleging that the actions of administrators and campus police officers violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
“Free speech is a right, not a privilege that can be censored by university officials on a public campus,” ADF points out in a press release. “If public universities silence free speech on campus, they deny their students opportunities for engagement and learning. If public universities stifle these learning opportunities on campus, they impair a student’s ability to function in the real world.”