Monday, September 14, 2015

Political Correctness Means Living In Fear

I'm teaching my statistics classes the rudiments of Excel.  Tomorrow they're going to type some data into Excel, sort it, graph it, etc.  The data includes a list of the 50 states and, among other things, the cigarette tax and the adult smoking rate in each state.  We're going to see if there's a relationship (we'll get to "correlation" next week) between those two variables.

Along with the data I included some Gallup information about smoking.  Turns out California has the 2nd lowest rate of adult smokers (at least of cigarettes!) in the country, led only by Utah.  I asked the classes if anyone was surprised to find California to be so far down that list, and few were.  I then asked why Utah might have the lowest rate of smoking.


I could tell from the looks on their faces that it wasn't an "I don't know" silence; no, it was an "I'm afraid to say" silence.  In one class I called on a student and she was in obvious turmoil; "I can't say it" was all she could get out.

Everyone knew the likely answer.  Utah has a large population of Mormons, who in general don't smoke.  But my students were petrified to say that.  They feared that the mere mention of that particular religion would brand them as some sort of "-ist" or "-phobe".  I didn't even ask them to make a judgement call as to whether or not a religious prohibition against smoking is a net societal good or not, I merely asked them to identify a religious group.  And they couldn't, or wouldn't, do it.

What are we teaching them?

Perhaps we're teaching them that foolishness like this, in which the only appropriate response is ridicule and mockery, is entirely justified and reasonable:
We have a major microagression situation at, get this, Oberlin College.

Apparently there was an intramural soccer match scheduled at the same time as a Latin Heritage Club meeting. A White Male (uh oh) sent out an email to a Hispanic girl noting that he'd like to have her at the match, if she wasn't going to the Latin Club meeting.

He wrote the most racist sentence since Mein Kampf:
Hey, that talk looks pretty great, but on the off chance you aren't going or would rather play futbol instead the club team wants to go!!
Anyone see the problem there?

That's right, he said the f-word-- Futbol. He racistly appropriated the Spanish language.
Here's what the Lantina maniac wrote back to him....
The commenters on that blog post were correct in their reaction; anyone who gives any indication at all that La Niña (see what I did there?) is justified in her reaction is, IMNSHO, an idiot.  Our society, though, our culture, has empowered a college student to--do what exactly?  Act like a complete and total b***h because she can get away with it, and for no good reason?  What is so wonderful about being a victim, anyway?

I don't like the crop we're sowing, I'm tired of reaping these diseased vegetables.

UpdateThis is the most entertaining response I saw on the latter topic:
This person is purportedly a college student at a well regarded university. If she is falling apart when someone uses a Spanish word in a manner she doesn't like, she is bound to be one of two things. A SJW drain on the economy in the form of vexatious litigation to force goodthink and punish badthink or become the embittered crazy person you meet on the subway who takes everything as a personal slight/insult. Neither is a good outcome.


Jean said...

Holy moley. Your experience with your students is a real shock to me. I don't even know how to react. (And it's not like Mormons would take offense. I am LDS and I know. We'd be rather pleased than otherwise.) Good golly, how can they navigate life while never mentioning anybody?

Darren said...

That's exactly my point--they wouldn't have been saying anything offensive, but they were afraid that someone could be offended by it. THAT is what our culture is creating, the fear that *anything* could be considered offensive.

Jean said...

Yep, agreed. More and more little things are now considered offensive, *and* it's possible to ruin somebody over a bad joke or minor comment. No wonder they're afraid.

Anonymous said...

Jean: "how can they navigate life while never mentioning anybody?"

They learn to *NOT* mention things in *class*. Outside of school among close friends (who they trust), they can have honest discussions. Just not in school.

Steve Sailor calls political correctness a "war on noticing." I think that his phrase pretty much captures where we are today.

-Mark Roulo