Young, Well-Educated, and Offended for a Reason

This article originally appeared on Campus.ie.

The Irish Independent is the latest in a series of publications to publish an article on how millennials hate free speech.
The writer asks “just why are millennials so sensitive?”
It follows the pattern as described by Medium of the various articles on how our young people are stifling free speech because they need to protected from opinions they don’t like.
Katie Byrne first begins by talking about how public figures like Germaine Greer and Julie Bindel were disinvited from giving talks at universities because of transphobic views.
Apparently people who call themselves feminists can’t be transphobic.
She mentions Trinity College banning BNP leader Nick Griffin from speaking a couple of years ago after student backlash.
She also talks about cultural appropriation, trigger warning and micro-aggressions, which have become go-to examples for those pointing at our out of control PC culture.
I have three main responses to these articles which purposely miss the point.

Continue reading “Young, Well-Educated, and Offended for a Reason”

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The Political Correctness Police

It is not just derogatory words that are at issue. It is assumptions as to how the world works without taking into account other viewpoints. The idea that you might define “opposing views as bigoted and illegitimate” perhaps might be because those views are, in fact, bigoted and illegitimate.

Johnathan Chait recently posted an article about the oppressive nature of political correctness. He defines political correctness as “a style of politics in which the more radical members of the left attempt to regulate political discourse by defining opposing views as bigoted and illegitimate.” The examples he uses of current day political correctness range from invocation of the term ‘mansplaining’, the use of ‘trigger warnings’ and the emergence of ‘micro-aggressions.’

His final conclusion is that political correctness is an ‘undemocratic creed’.

It is important to make a distinction at this point. Political correctness does not mean that certain types of speech are illegal. Yet, certain people are diverted from making certain statements for ‘fear’ that they might invoke the wrath of the political correctness police. Essentially he wants to live in a world where people can say what they want without facing criticism.

The basis of so-called politically correct speech is the idea that you have to be sensitive of other genders, races, sexualities and distinguishing characteristics. It is not surprising that these issues have emerged today given our growing awareness that society is not as binary as it once was.

When you have grown up in a world where you did not face societal boundaries, where you had more opportunities and did not have to worry about systemic discrimination you don’t need to worry so much about how things like speech can reinforce an unfair system. However, when you belong to any group of people who are treated as less than, language matters.

Continue reading “The Political Correctness Police”