A deadly substance called political correctness has spread through American college campuses once again at an even higher rate.
A chain of events commenced far left principles course for an “equal” society. It opened the doors for those who follow the phrase “all men (and women) are created equal” and must of interpreted it as a law.
The Declaration of Independence was written to separate from Great Britain; it is not law. The law we do follow is the Bill of Rights: democracy, a republic for which we stand … not for communism nor for socialism.
Within America, the term PCP kept coming up, where it had turned radicals into socialists and communists. Debra Schultz, outspoken author of “To Reclaim a Legacy of Diversity,” said in her book:
“Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the New Left, feminists, and progressives … used their term ‘politically correct’ ironically, as a guard against their own orthodoxy in social change efforts.”
The New Left in Schultz’s time was the result of some of the 1960 radical students that had become professors and brought a new agenda in mind.
New York Times reporter Richard Bernstein gave spotlight to the term PCP that hit universities and said:
“The PCP’s themselves, there is a large body of belief in academia and elsewhere that a cluster of opinions about race, ecology, feminism, culture and foreign policy defines a kind of ‘correct’ attitude toward the problems of the world, a sort of unofficial ideology of the university.”
Bernstein went on to describe how conservatives and classical liberals took the phrase as a satirical jab. They believed the PC agenda would only pressure those who wouldn’t conform to the new curriculum and close debate at whatever cost, consequently hurt students along the process.
A thin line was made between being politically correct and being an extremist.
The University of Texas executed the politically correct process with a “Writing on Difference” program that would highlight “real-life concerns” about students. Unsurprisingly, UC Berkeley also followed suit at the time, when they held a “Political Correctness and Cultural Studies” conference on changing up their scholarships for non-white students.
Changes that seemed as a great step towards creating bonds with all cultures were the gravestone of academic orthodoxy.
Adding on, at Stanford University, a student named Amanda Kemp campaigned to eliminate a Western Civilization course. Kemp stated, “We, the non-Western-Europeans, have no greatness, no culture, no explanations, no beauty, perhaps no humanity.”
Triggered, Kemp believed the Western Civilization course was unfair to minorities, women, and early LGBTQ.
One can argue that at the time those three groups weren’t really represented and she was fighting for their voice; however, wanting to remove a course just because it seemed unfair was a ridiculous thing to campaign about.
In spite of the PC culture appearing compelling to students, administrators, and faculty (many of whom were ex 1960s radicals), political correctness took a petrifying turn.
In late December of 1990, Joan Beck, of the Chicago Tribune reported, “Groups of PCPs have disrupted classes, prevented speakers from being heard, burned controversial publications, [and] bullied professors into changing course content.”
Coincidentally, today, a considerable amount of college campuses will shut down any form of speech they see as hateful.
Chicago Tribune reporter Beck was giving insight about President Bush’s U.S. Secretary of Education Assistant, Michael Williams. Williams accused college scholarships of violating the 1964 Civil Rights Act towards minorities, in which PC student and faculty agreed with his outrageous claim.
“On some campuses, charges of being politically incorrect can get a professor dismissed, endanger a college newspaper editor’s job, force a student out of university housing or sentence an offender to attend sensitivity training seminars suggestive of Red China,” Beck said. “Fears of such charges have made it virtually impossible to talk about some issues altogether.”
The fear of backlash that Beck reported in the 90s has continued to occur to this day.
A report in 1991 from NY Times writer Robert McFadden stated, “After a racial incident on campus two years ago, Stanford University adopted a code prohibiting racially offensive speech. Since then, 100 colleges and universities have passed similar codes…”
The article went on to explain that the debate over political correctness will grow because of advocates of change and advocates of tradition who have evenly risen. McFadden believed American education along with free speech and equal opportunity were at risk.
And so, aren’t free speech and American education under attack now?
Furthermore, in 1991, Michael Kilian of the Chicago Tribune reported on another PC concern. Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (at the time) Lynne Cheney was concerned with many professors using arts and humanities as political tools. A case Cheney cited was of a professor in the University of Texas who abused their power by indoctrinating their freshman students with their feminist beliefs.
The course was supposed to be a required basic writing skills class for freshman.
“Intolerance in the form of political correctness is most rampant on the campuses of major resource universities, which have become increasingly insulated against the rest of the society… the best way to counter the problem is through increased media attention and public awareness of the debate over the issue.”
Therefore, PCP’s of the past, meet the PC Police of today.
In 2015 at the University of Missouri, protests broke out after alleged melodramatic “hate crimes” on campus. The result was ugly.
Heat Street and National Review reviewed 7, 400 emails that revealed an overwhelming loss of support from deep-rooted sports fans, donors, and alumni. Most emails mentioned parents and family members of UM students wanted nothing to do with the university; which included talks of transferring the student elsewhere.
In other emails students felt they were left high and dry.
The protests led to the resignation of University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe, Chancellor Bowen Loftin stepped down from his position, in May of 2016 athletic donations fell 72 percent, and since the events of 2015 freshmen enrollment decreased 35 percent.
Other exacerbated examples are:
- Students wanted Northern Arizona University President to resign after she suggests ‘safe spaces’ do not challenge students to “confront ideas they don’t like rather than hide from them.”
- A student group at the University of New Hampshire called “All Eyes on UNH” listed demands to the school administration and town officials that local shops should look elsewhere for revenue and quit the selling of ponchos and sombreros for Cinco de Mayo. It outlandishly suggested that cultural appropriation at UNH normalized racism.
- Resident assistants (RA) at Scripps College attached two flyers throughout the campus on “emotional labor” suggesting that non-white students should, “Call in professors and white peers to help educate their peer(s); Charge for your services.” The RA’s defined emotional labor as a way to address non-white students feelings, a way to educate them, making those students comfortable, or help their ability of living up to social expectations.
- There was also an incident at Yale University, of all places, where certain Halloween costumes were considered offensive. It led faculty member Erika Christakis and her husband to resign from their positions for using their freedom of speech to have fun.
- Ms. Christakis sent an email to students asking, “Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious … a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive? American universities were once a safe space not only for maturation but also for a certain regressive, or even transgressive, experience; increasingly, it seems, they have become places of censure and prohibition.”
- Protest capital University of Berkeley has shut down free speech with violence various times. Earlier this year, a controversial Milo Yiannopoulos event was shut down by anarchist groups — ANTIFA (Anti Fascists) and By Any Means Necessary — turning the free speech event into a riot.
Mayhem erupted as those groups violently attacked fans of Yiannopoulos and vandalized local shops. Some students claimed he was going to spew his “hate speech” towards Berkeley students.
Yet, isn’t sharing different ideas what the college experience is all about? Even veteran free speech advocate — who was a legit free speech advocate — of the 1960s, Lynne Hollander Savio, was saddened to see Berkeley affiliated with violence and denying free speech instead of promoting it.
Above all, political correctness has divided academia. College is where ideas collide, where thoughts clash, and where personal beliefs should be respected.
“Modern Educayshun,” written and directed by Neel Kolhatkur, is a vision of what hypersensitivity would look like in the near future.