I was talking with an ex university professor recently who told me that he was very happy to be retired. He said that he was glad to be out of hornet’s nest and away from a world filled with so much political correctness it was hard to get through the day. Life on campus, he said, is rife with so many non-issue “issues” that life there is like walking bare foot on a sidewalk littered with broken glass.
He told me a story about how he once told a fellow professor that she “looked very nice today,” meaning of course that she had selected a particularly nice outfit. Rather than thank him for the gracious human compliment, the female professor took him to task for being a sexist and going out of his way to objectify her as an object (a piece of meat) to be admired.
“You wouldn’t say the same thing to a male colleague,” she scolded. The male professor was taken aback and told her that she was wrong. “I do say the same thing to male colleagues,” he responded, “I do it all the time.” The male professor also happened to be gay, so in no way was he even thinking about the objectification (or meat quality) of the female body when he said what he said.
Welcome to university life in 2016, where every word out of your mouth has to be filtered and censored for risk of offending someone, and where even paying a colleague a compliment can get you into hot water.
The ex-professor told me another story.
He mentioned the time when his university invited a well known, beloved woman speaker to lecture to students. While the speaker’s presentation was flawless and even held the audience spellbound, during the Q and A a well dressed young man stood up and said that the speaker had disparaged African Americans.
“I compliment you on a good talk, however you made one gross mistake that is offensive to the African American community,” he began. The speaker asked in a soft voice what the offensive remark was.
“In your introduction, you described yourself as being the black sheep of your family,” he said. “The use of the word black in this instance conotates negativity and undesirability and as such it casts a poor light on African American students. It is racist. “
The speaker swallowed hard, not quite sure what she should say when another woman professor in the audience stood up and complimented her on a stellar lecture and added that she was certainly entitled to express her views anyway she wanted to, including using any word she felt was appropriate to the lecture. Common sense won out in this instance because the easily triggered student who called the speaker a racist became so unpopular on campus that he eventually transferred to a school outside the
But this is a rare scenario. Generally, the triggered student is not
reprimanded but is joined by other triggered allies in the audience. United
Milo Yiannopoulos, the gay conservative Senior Editor at Breitbart and self proclaimed Internet troll, was scheduled to speak at
but his talk was cancelled after protests from left
leaning students even though the event was arranged months in advance by campus
Republicans. Villanova University
Milo’s lectures are taunted with epithets like racist,
homophobe, Islamophobe, misogynist, xenophobe, fascist and bigot. The words
come off student tongues like machine gun bullets. Sometimes the ruckus is so
uncontrolled security guards have to escort Milo
to the podium. Some protesting students wear face masks, an odd if somewhat
adolescent theatrical touch which is supposed invoke revolutionary fervor but
which instead raises questions of cowardice, i.e., why are you hiding your face
behind a mask?
We can see that the Left is changing because of the effects of the (left leaning) word policing as described in the first paragraphs of this column. There was a time not so long ago when only the right wing was crazy over censorship. In the 50s, 60s and 70s, it was conservatives who banned books and movies and even speakers (Communists, etc.) from college campuses. Today it is the Left. That’s why the term regressive left has come into vogue. A regressive leftist can be described as someone who has an inability to listen to contrary, uncomfortable viewpoints without throwing out accusations of bigotry, racism and white supremacy. All too frequently these words—racism, bigot-- are thrown out without any accompanying dialogue. Use of the word alone is supposed to shut down all debate. It’s what philosophy professor Christina Hoff means when she says, “In their war against intolerance, they take on the extremes of intolerance.”
Hoff also adds, “It’s going to be hard for future historians to understand what happened on American campuses in this decade.” This is true because freedom of expression on campus is being replaced by the right to feel comfortable.
It is true that sometimes
Milo’s narcissism and showmanship can be off putting. It
also doesn’t help that he is not always a nice person. He’s unnecessarily hard
on fat people but he makes sense when he comes out against the body positivity
movement. The body positivity movement teaches that you should love your body
type no matter what size it is. Yes, being 300 pounds is beautiful and you
don’t have to change a thing, even if weight that high puts you at risk of
He views Islam as the greatest threat to Western civilization and says that as a gay man he cannot live in any “moderate” Islamic country because he would be subject to the death penalty.
It’s my belief that Black Lives Matter would be greatly improved if they had a change in leadership.
isn’t the issue here, it’s the contagion known as political correctness. The
chronic emphasis on political correctness in society has helped create Milo,
just as it has propelled so many people to support Donald Trump. The fact is, people
do not want to be told what to think or what they can and cannot say.
Take the word racist, for instance. ‘Racist’ is so overused that it is beginning to lose its effectiveness. The word should be reserved for true racists, not for polite women speakers who talk about being the black sheep of the family.