[guest post by Dana]
In yet another ridiculous decision made by academicians at one of those supposed last bastions of free speech, the University of Michigan recently began their “Inclusive Language Campaign”. While the program is designed to be educational and not regulatory, students are nonetheless encouraged to sign a pledge to use what is being referred to as “inclusive language” because, words hurt:
Words declared unacceptable through the campaign include “crazy,” “insane,” “retarded,” “gay,” “tranny,” “gypped,” “illegal alien,” “fag,” “ghetto” and “raghead.” Phrases such as “I want to die” and “that test raped me” are also verboten.
(I know I wanted to die after reading this. See what I did there…)
The mission of the campaign is:
“to address campus climate by helping individuals understand that their words can impact someone and to encourage individuals to commit to creating a positive campus community.”
Words hurt, people.
Thankfully, horseshit isn’t on the list, because what a load of horseshit this is (apologies to our equine friends). Cost for implementing the program? $16,000.00. And while that is certainly chump change (apologies to any chumps out there) in light of a university’s annual budget, it is nonetheless interesting to note that this university felt compelled to raise both tuition costs and fees for the past two years.
Further, the goal of the campaign is so insulting, it should simultaneously rankle the righteous rebel lurking in every student who values their right to speak freely while causing the simpering purse-lipped scolds on staff who endorse this campaign to hang their heads in shame.
Of course, we’ve already seen the inevitable outcome when at first it is just words that are monitored and slowly controlled – eventually ideas, thoughts and worldviews fall under the microscope, too. Especially on campuses of higher education. And that’s because the authoritarians simply Cannot Help Themselves. It has an insatiable appetite, this compulsion to tell others what language, what thoughts, what views are acceptable and unacceptable. The god of arrogance always finds its home in the hearts of the weak and self-deceived.
While some students believe the campus as a whole benefits from the program, not everyone has bought into seeing speech curtailed, even through a silly campaign:
As the Inclusive Language Campaign has enlarged its influence on campus through various kick-off events, interactive programming and provoking visuals, some students have called into question how it reconciles with the university’s policy on free speech, which “encourages open and vigorous discussion and strives to maintain an environment where the free exchange of ideas and opinions can flourish.”
Unfortunately, instead of jumping at the opportunity to actually dialogue with the students and make their case, the language police remain insulated in their smugness and take the easy way out:
Asked if the campaign stifles free speech, [campus spokesman] Fitzgerald said “we believe this program has just the opposite effect.”
“We believe it will make discourse more constructive by respecting the views and perspectives of others,” he said. “A campus conversation about the impact of words is good for everyone.”
A flyer from the program:
Somewhere, right now, Ayaan Hirsi Ali rolls her eyes and gags.