It’s Not Just Controversial Speakers Who Are Silenced By Threats. Students Like Me Are, Too.
Steven Glick, The Washington Post
Heather Mac Donald made national news when protesters blocked her planned live talk at Claremont McKenna College, forcing her to deliver a shortened version via live stream instead. Charles Murray, Ben Shapiro, Ann Coulter and many others have recently faced similar problems after receiving invitations to speak on college campuses.
While students’ proclivity to prevent controversial speakers from sharing their message is concerning, what’s even more concerning is these students’ inclination to censor their own peers.
When I arrived on campus, I was immediately introduced to a new set of rules for social etiquette.
One of my first days at school, I referred to myself as a “freshman.” An older student overheard my conversation, and told me I should instead call myself a “first year,” as “freshman” is a gendered term and could be offensive to my classmates.
I was taught that white people shouldn’t listen to rap music because it’s cultural appropriation and could be offensive to my classmates. And so, to avoid social ostracism, the other freshmen and I dutifully changed the words we used so as not to offend: Introduce yourself with your name and gender pronouns; don’t call people “African American,” call them “Black”; use “queer” instead of “gay”; “differently abled” rather than “disabled” or “handicapped”; “Latinx,” not “Latino”; “womyn,” not “woman”; “you all,” not “you guys”; and never, ever ask someone, “Where are you from?”