It seems like 2015 has just been so full of examples of extreme political correctness on college campuses that it might be easy to forget just how full of them it’s been.
Here, in no particular order, are the 13 stories of 2015 that made me most want to bash my head into a wall:
1. Hating pumpkin-spice lattes was declared sexist.
If you say bad things about pumpkin-spice lattes, what you’re really saying is that “girls don’t get to have valid emotions” — at least according to Min Cheng’s op-ed in the Phoenix, Swarthmore College’s student newspaper.
According to Cheng, girls generally like pumpkin-spice lattes, therefore, saying that you don’t like them is saying that none of girls’ opinions ever matter. She said the same applies to making fun of leggings, Uggs, and Grey’s Anatomy — which, as I’ve said before, is probably the worst show ever created . . . perhaps second only to Gilmore Girls.
2. A university language guide stated that the word “American” was “problematic.”
According to a “Bias-Free Language Guide” that was used by the University of New Hampshire, the word “American” is offensive and should not be used. Why? Because it “fails to recognize South America” and “assumes the U.S. is the only country inside these two continents” of course! It recommends using “resident of the U.S.” instead, but I kind of feel like “I’m proud to be a resident of the U.S./Where at least I know I’m free” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Now, the school ultimately removed the guide after media scrutiny — but the fact that it ever existed at all is pretty head-bashing-worthy if you ask me.
3. A university study declared that we have to accept people who “identify as real vampires.”
Look — we have to stop discriminating against people who think they are actual real vampires by thinking that that’s kind of weird — at least according to researchers from Idaho State University and College of the Canyons and the Center for Positive Sexuality in Los Angeles. After all, according to the researchers, “they are born with it, somewhat akin to sexual orientation.”
Sorry, but if you think you are a vampire, I’m going to call you weird. Oh, and by “sorry,” I mean that I’m actually not at all.
4. The word “skinny” was deemed “violent.”
The “Language Awareness Campaign” at Western University in London declared a bunch of words and phrases to be “violent” — including “skinny” and “get over it.” Oh, and “whitewashed,” “because it is used to insult those who do not conform to negative stereotypes of a community or culture” — yes, despite the fact that it can also be used to describe a freshly painted fence.
5. A university declared the phrase “politically correct” to be politically incorrect.
Yes, seriously. (Are you bashing your head yet?)
According to the “Just Words” campaign at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, PC is offensive because it “has become a way to deflect, say that people are being too ‘sensitive.’” Great point! After all, just look at this list — it’s not like anyone is ever being too sensitive ever.
6. A room full of white people was determined to be a “microaggression”
Reading this stuff, you might start to think that you can’t say or do anything without it being considered a microaggression — but actually, it’s much worse than that. Get this: If you’re white, you don’t even have to do anything at all.
According to a report released by the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, a minority student just “walking into or sitting in” a room full of white people is in itself a microaggression on the part of the white people.
7. A Harvard study declared that microaggressions can make people die sooner
Lest you think all of this talk about microaggressions is just silly and inconsequential, a Harvard study is here to tell you that you’re wrong — microaggressions can actually make you die sooner.
8. Some students were ‘triggered’ by an anti-microaggressions exhibit.
Apparently, it’s not just microaggressions that can “trigger” people — anti-microaggressions efforts can too. In April, a campus group at Brandeis University apologized after some students complained that they were hurt by its attempt to help make campus more inclusive.
9. A student newspaper felt the need to clarify that it was not being transphobic by associating menstruation and tampons with “women.”
The Daily Bruin, the student newspaper at the University of California–Los Angeles, included a disclaimer on one of its articles explaining that the author was not being transphobic by suggesting that tampons and periods are a “women” thing — because, after all, “not all individuals who menstruate identify as women and that not all individuals who identify as women menstruate.”
10. The War on Pronouns
2015 was no doubt a tough year for this part of speech. In October, Kansas University’s student senate voted to totally ban gender-specific pronouns such as “his/her” from its Rules and Regulations document because they’re “microaggressions” against the students who don’t use them. In September, North Carolina State University defended a lecturer’s right to dock students’ grades for using “he” or “him” to refer to both men and women — as well as for using the word “mankind” instead of “humankind.” The same month, Scripps College declared that using the wrong pronoun to refer to someone was “institutionalized violence,” and even gave students the option to request that teachers use no pronouns at all to refer to them — because apparently that part of speech in general can be a microaggression. Oh, and the University of Pittsburgh made sure to warn its faculty and professors to be super extra careful about which pronouns they use even after a student has already told them which ones he or she prefers . . . because some students might change genders over time.
By the way — as that “mankind” ban might suggest, this was a bad year not only for pronouns but also for gender-specific language in general. For example: A University of Washington professor tried to create a policy that would punish her students for using the words “male” and “female.”
11. A yoga class was canceled on the grounds that yoga is “cultural appropriation.”
In November, the University of Ottawa in Canada abruptly canceled its free yoga classes because they were “cultural appropriation” and yoga was connected to “cultural genocide.”
Geez. The only thing more ridiculous would be if a university banned like, hoop skirts for being racist or something! Oh wait — the University of Georgia did do that.
12. The War on Charity Events
In 2015, political correctness was often considered more important than raising money for charitable causes. For example: At Quinnipiac University, a sorority had to cancel a fundraiser for foster children because one student complained that having (trigger warning!) maracas on the promotional posters was racist. At the University of Kansas, some social-justice activists declared that a sorority hosting a charity event for children with cancer during one of its protests was a microaggression because the activists were more important.
13. A university blamed a student’s clear act of terrorism on the patriarchy.The University of California–Merced hosted a “teach-in” to explain that a student who went on a stabbing spree did so because of “masculinity” and not terrorism. After all, the fact that he was found with a photo of an ISIS flag and the fact that reminders to pray to Allah and a manifesto about how much he wanted to behead his classmates were found among his belongings was not enough evidence to suggest that this might have anything to do with Islamic extremism. No, obviously not.
— Katherine Timpf is a reporter for National Review Online.