JLF Triangle Blog

Politically correct morons and the concept of context

I hinted in my past post about the damage that political correctness had done in the Durham Public Schools, and that maybe the pendulum was swinging away from the totalitarian thought police. If so, it can’t happen too soon.

Here’s an appalling example from Canada of where these people, and by “these people” I mean the speech Nazis of the left, want to take us:

Pity poor Professor Cameron Johnston at York University. He was just trying to make this fundamentally Canadian concept clear to the students in the class he was teaching by giving examples of unacceptable opinions. Really, reminding them that some opinions are unacceptable was, in the Canadian context, an act of great patriotism, akin to starting an American lecture with the Pledge of Allegiance and possibly a barbecue. In the course of being so very Canadian, Prof. Johnston mentioned that the sentiment “all Jews should be sterilized” was “unacceptable.”

Regrettably, Professor Johnston doesn’t get it.

See, it doesn’t matter that he uttered the words in a context — the context of identifying the sort of opinions that are unacceptable to Canada. He still uttered them.

To his accuser, Sarah Grunfeld, context makes no difference:

Grunfeld said Tuesday she may have misunderstood the context and intent of Johnston’s remarks, but that fact is insignificant.

“The words, ‘Jews should be sterilized’ still came out of his mouth, so regardless of the context I still think that’s pretty serious.”

As people with clear minds came to the realization that Grunfeld was the offending party here, not the offended, she naturally played the victim card:

It has been a very painful experience for me to see how the university has closed ranks and reneged on its assurances to me. I understand that there may have been a miscommunication, but any miscommunication was on the part of the professor, not me. The media has been complicit in allowing a false interpretation of my actions to be circulated widely, which can only have a chilling effect on the ability of students to have any kind of a voice on campus.

In other words, she should have the freedom to be stupid, and to ruin a professor’s career with her stupidity. You may say, “Only in Canada,” but not so fast my friend:

At Brandeis University, Professor Donald Hindley uttered the word “wetback” in the course of criticizing people who use it; the 50-year teaching veteran was found guilty of racial harassment and forced to admit an ideology-monitor to his class. At Widener University School of Law, administrators are defying a hearing panel that cleared professor Lawrence Connell, and insisting that he be punished for using the term “black folks” in class and using the name of an administrator in an exam hypothetical.

One has to wonder how the fight against racism would have gone if artists, poets, singers, and comedians couldn’t use hateful words to mock the very hate they wished to criticize. It happened quite often in the ’60s and ’70s. Notable examples are from the musical “Hair,” from comedians such as George Carlin and Richard Pryor (language warning for that link).

As Carlin says: “Context, context.”

Leave a Reply

........As you post your comment, please conform to Right Angles's simple comment policy: we welcome all perspectives, but require that comments be both civil and respectful. If you wouldn't say it to a co-worker in front of your boss, it probably is not civil and respectful. We will delete any comment that fails this test and issue a warning to the poster. A second offense will result in a ban on commenting on this site. In sum, disagreements, arguments even, are welcome; abusive behavior is not. Thanks.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

JLF Network Websites & Blogs