Upon welcoming new students to WCU, I told some of my own stories as a “freshman,” only to find myself being told that the use of such wording is “sexist.” Oh, joy. Hear we go again. Freshman or First-Year? Which term do you prefer?”Freshman” is what I am used to, and “first year” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. In fact, I never heard of freshmen referred to as “first year students” before coming to WCU. I did hear the term “frosh” used sometimes.
The argument out there is that because “man” is present in “freshman,” the word is inherently sexist. Words are sexist?
Never mind the predators who stalk innocent women at night, or the CEO’s who abuse their female employees. We need to pick on some daily word in the English language. Believe it or not, this is actually considered a “scholarly debate.”
While we’re at it, let’s ban the words “mankind,” “human” and “chairman.” Let’s change woman to “womyn” and female to “femail.” These words are generally understood today, not to refer just to men, but to women, as well. It is simply a matter of the way that English language is structured that the masculine gender is used for a plural where both male and female members are present. Latin languages follow this pattern, as well. To suggest that we recreate the words tofit the needs of a few ambitious activists is to surrender our freedom of thought to being PC, or politically correct.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t be sensitive, but when we whine about words so basic like “mankind,” we’re taking this too far. It’s time to settle this squabble about semantics and move on to real issues.
I refuse to invoke “self-censorship,” and routinely worry about offending others all the time. Sometimes, I find myself thinking more of what not to say then what to say. Scary, huh? So, I am happily rejecting PC in favor of free thought. We don’t need political correctness to make us think we are not civilized on our own and must have our thoughts
and words restricted. Free speech is free speech, along with everything else that comes with it.
If students are going to be worried so much about what they can’t say because they have to be PC, then their right to free speech has been violated psychologically.
In “The New Thought Police: Inside the Left’s Assault on Free Speech and Free Minds,” Tammy Bruce, a self-described “openly gay, pro-choice, gunowning, pro-death penalty, liberal, voted-for-Reagan feminist,” stated that being PC has become “so compelled to resort to speech and mind control, thus contributing to a vicious circle of destroying individual liberty.” These are some powerful statements, but Bruce backs up her claims with examples, including the failure of N.O.W. (National Organization for Women) to speak out against O.J. Simpson’s history of spousal abuse for fear of offending African Americans.
Political Correctness defenders claim that it lessens discrimination. In theory, this sounds wonderful, but sadly, like the theory of Communism, it is a myth. PC is all too selective.
Consider the following quote from former Senator Zell Miller (D-GA), defending so-called “hillbillies:” “The mountaineer is the only person left in the ethnic shooting gallery that it is still all right to shoot at.
We’ve removed all the others, but it’s still all right to ridicule and make fun of and put down mountaineers. In this time of cultural sensitivity, we condemn anyone immediately when they used the ‘N’ word, and well we should. Well, the ‘H’ word is just as bigoted.”
Given the dangerous potential of PC, I have chosen to reject it. Now, there are risks for students fighting political correctness. Luckily, I was only yelled at for saying “freshman,” but others have suffered undeserved humiliation at the hands of political correctness. Look up Trent Lott and Ward Connerly, individuals whose comments were taken way out of context, leaving them to be socially tarred-andfeathered.
Indeed, the risks are high, but in the words of conservative scholar Dinesh D’Souza, they are worth taking, because a defeat of overbearing political correctness is a victory for freedom of mind.
Anthony Maalouf is a senior at WCU majoring in Political Science with a minor in Spanish.