Modern Political Correctness Is Censorship
Has modern political correctness become a form of regulation, censorship, and conservatism?
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I feel blessed to have known life before the advent of social media. These technologies may have inadvertently become vessels and instruments for an alarming social trend. Yes, modern political correctness is censorship.
Political correctness can be defined as “agreeing with the idea that people should be careful not use language or behave in a way that could offend a particular group of people” (Merriam-Webster dictionary). I cannot throw my full support behind this statement.
The movement for political correctness started off with good intentions. It began with the idea of restricting hate speech (speech that incites violence and vile threatening abuse) against minority and marginalised groups. It also sought to widen the borders of the expressive realm. However, the movement seems to have taken a drastic change. The intensity of demonetisation between the left and the right has manifested in an inability to listen and engage with opposition. This has resulted in the preservation of emotional well being of individuals and groups. It protects them from anything that might be disagreeable or offensive to them. In essence it presumes an extreme emotional and psychological fragility of individuals and groups. Political correctness is about censorship.
The new wave of global PCness has had massive effects on colleges and universities. Comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Maher, and Chris Rock avoid performing at US colleges stating that students are too sensitive and cannot take a joke. Free speech is being stifled in the higher education sectors due to hurt feelings taking priority over intellectual and academic debate. This largely driven student movement aims to protect individuals and groups from anything that might offend. This includes forms of speech and material that is taught and analysed on campus.
One of the main reasons to partake in higher education is to be challenged both formally and informally. The exposure to different ideas and perspectives, which is the reality of the world that we live in. How else can the youth be prepared for the diversity reality of our world?
Political Correctness is Censorship in higher education
Political Correctness is Censorship in Australia :
- Western Sydney University and University of Queensland has banned “sarcasm” and “ridicule”.
- Newcastle University believes “sportsmanlike” “man the offices” and “handicapped” are inappropriate words/terms.
- Federation University in Victoria has rules against hurting student’s feelings.
- Swinburne University of Technology behaviour policy does not allow you to make anyone feel “uncomfortable”
Political Correctness is Censorship in the US:
- US college students calling for warnings on literature presented to students. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achabe describes racial violence. The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald depicts physical abuse and misogyny. The idea is to warn students who have experienced racial or physical abuse, so that they can avoid material which might trigger emotional recall and upset them.
- In 1993 at the University of Pennsylvania an Israeli born student was charged with racial harassment for yelling “shut up you water buffaloes” to a group of noisy black sorority women. Buffalo translates to a Hebrew insult for a loud and rowdy person.
- In 2008 at Indiana University a white student was found guilty of racial harassment for reading Notre Dame vs The Klan. The picture of a clan group on the front cover of the book offended at least on student, hence the charge.
- The University of St Thomas in Minnesota organised an event called Hump Day (slang for mid week Wednesday) which included camels on campus. It was cancelled due to student protest for animal cruelty, money wastage and that is was insensitive to people from the Middle East.
Political Correctness Is Censorship in the UK:
- Maryam Namazie was banned from speaking at Warwick University due to her atheism. It was feared that it could incite hatred at the University.
- University of East Anglia banned students from wearing sombreros which were given out for free by a Tex-Mex restaurant because the student union decided that non Mexicans wearing these hats could be seen as racist.
- Oxford University cancelled a seminar on abortion after many female students complained that they would be offended by confirmed panel members that did not have a uterus, ie a man.
- Cardiff University banned feminist icon Germaine Greer from speaking at the University. They did not give her an honorary doctorate because she believes that transgender women can never be real women. She faced verbal abuse and accusations of inciting violence against the transgender community. The video below highlights her opinion on the matter. Note how the interviewer’s concern seems to be that Greer’s opinion offends people and the heavy implication that she should alter her opinion or change her stance on the basis that it offends people.
This issue is not only restricted to the education system. There is a general stifling of opinion in general society. It’s not an intelligent or evolved process. There is certainly nothing wrong with advocating social causes. However, a line has been crossed. The pursuit of championing a specific cause has led to a form of hysterical blindness. We are seeing the dismissal of challenge and opposing ideas. This is due to the allegiance one places for a certain side which can interfere with the ability to think critically. Acknowledging the opposing side’s view point, let alone granting merit to the other side equates to treason and betrayal.
This cruises missile approach to social issues has attempted to obliterate critical thought, if the critical thought conflicts. Too often I hear critical thought being labelled as “hate speech”. It’s easier to reject a challenge than to address it or to allow exposure to potential flaws in your opinion. In addition, too often people are being dismissed as racists, bigots, or phobic’s simply because they question a religion, an ethnicity, a culture, or a sub culture. Even worse is when a person gives you the Taylor Swift comeback “haters gonna hate” when your opinion conflicts with theirs. You know that you are scraping the bottom of the barrel when you get a response like that.
We all have the right to opinions and controversial opinions. We have the right to be challenged by opposition and the right to challenge the opposition without being labelled as haters or bigots and without being dismissed and silenced. You cannot expect all the liberties of free speech if you are not willing to grant it to others. The Old Simo website welcomes all opinions, all challenges, and all forms of opposition. That’s what our community is all about. BRING IT ON!!!! Sign Up to comment by clicking here