Leftist Language-Control on Campus

How the "progressive" Gestapo rules the American campus.

Recently, the University of New Hampshire’s “Bias-Free Language Guide” (BFLG) was revealed to the public. There was a backlash and the President of UNH flew into damage-control mode.

Soon thereafter, administrators decided to pull the guide from its website.

While writing about the BFLG, I assured those readers who may not be in the know that UNH is all too typical of academia today.  About as outrageous as the BFLG was President Mark W. Huddleston’s assertion that speech “is free and unfettered” on UNH’s campus.

The contemporary campus is many things, but a bastion of free and unfettered speech is not one of them.

Take the University of California’s program on “Diversity and Faculty development.” The program identifies a host of “micro-aggressions.”  The latter are “the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.”

A chart is listed with three columns. In the far left column are “themes.”  In the middle column are “micro-aggression examples.”  In the far right column are the “messages” that these instances of micro-aggressions convey.

Below is a select list of illustrations :

Because of physical appearances or name, you assume a person to be “foreign-born.” By complimenting that person on his or her fluency in English—“You speak English very well”—you communicate this message:

“You are not a true American.”

If, upon encountering a “person of color” who happens to be good at math, you exclaim, “Wow! How did you become so good in math?” you imply that “people of color are generally not as intelligent as Whites.”

It may surprise some people to discover that appeals to “color blindness,” at least when they’re made by a white person—or a “_W_hite person”—indicates that the person in question “does not want to or need to acknowledge race.” 

Statements like, “When I look at you, I don’t see color;” “There is only one race, the human race;” “America is a melting pot;” and, “I don’t believe in race” are offensive.  Such statements amount to whites telling non-whites: “Assimilate to the dominant culture.”

Those who make these appeals to a color-blind ideal are in effect guilty of “denying the significance of a person of color’s racial/ethnic experience and history,” of “denying the individual as a racial/cultural being.”

Denials of one’s “racism,” “sexism,” and “heterosexism” suffice to convict one of such transgressions.

“I’m not a racist. I have several Black friends” implies that one could “never be racist” because of one’s circumstances.

“As a woman, I know what you go through as a racial minority” entails that “gender oppression” and “racial oppression” are comparable, or even identical, which in turn erroneously suggests that the woman under discussion could never be “racist.”

If one asks a racial minority, “Are you sure you were being followed in the store?” one is guilty of “denying the personal experience of individuals who experience bias.”

One of my personal favorites on UCLA’s list of black balled expressions is what this program refers to as “the myth of Meritocracy.”         

If you say, “I believe the most qualified person should get the job;” “America is the land of opportunity;” “Everyone can succeed in this society if they work hard enough;” or “Men and women have equal opportunities for achievement,” then you are culpable of some pretty bad stuff.

If you believe that individuals should be treated according to their merits—not their skin color or gender—then you stand condemned for saying things like: “The playing field is even so if women cannot make it, the problem is with them,” and “People of color are lazy and/or incompetent and need to work harder.”

According to Walter E. Williams, who also wrote a bit about UCLA’s “diversity” instruction, Thomas Sowell referred to these “micro-aggressions” as “micro-totalitarianisms.”

Indeed. But lest we get too depressed by the sheer joylessness, the life-draining, the deadly seriousness of these academic totalitarians, we should try having a good laugh at their expense.

I suggest some new items for the folks at UCLA or UNH or any of the Politically Correct storm troopers who are interested.

For starters, these regressive speech codes repeatedly use the language of “women” and “history” (as in “historically marginalized, oppressed,” etc.”).  But doesn’t this language reinforce and perpetuate Western male “patriarchy” and “misogyny?”  After all, etymologically, “woman” literally means “woman-man.”  That is, the very label of “woman” defines women in terms of their relation to and dependence upon men.

Why not replace “woman” with “estrogen-endowed _bipeds_” or “homo sapiens?” (“Human being” and, even worse, “person,” are normative or moral concepts.  As such, they are “exclusionary,” for they exclude non-human animals, fish, insects, and plants. In doing so, the use of “human beings” and “persons” facilitates speciesism.)

“History”—I mean “HIS-story”—genderizes (academic leftists love making up words) time. It also underscores the traditional Western prejudice that there is a single objective reality to which we have access.  

There isn’t “HIS-story.” There are just “_stories”—_and everybody has one.

Since “America” was named after Amerigo Vespucci, a white—or White—explorer, aren’t references to “America” and “American” an offense against indigenous peoples and people of color?  This being so, “Native American” and “African-American” must go: The former suggests that there was an America before the Europeans crossed the Atlantic to the Western hemisphere, and the latter is doubly offensive:

Not only is “America” a Eurocentric invention devised to honor a European, so too is “Africa” a name invented by white Europeans—the Romans!

But the greatest chuckle we can get from this self-parody from UCLA is the self-contradiction to be found at the very core of the PC ideology that it embodies.

Assuming for the moment, as this guide assumes, that “racism” is a meaningful notion. If “racism” is immoral, as this guide assumes, then it can only be so if something like a “color-blind” ideal is accepted.  If it is wrong to treat people differently or badly because of the color of their skin or their cultural background, then this means that we should treat people decently regardless of what they look like or where they’re from.

But UCLA regards color-blindness as a function or disguise for “racism.”

So it both is and isn’t “racist” to treat race as a morally irrelevant characteristic in one’s dealings with others.

If we don’t laugh, we will cry.