Duke University recently launched a new political-correctness campaign to discourage the use of "offensive" words and phrases related to gender and sexuality.
The campaign consists of black-and-white images with students standing behind phrases "we don't say" such as "Man Up," "Don't Be a P****" and "No Homo." Underneath each phrase is an explanation for why it shouldn't be said:
- Man Up: "Because strength is not define by sex or gender."
- Don't Be a P****: "Because I don't believe that any gender is inferior."
- B****: "Because it insists that femininity is inherently negative."
- No Homo: "Because it means that showing any affection towards someone of the same sex is inherently bad."
- That's So Gay: "Because the words gay & stupid are not interchangeable."
This progressivist campaign is an attempt to censor free speech and control what is and is not acceptable to say and, therefore, think. Saying that "man up" is offensive because it refers to traditional masculine characteristics is akin to saying that masculinity itself is offensive. And a world without gender differences, without masculinity or femininity, "would be a pretty dismal place," said Dr. Mark Hendrickson, economics professor at Grove City College.
Dr. Hendrickson also noted that the campaign's proponents would likely not give the same consideration to conservative campus speakers. Would "anybody advocating the banning of a certain word or phrase... be willing to publicly say, 'I promise in return to never hinder a speech by a political figure with whose political philosophy I disagree?'" Hendrickson said.
People use different words in different ways, sometimes not meaning to be offensive at all, and is up to the audience to decide for themselves whether or not to be offended. Another censorship campaign banned the use of "illegal immigrant" on college campuses, as being somehow "racist," despite the fact that an "immigrant" is someone who has immigrated, and an "illegal immigrant" is simply someone who did not go through the proper legal channels to do so.
Banning, redefining and discouraging the use of certain words is just another way to control language, public opinion and, subsequently, public policy.
"As a thinking individual, I don't and didn't need some children from Duke University admonishing me for 'thinking any gender is inferior,'" said one commenter on the campaign's Facebook page. "Do you see what they did there? 'Any gender.' Not 'either gender.' It's all about redefining terms, redefining life."