Afraid of being a —-phobe

Political Correctness Means Living In Fear — even for high school students, writes Darren on Right on the Left Coast.

His statistics class is looking at adult smoking rates. Utah has fewer smokers than any other state. He asked students if they could guess why. No one said a word.

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.

Students knew that “Utah has a large population of Mormons, who in general don’t smoke,” writes Darren.  But they were “petrified to say that,” for fear they’d be branded “as some sort of  ‘-ist’ or ‘-phobe’.”

That’s sad.

Mormons have managed to laugh off the teasing in Book of Mormon without complaining of microaggressions, much less threatening to boycott or blow up theaters.

… the stump of a chick he held tight in his teeth …’

In a new version of Clement Clarke Moore’s 1823 Christmas poem, “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” Santa has no pipe in his teeth or encircling wreath of smoke. Canadian independent publisher Pamela McColl disapproves of smoking.

Sanitizing children’s literature is a bad idea, writes Anita N. Voelker, an associate professor of education, in an Ed Week commentary.

. . . one of my student-teachers read The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo, to her 4th graders. As she shared the scene in which a father, cigarette in his clamped mouth, sells his daughter, she looked up to find 24 pairs of horrified eyes upon her. She paused, recognizing this was troubling. Wisely, she created time for conversation.

She assumed that the children were disturbed by the selling of a child. But, in whispered unison, the children warned their young student-teacher that the word “cigarette” is forbidden at their school. They insisted that she replace “cigarette” with “chicken.” Strikingly, a man with a chicken in his mouth made a strange substitution, but the children were surprisingly satisfied and seemingly unfazed that a child was being sold by her father … as long as he was not smoking!

Voelker asks: Why not teach children that people in the past didn’t realize the dangers of smoking?