The University of Southern California: The Teddy Bear MassacreLike so many other traditions, the burning of the bruin was put on the chopping block recently. The long running University of Southern California spirit activity consisted of throwing a large stuffed bear in a bon fire the night before the football game against their rival, the University of California at Los Angeles. The Black Student Union and other student organizations recently questioned the event. Their concern was that the event too closely resembled past lynching of African Americans in the American south.This raises the question of whether it is appropriate to censor ideas that are not created to offend certain groups. Political correctness, the underlying ideal, is the “particular set of attitudes about the world that its proponents maintain should be actively promoted.” Clark 369 Proponents of political correctness, or PC, had good intentions in devising the idea, but it has serious flaws. Although political correctness was founded with good intent, it does more harm than good.The most noticeable example of harm is how PC proponents try to please everyone at the same time. The burning of the bruin was just one of many activities held during the week before the big UCLA game. The idea being that everyone could find something that they could identify with and rally around their school. If the burning was intentionally created to represent or oppress the offended students, the event would have been banned long ago. However, as Matt Hutaff stated in his editorial in the Daily Trojan:”It’s about school pride. It’s love for the things that brought the university to where it is today. It is traditions that define a school; it’s student body and its heritage. Strip the school of its traditions and all you have is a school that isn’t worth rallying behind.” 5In appeasing one group, it seems the university neglected another group. It seems that the lesson that one cannot please everyone all the time still needs to be learned.Another lesson that needs to be learned is to meet offensive language head on instead of hiding from it. This cannot happen, however, if the college is sheltering us from it. It is the duty of the university to teach us how to live in the real world. How are they going to protect us from what we do not want to hear out there? The answer is they cannot, and the sheltered individuals are left unprepared to confront real world situations that will offend them. As Irene Clark points out, an article by the National Association of Scholars “asserts that it is the role of higher education to enable students to grapple with contrary or unpleasant ideas and that to shield them from such ideas will be detrimental in the long run.” 373 Unfortunately, there are bad things in the world. There is no way to change that. Ignoring them will not make them go away. Eventually the sheltered must face them. If a school hides these things from its students, they will be unprepared to confront them.Even if PC proponents succeeded in their goal of eliminating offensive actions and language, they can never kill the ideas behind them. In private these ideas can grow and fester unchecked. In public, the offenders can be identified. When forced to hide these ideas, the offenders will still express them in secret. When these people are allowed to express their thoughts and opinions in public, the rest of the world is able to watch what they are doing. If they are not aware that they are being offensive, they can be told, also. As Irene Clark states:”…whether or not we agree with speech codes, such codes, explicitly or implicitly, are not entirely new, nor do they prevent racist or sexist thought in private.” 372As Clark stated earlier, PC is not a new idea. Various social movements have tried to implement this restraint before. It has not worked in the past and it is not gaining much ground today. As John Ellis states in Clark’s book:”…we can ask that people who want to take us through the fantasy yet one more time first confront the lessons of history that show how disastrous ‘politicallyOrder now
Political Correctness: Essay Research Paper
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