October 08, 2015

The crazies behind campus “language awareness campaign” are lame, bossy and need to grow a pair

Andrew LawtonRebel Blogger

In a time when satire circulates the internet at breakneck speeds, and reality moves closer to self-parody, I must confess I have a harder time than ever before distinguishing between examples of real-life absurdity and the work aiming to mock that very foolishness.

That was the case this week when the student union of my alma mater, Western University in London, Ont., unveiled its “language awareness campaign” for the school’s orientation week, with the goal of fostering respect and civility among new students.

The campaign features a number of black-and-white posters showcasing grim-looking students beside a quote explaining why the depicted pupil has eliminated a certain turn of phrase from their vocabulary.

Many of the words on the list are words that most would agree are offensive, such as “fag” and “retard.” But the whole campaign, in my view, is discredited by the suggested scrapping of words of little consequence to any sensible person.

One young lady won’t say “I was ‘blind’ to something” because “it ignores the experiences of differently abled individuals.”

“Man up” is off-limits, because, after all, we can’t impart the idea that “masculinity (is) innately superior.” Invariably, “grow a pair” is also out.

Among my favourites are the new bans on “white washed” (it’s racist) and “ratchet,” which apparently is “racist, classist and sexist.”

I had no idea there needed to be a trigger warning for the latter, but after jumping down a digital rabbithole of microaggressions and militant political correctness, I learned that the word apparently has roots in a neighbourhood in a Louisiana town, where it was once used to describe working class black women.

Thank goodness Western has no automotive classes: I would hate to be the student inadvertently running afoul of the guidelines for asking his classmate to borrow a ratchet, ignorant to the plight of the poor women of the Bayou.

Also banned: “insane,” “crazy,” “gingers” (although I’m pretty sure those three are synonymous), “bossy,” “lame,” “depressing,” “skinny,” “gypped,” “slaving away,” and “freak.”

Every one of the posters is accompanied by a “trigger warning,” lest even a glimpse of one of these words sends one of Western’s precious snowflakes into an emotional tailspin.

The campaign’s Facebook page also includes contact information for crisis centres and emergency responders—for the extremely unsettled.

Underscoring this is a commitment to making Western a “safe, inclusive, and welcoming environment for all identities.”

Most of the words on the—TRIGGER WARNING!—blacklist would not be used in polite company anyway, for reasons of once-common sense.

Forget about microaggressions. These words are but tropes and clichés, which makes their usage far more offensive, in my view, as a writer.

Uttering “that’s so gay” to express disdain? How pedestrian. (Apologies for the classism associated with maligning those unable to afford motorized transport.)

Most of these words are of little consequence to a sensible person.

But herein lies the crux of microaggressions: the microaggressor needn’t have any ill intent, so long as the recipient feels offended. 

This is by no means new to university campuses, but it is surprising for Western, the school that refused to cave, in 2010, when administrators were called upon to cancel Ann Coulter’s speech—the first of three across Canada—at the school.

It went off without a hitch, despite an absence of trigger warnings.

Then again, what do I know? I’m just a white, heteronormatively heterosexual, privileged, cisgender male.


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commented 2015-10-10 23:48:57 -0400
The politically correct phrase for these masculinist phrases like “man up” or “get a pair” is….“put on your big girl panties and deal with it”…….it was a popular slogan on the walls of the cubicles where I worked….not sure if the feminist invigilators approved or not…..but it was never displayed in their cubicles…..so I assume not.
commented 2015-10-10 22:59:55 -0400
Huh… and here I was, thinking that a “ginger” was someone with red hair… “Insane” and “crazy” are trigger words? Only on campus, man — they describe my average day! “Man up” is off limits, eh? Then they must not have seen the movie Expendables 2… or the female equivalent in Big Hero 6 — “Woman up!” I wear intense corrective lenses, as I fall below a certain minimum by legal standards, and am considered, legally, blind without corrective lenses. WTH is the problem with “I was blind to…” ? Happens every day to me. The unexpected happens, something unforseen? You got blindsided. What’s that got to do with sightless people? As far as “grow a pair”, that developed as a bit of an insult to tell a guy to “be a man” instead of a woman. Same with “man up”. It means “take responsibility and grow up.” (It’s also a nice insult to the feminazi SJWs…)

Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, ad infinitum.

Until I took post-sec (a few times, now), I didn’t understand why people would call it a world unto itself… because it is. Most of us get past that world and into the real world. But for some reason, some of those students don’t; they take that world into the real world and try to remake the real world into the isolated world of the campus. Some even go further and get into government to try to make their attempts national.

If these people who believe all this politically-correct claptrap want a REAL education, they’ll get into trades, where foul-mouthed expletive insults are merely greetings…

And then they wonder why the rest of us get pissed off…
commented 2015-10-10 05:48:38 -0400
Funny the absent automotive classes was mentioned. In automotive technology, for instance, there is an engine sensor called the ‘anti-knock’ sensor. When it detects the excess vibration from knocking, it – this is an actual technical term – ‘retards’ the throttle. So, now is it supposed to ‘r-word’ the throttle?
commented 2015-10-10 00:43:21 -0400
The Chinese call them the Strawberry Generation, because their skin bruises so easily. Seems fitting.
I think Vlad needs to go down there and straighten them out.
commented 2015-10-09 23:26:42 -0400
This would be a whole lot funnier, if it weren’t so close to the truth!
commented 2015-10-09 19:31:05 -0400
Rob Manders…….I have never met you…..but we are kindred spirits………:-)
commented 2015-10-09 18:18:34 -0400
I’m not sure how to react to that.
Laugh because the skit was so hilarious or cry because the reality is so frightening and, well, real…
commented 2015-10-09 11:03:34 -0400
I can imagine any class at Ryerson being a triggering experience. The place is run by Communist lesbians.
commented 2015-10-08 17:58:11 -0400
The social engineers use emotional blackmail along with all their other bully tactics to shut down free discourse.
All that is missing are the black boots and clubs.
commented 2015-10-08 16:52:38 -0400
We need to boot all these bleeding heart Liberals out of our universities, and their unions too! I much prefer colleges to universities. I can’t stand all of that politically correct garbage, that the left think they can force on students. I enjoy being the unique person that God made me, and I appreciate individuality, not Marxists telling me what think, do or say! I’ll keep free speech and I will use whatever words I see fit, without the Liberal censors. And if my words happen to hurt one of you babies, then it is your opportunity to grow up, and learn to ignore those who you don’t agree with, or use words that you don’t like.
commented 2015-10-08 13:37:07 -0400
Problem is the academics who make up the Liberal Party want Canada to be the campus of a university writ large….speach codes and all.