Essay on my favorite sports person

essay on my favorite sports person

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But then, because it can, it thinks up new demands. Guns in playgrounds, guns in bars. So it is with political correctness. There is always something new, as my students understood, that you arent supposed to say. And worst of all, you often dont find out about it until after you have said. The term political correctness, which originated in the 1970s as a form of self-mockery among progressive college students, was a deliberately ironic invocation of Stalinism. By now weve lost the irony but kept the Stalinism—and it was a feature of Stalinism that you could be convicted for an act that was not a crime at the time you committed.

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The ones being silenced are the ones like my students at Scripps, like the students at Whitman, like many students, no doubt, at many places, who are keeping their mouths shut. The religion of humanity, as david Bromwich recently wrote, may turn out to be as dangerous as all the other religions. The assumption on selective campuses is book not only that we are in full possession of the truth, but that we are in full possession of virtue. We dont just know the good with perfect wisdom, we embody it with perfect innocence. But regimes of virtue tend to eat their children. They tend to turn upon themselves, since everybody wants synthesis to be the holiest. Think of the French revolution. The ante is forever being upped. The pc commissariat reminds me of the nra. Everyone is terrified of challenging the nra (everyone in a position to stop it, at least so it gets whatever it demands.

It makes a perfect, dreary sense that there are speech codes, or the desire for speech codes, at selective private colleges. The irony is that conservatives dont actually care if progressives disapprove of them, with the result that political correctness generally amounts to best internecine warfare on the left: radical feminists excoriating other radical feminists for saying vagina instead of front hole, students denouncing the director. Boys Dont Cry as a transphobic cis white bitch (as recently happened at reed College and so forth. But the most effective form of censorship, of course, is self-censorship—which, in the intimate environment of a residential college, young adults are very quick to learn. One of the students at Whitman mentioned that hes careful, when questioning consensus beliefs, to phrase his opinion in terms of Explain to me why Im wrong. Other students— at Bard College, at the Claremont Colleges—have explained that any challenge to the hegemony of identity politics will get you branded as a racist (as in, dont talk to that guy, hes a racist). Campus protesters, their frequent rhetoric to the contrary notwithstanding, are not the ones being silenced: they are, after all, not being silent. They are in the middle of the quad, speaking their minds.

essay on my favorite sports person

My favorite sports person essay

Their student populations largely come from the liberal upper and upper-middle classes, multiracial but predominantly white, with an admixture of students from poor communities of color—two demographics with broadly similar political beliefs, as evidenced by the fact that they together constitute a large proportion. As for faculty and managerial staff, they are even more homogenous than their students, both in their social origins and in their present milieu, which tends to be composed exclusively of other liberal professionals—if not, indeed, of other liberal academics. Unlike the campus protesters of the 1960s, todays student activists are not expressing countercultural views. They are expressing the exact views of the culture in which they find themselves (a reason that administrators prove so ready to accede to their demands). If you want to find the counterculture on todays elite college campuses, you need to look for the conservative students. Which brings us to another thing that comes with dogma: heresy. Heresy means those beliefs that undermine the orthodox consensus, so it must be eradicated: by education, by reeducation—if necessary, by censorship.

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essay on my favorite sports person

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That, by phones the way, is why liberal students (and liberals in general) are so bad at defending their own positions. They never have to, so they never learn. That is also why it tends to be so easy for conservatives to goad them into incoherent anger. Nothing makes you more enraged than an argument you cannot answer. But the reason to listen to people who disagree with you is not so you can learn to refute them.

The reason is that you may be wrong. In fact, you are wrong: about some things and probably about a lot of things. There is zero percent chance that any one of us is 100 percent correct. That, in turn, is why freedom of expression includes the right to hear as well as speak, and why disinviting campus speakers abridges the speech rights of students as well as of the speakers themselves. Elite private colleges are ideologically homogenous because they are socially homogeneous, or close.

Issues of identity—principally the holy trinity of race, gender, and sexuality—occupy the center of concern. The presiding presence is Michel foucault, with his theories of power, discourse, and the social construction of the self, who plays the same role on the left as Marx once did. The fundamental questions that a college education ought to raise—questions of individual and collective virtue, of what it means to be a good person and a good community—are understood to have been settled. The assumption, on elite college campuses, is that we are already in full possession of the moral truth. This is a religious attitude.


It is certainly not a scholarly or intellectual attitude. Dogma, and the enforcement of dogma, makes for ideological consensus. Students seldom disagree with one another anymore in class, ive been told about school after school. The reason, at least at Whitman, said one of the students I talked to there, is mainly that they really dont have any disagreements. Another added that when they take up an issue in class, it isnt, lets talk about issue x, but rather, lets talk about why such-and-such position is the correct one to have on issue. When my student wrote about her churchgoing friend, she said that she couldnt understand why anyone would feel uncomfortable being out as a religious person at a place as diverse as Scripps. But of course, scripps and its ilk are only diverse in terms of identity. In terms of ideology, they are all but homogeneous. You dont have different voices on campus, as these institutions like to boast; you have different bodies, speaking with the same voice.

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The latter, he found to his surprise, is also a religious school, only there, he said, the faith is the religion of success. The religion of success is not the same as political correctness, but as I will presently explain, the two go business hand in hand. What does it mean to say that these institutions are religious schools? First, that they possess a dogma, unwritten but understood by all: a set of correct opinions and beliefs, or at best, a narrow range within which disagreement is permitted. There is a right way essay to think and a right way to talk, and also a right set of things to think and talk about. Secularism is taken for granted. Environmentalism is a sacred cause.

essay on my favorite sports person

And I have no reason to believe that circumstances are substantially different at other elite private institutions, and plenty of reasons not to believe it: from conversations with individuals at many schools, from my broader experience in higher education, from what ive read not only. The situation is undoubtedly better at some places than others, undoubtedly worse at the liberal arts colleges as a whole than at the universities as a whole, but broadly similar across the board. So this is how ive come to understand the situation. Selective private colleges have become religious schools. The religion in question is not Methodism or Catholicism but an extreme version of the belief system of the liberal elite: the liberal professional, managerial, and creative classes, which provide a large majority of students enrolled at such places and an even larger majority. To attend those institutions is to be socialized, and not infrequently, indoctrinated into that religion. I should mention that when I was speaking about these issues last fall with a group of students at Whitman College, a selective school in Washington State, that idea, that elite private colleges are religious institutions, is the one that resonated with them most. I should also mention that I received an email recently from a student who had transferred from Oral Roberts, the evangelical Christian university in Tulsa, write to columbia, my alma mater.

also heard that the director of the writing center, a specialist in disability studies, was informing people that they couldnt use expressions like thats a crazy idea because they stigmatize the mentally ill. I heard a young woman tell me that she had been criticized by a fellow student for wearing moccasins—an act, she was informed, of cultural appropriation. I heard an adjunct instructor describe how a routine pedagogical conflict over something he had said in class had turned, when the student in question claimed to have felt triggered, into, in his words, a bureaucratic dumpster fire. He was careful now, he added, to avoid saying anything, or teaching anything, that might conceivably lead to trouble. I listened to students—young women, again, who considered themselves strong feminists—talk about how they were afraid to speak freely among their peers, and how despite its notoriety as a platform for cyberbullying, they were grateful for yikyak, the social media app, because it allowed them. Above all, i heard my students tell me that while they generally identified with the sentiments and norms that travel under the name of political correctness, they thought that it had simply gone too far—way too far. Everybody felt oppressed, as they put it, by the pc police—everybody, that is, except for those whom everybody else regarded as members of the pc police. I heard all this, and a good bit more, while teaching one class, for 12 students, during one semester, at one college.

A clarification, before i continue (since deliberate misconstrual is itself a tactic of the phenomenon in question). By political correctness, i do not mean the term as it has come to be employed on the right—that is, the expectation of adherence to the norms of basic decency, like refraining from derogatory epithets. I mean its older, intramural denotation: the persistent attempt to suppress the expression of unwelcome beliefs and ideas. I recently spent a semester at Scripps, a selective womens college in southern California. I had one student, from a chinese-American family, who informed me that father's the first thing she learned when she got to college was to keep quiet about her Christian faith and her non-feminist views about marriage. I had another student, a self-described strong feminist, who told me that she tends to keep quiet about everything, because she never knows when she might say something that youre not supposed. I had a third student, a junior, who wrote about a friend whom she had known since the beginning of college and who, shed just discovered, went to church every sunday.

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We use cookies to give you the best online experience. Their use improves our sites functionality and enables our partners to advertise to you. By continuing to use our website or checking the. I agree box below you are agreeing to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy. Details on how to decline their use can be found in our. Essays, spring 2017, power, class, and the new campus religion iStock, by william Deresiewicz, march 6, 2017. Let us eschew the familiar examples: the disinvited speakers, the title ix tribunals, the safe zones stocked with Play-doh, guaranteed the crusades against banh. The flesh-eating bacterium of political correctness, which feeds preferentially on brain tissue, and which has become endemic on elite college campuses, reveals its true virulence not in the sorts of high-profile outbreaks that reach the national consciousness, but in the myriad of ordinary cases—the everyday.


Essay on my favorite sports person
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