We Need to Talk About Political Correctness

By Jorge Suarez on November 13, 2015

As a result of the protests that have recently occurred at the University of Missouri, the narrative surrounding political correctness “safe spaces,” “microaggressions,” and “trigger warnings” has become a strong issue in our higher education system and has affected freedom of speech, free thought, and honest journalism. A lot of people believe that political correctness is only confined to college campuses. Even if this was true, it wouldn’t make it any less important. Political correctness is slowly but surely harming colleges across the country by coddling students and leaving them unchallenged.

For those who may not know, the protest that started at the University of Missouri began as a response to an outburst of strong racism on campus. From there, it quickly spiraled into an expression of a left-wing hostility towards freedom of expression. During the protest, journalists were barred from covering the event and were harassed by protesters. Mizzou is not the only university to experience these types of protests. In recent weeks, UCLA, Wesleyan, and Yale have seen left-wing student activism aimed at shutting down the expression of challenging viewpoints. What’s happening at these universities should be greatly distressing for all of us. We’re allowing coddled children to chart the course of American academia, and it is entirely unacceptable.

We can make fun of the United States all we want, but the truth is that our higher education system is one of the best in the world. According to US News, our country has 53% of the world’s top colleges and universities, including the top four overall. The United States was (and still is, for the most part) the icon for free thought, expression, and speech. If we want to keep this title, this movement of censorship on college campuses needs to be stopped, and students need to stop ignoring the harsh realities that surround them.

If this issue continues to be ignored, it will only be a matter of time before it spills into the rest of society. A lot of people seem to underestimate the amount of influence colleges have on the rest of us in regards to social and political movements (protest of the military/industrial/prison complex and anti-Vietnam both started in college campuses). The rise of these protests are more than just “college kids being stupid,” it is a serious issue that can negatively affect our country if it continues to be ignored.

During my time in college, I have been challenged, and I have challenged others constantly. Through these interactions, I was able to learn new perspectives that I may have never thought of otherwise, and I have even changed my mind on certain issues after hearing other people’s side. My point is – hearing contrary viewpoints is essential to development, and college is the time for young minds to be exposed to these challenging ideas in order to further develop their intellectual minds. This never-challenged, never-uncomfortable, always right, and never wrong ideology that is taking over universities across the nation can only be stopped by one group: the students. If the students continue to ignore these issues, and refuse to listen to contrary viewpoints, then this groupthink, sanitized nonsense will only grow bigger as time goes on.

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