I was recruited by the thought police, writes Suzy Lee Weiss, a University of Michigan student, for her hometown Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Posters on campus urge students to “Stop. Think.” before speaking lest they commit a “micro-aggression,” she writes. The Inclusive Language Campaign asks students to sign a pledge. “We’re all being drafted as thought police, charged with regulating the speech of our peers,” she writes.
Operating under ILC’s logic, I am hostile for offering a cupcake to a diabetic without knowing of his condition, racist for suggesting we “work the kinks out” on a group project and generally insensitive for having an opinion on any subject that I have not directly experienced.
I guess I can’t write that paper on Homer this weekend: I wasn’t there to witness the violence of the Trojan War.
At mandatory assemblies, new students are taught that “wishing someone a merry Christmas is a micro-aggression,” she writes.
Yet actual aggression is tolerated.
Earlier this semester, my friend Omar Mahmood was fired from the campus paper for writing a satirical essay making fun of political correctness on campus. Apparently that wasn’t enough punishment for some of his fellow students, who threw raw hotdogs and eggs at his door and left profanity-laced notes telling him to “shut the … up” and that “Everyone hates you, you violent …,” among other acts of ugliness. So much for inclusivity.
Thus far, nothing has happened to the vandals despite their being caught on camera. The school has not issued an apology or a press release. And Omar still can’t write for the paper because he refused to apologize.
Politically correct students, professors and administrators are silencing debate on campus, Weiss argues.
She proposes the “Don’t Be an Idiot Campaign.” It would tell college students that “some people are bigots” and others may hurt their feelings inadvertently.
I checked out the ILC Facebook page, which tells students what party costumes are OK (Fonzie, Super Mario Brothers) and which are not. It turns out that some people might be offended if you dress as an Arab suicide bomber.
Other do-not-wear costumes include: belly dancer, burka wearer, black gangsta (with vampire!), burro-riding sombrero wearer and redneck with banjo, straw and cap.
“You wear the costume. I wear the stigma for life.” says the Asian nerd, who’s pictured with a bowl of rice, chopsticks and a pile of math books. This is a party costume?
Isn’t Fonzie a stereotype of an Italian greaser? And the Super Mario Brothers are stereotypes of Italian plumbers. Not all Italians are cool. Or plumbers. Yet they wear the stigma for life.
The campaign has inspired some parodies.