You Won’t Believe The Offensive Way Universities Are Fighting Offensive Speech

Mike Paranzino Editor, EducationScam.com
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Public universities are wasting precious taxpayer and tuition dollars on “inclusive language” campaigns that undermine students’ first amendment freedoms, promote the very stereotypes they purport to oppose, and advance partisan positions on contested public policy issues. It would be funny if the threat to free discourse were not so serious.

The College Fix directs our attention to one such program recently launched at the University of Michigan, where the new “Inclusive Language Campaign” works in conjunction with two other campus-wide initiatives that emphasize inclusive words, “Expect Respect” and “Change it Up!”

Words that the campaign denounces include “crazy,” “gypped,” and “ghetto.” The Michigan campaign is modeled after a University of Maryland inclusiveness campaign, launched in 2012, which also declares the phrase “he looks like a terrorist” off limits.

The colleges insist this is the harmless promotion of civility, but at U. Michigan, according to College Fix:

Students have been asked to sign a pledge to “use inclusive language” and to help their peers “understand the importance of using inclusive language,” according to campaign materials.

“Change it Up!,” meanwhile, is a “bystander intervention class” mandatory for first year students, according to the Ann Arbor campus newspaper Michigan Daily. (Michigan Daily reported on this as “part of a Michigan Daily effort to increase coverage of issues related to diversity, inclusion and identity on campus.” Are you sensing a pattern here?)The paper further reports a goal of the Inclusiveness Campaign is “combating day-to-day micro-aggressions.”

The University assures us not to sweat the first amendment:

Asked if the campaign stifles free speech, [University Spokesman Rick] Fitzgerald said “we believe this program has just the opposite effect.”

But the problems with this multi-tiered campaign go beyond a government school bullying students about protected speech. The campaign actually promotes the very stereotypes these thought police purport to oppose.Consider the unintentionally-funny Halloween costume poster released by the U. Michigan Dean’s Office. Dressing like a character from Aladdin, or as a ninja, or wearing a sombrero is out (unless it reflects your own cultural group, they add), but the poster suggests instead that students make fun of incarcerated Americans, Rosie the Riveter (a crude stereotype of hot, World War II-era working women), or The Fonz (a stereotype of 50’s-era ghetto Italian-American culture).

And check out the University’s poster series designed to fight cruel stereotypes of Asian-Americans; Muslim women who wear a hijab; and, to be inclusive, white men (who reportedly “wear the stigma for life” if portrayed as banjo-players on Halloween).  The University posters need “trigger warnings” of their own.

The University of Maryland, during Democrat Governor Martin O’Malley’s tenure, included even more outrageous language in its inclusiveness program. Addressing why students should never use the phrase “He looks like a terrorist,” the University kindly explains it’s because:

this phrase may offend people who are of Arab decent, Muslim, and people who phenotypically look like the stereotype of a terrorist[.]

That may be the closest Democrats have come to being honest about the terrorist threat, although it’s pretty shocking coming as part of an inclusive language campaign.

More dangerous is both public universities seeking to ban use of the phrase “illegal aliens” to describe illegal aliens, just as universities in the 1980’s tried to ban discussion of race-based preferences on the same “civility” and “inclusiveness” grounds.

At Maryland, the school actually writes that use of the phrase “supports stereotypical beliefs that undocumented immigrants are less than human.” Students are then instructed: “Use instead: immigrants, undocumented immigrants, undocumented citizens[.]” Two of the three suggested alternatives completely wipe away our national sovereignty: “immigrants” to describe both legal and illegal aliens; and “undocumented citizens,” an absurd formulation suggesting the rewards of citizenship for breaking our laws to get here.

And it’s all taxpayer-subsidized. College Fix reports that Michigan’s new program cost $16,000 in direct funds, and Maryland’s was $15,000. But if you believe those low-ball figures, consider just a few of the job titles and departments listed on just one webpage within Maryland’s diversity apparatus:

* Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy Office (MICA)
* Postdoctoral Research Associate for Diversity Initiatives
* Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Education
* Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Vice-President
* Program Coordinator, Office of Diversity & Inclusion
* Director, Consortium on Race, Gender, and Ethnicity

It’s ridiculous, but the joke’s on us. These are comfy jobs with better pensions than we have, all on the taxpayers’ and tuition-payers’ dime.

But the real punchline is, sadly, on the students themselves. Their education is being compromised, and vast resources have been diverted from actual teaching to universities’ diversity industrial complex.

Perhaps that helps explain this sad, 2012 statistic from the University of Maryland, buried in one of the diversity documents:

the current 6-year graduation rate [is] 64.5% for Black Males and 73.1% for Hispanic males.

That’s a University macro-aggression against students of color, but there’s no campaign to fight that.

The writer is a Maryland taxpayer who directs www.EducationScam.com.