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Political correctness has negatively skewed conversations on college campuses

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Matthew Noyes

    If hearing “ladies and gentlemen” offends you, you’re probably a college student.

    The concept of political correctness is oppressive in nature. People deem certain words PC (politically correct) if someone thinks they are offensive. As reported by Campus Reform, “Merriam-Webster defines ‘politically correct’ as ‘conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated.’” In practice, it means that viewpoints and speech that aren’t far-left aren’t tolerated. The motive behind political correctness is to control what people can and can’t say. It’s a threat to free speech and freedom and must be fought.  

   Having a PC mindset means you care more about appeasing others than speaking the truth. Sometimes speaking up for what’s right makes people feel uncomfortable but such discourse is key to having a vibrant society. An example of political correctness in action comes from the same article by Campus Reform. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Inclusive Excellence Center “aims to ‘raise awareness of microaggressions and their impact.’” Whether it comes from other students, professors, or university faculty, policing students over negligible differences in diction doesn’t help anyone. I’ve talked with too many students that tell me they’re afraid to say their opinion because it doesn’t fit the PC narrative.

    The PC culture doesn’t just discourage free speech, quite often it shuts it down. In recent years, we have seen riots erupt when conservative speakers come to college campuses. The birthplace of the free speech movement, UC Berkeley, has become one of many campuses that are not safe for freedom-loving students. CNN reported that when Milo Yiannopoulos spoke at Berkeley, rioters attacked the event by shutting it down, assaulting conservatives, and throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails, causing $100,000 of damage. At a later event in which conservative Ben Shapiro spoke, large numbers of police officers were needed to secure the event because of the threat of violence from the left. These aren’t isolated instances, and it happens far too frequently.

    It’s one thing to protest and another to assault your opponents. On college campuses, anything that certain professors or students disagree with is labeled hate speech and shut down. This is a fascist tactic that poses a real threat to campus culture.  If you disagree with someone, don’t be afraid of them speaking. Free speech means you have the right to say what you want. Sometimes you have to listen to people you disagree with. You don’t have the right to control what someone else says, so long as they are not explicitly calling for or defending violence.

   Colleges and universities are no longer places of open minds, tolerance, or critical thinking as a direct result of political correctness. To fix this problem, we need first to call out political correctness for what it is and speak the truth. Second, we have to be open-minded and realize that those who disagree with you generally have good intentions. People need to man up and accept that they may have to hear things they disagree with and be bold enough to stand up for what they believe even if it’s not PC.

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Matthew Noyes is a conservative columnist and assistant opinions editor of the Albany Student Press. He is also president of the University at Albany's Turning Point USA chapter and a writer for Campus Reform. Noyes, a New Hampshire native, is a political science and Japanese double major.

2 Comments

  1. Julia
    April 16, 2018 at 4:09 pm — Reply

    If you think free speech = hate speech, you’re probably a racist. If you’re offended by people speaking out about equal rights for all people (what the author of this article is referring to), you’re probably an alt-right troll. If you think Milo Yiannopoulos, a white supremacist, should be able to speak on campuses, you’re probably a racist. If you think it’s ok for Ben Shapiro to say that gay and transgender people are mentally ill, you’re probably a homophobe.

  2. Daniel
    May 7, 2018 at 4:58 pm — Reply

    What a dumb, uninformed, non-critically thinking article. Jesus Christ he uses like 2 examples and doesnt delve into the issue at all, like why political correctness even is or WHAT it really is.

    Here are just a couple easy counter-arguments to consider:
    1. The reaction to Colin Kaepernick taking a knee (Fire him! Boycott the NFL!) Is political correctness
    2. Opposing gay couples in advertisements and childrens books is political correctness
    3. Disliking the new Star Wars TLJ because it has feminist characters and has only dumb or evil white guys (actual grievances from viewers) is political correctness
    4. Voting against Hillary for saying “basket of deplorables” is political correctness (and perfectly valid)
    5. Boycotting Starbucks for a f***ing red cup (instead of Christmas-themed) is political correctness. I mean its a fricking cup, what are these sensitive snowflakes on Fox News getting so upset about??
    6. Any talk of the War on Christmas is political correctness

    Now, my point is not for or against the thing. Im just saying its not all coming from the left or SJWs or whatever. I think people who are super against political correctness are often just picking on minorities for THEIR speech.

    But look at what happened in Dallas a few weeks ago when a restaurant posted pro-gun control words on their receipts. They got DEATH threats!! Was it from feminists? No.
    Look into Gamergate. More death threats (a lot). Was it from SJWs? No.
    Look up doxxing and revenge porn and who perpetrates it. Is it liberals and democrats? Ehh.

    So when it comes to free speech, are some protests of idiots like Milo Yiannopoulos really a priority? Do you really care about free speech? Or are you just tired of minorities speaking up and saying stuff you don’t like?

    I agree that its an issue but was it really worth writing this basiccc essay?? Couldnt you have focused on more serious threats to free speech? And not been so blatantly partisan and divisive? PEOPLE threaten free speech. They probably shouldn’t. And we should look at it critically no matter where its coming from.

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