Translation: asking people not to be rude to you oppresses them.
Was that a better characterization of political correctness than mine? After all, don’t people have the right to tell someone that they don’t care for their “rude” words? Of course they do, but the problem is that it’s not about “asking,” or even “rudeness.” Ali Kingston, the student bar president at George Washington law school learned this the hard way.
George Washington University Law School wants to look into an incident where a student was accused of saying an anti-Semitic comment in a private conversation.
Ali Kingston, president of the Student Bar Association (SBA), was meeting with a member of the Jewish Law Student Association (JLSA) in September after the group failed to mention on an event’s poster that alcohol would be present, The College Fix reported Wednesday.
There was once a time that alcohol being “present” at a law school function was viewed as a feature, whether noted or not. And when it was present, it was usually served. And law students, as far as I can recall, liked it. Times change, however, and apparently it now requires a trigger warning before coming into the presence of booze, lest it attack a student’s lips without warning and traumatize them. But I digress.
JLSA accused Kingston of saying, “Tell your Jew friends, I’m coming for them, they need to stop violating the alcohol policy,” according to Above the Law.
Kingston offered an apology though she denied the allegation. She clarified that she never said, “Jew friends,” but said, “[T]he Jews,” The GW Hatchet reported.
The “apology, even though it never happened,” is a curious feature of the times as well, Tradition and reason suggest that if one didn’t utter the heinous words, there would be nothing to apologize for, and by apologizing, one conceded there was. But that’s no longer the case, given that no offense, real or perceived, is unworthy of an apology when someone else’s “truth” is involved.
But neither the denial nor apology sated the outrage.
SBA and JLSA, however, went public with the incident when they thought Kingston’s apology was “not satisfactory,” according to The GW Hatchet. The SBA Senate voted to ask Kingston to resign from her position on Oct. 23. Kingston has not stepped down.
If the person to whom Kingston spoke the offending words found them rude, then Epps would have them “ask” that they not be said, or perhaps for an apology. But then, that’s not remotely the case here, as GWU cranked up its investigative forces to eradicate the heretic who may, or may not, have uttered the rude words, “Jew friends.”
“I do not hate the Jews,” Kingston said, according to The GW Hatchet.
Even if she did, so what? She’s allowed to hate Jews. Plenty of people do. It’s not a good thing, but it’s her right to hate anybody she wants to hate. And indeed, quite a few very woke folks aren’t particularly fond of Jews these days, favoring the maligned Palestinians. Whether it’s my choice, or yours, is irrelevant. People are allowed. But I accept Kingston’s representation that she doesn’t hate Jews, even if she used the words “Jew friends.” I’ve heard worse and lived to tell about it.
But when the machinery of GWU cranks up to fix a problem like Kingston, it’s no longer one nice person asking one rude person to be better. It’s official, and it’s becoming increasingly official.
GW is supposed to launch a bias reporting site for the fall semester, according to GW Today.
Nicki Neily, president of Speech First, believes bias reporting systems prevent students from expressing sincere views. Speech First is an organization that focuses on protecting free speech rights of college students.
“Bias Response programs encourage students to take their problems to administrators, rather than to adjudicate the issues themselves. That’s a terrible message to send to students who should ostensibly be preparing to enter the workforce and the wider world,” Neily said to The DCNF in a statement.
GWU lawprof John Banzhaf, in his occasional email commentary, raised this case, asserting:
In this regard, Banzhaf notes that even the use of words which are clearly and obviously derogatory of those who practice the Jewish religion – e.g., “K*KE,” H**B or H*BE, H*MIE, J*WB*Y, etc. – are fully protected under the First Amendment and academic freedom, even when used in a public discussion, much less in a private conversation between people who are not in the group being denigrated.
Thus, insisting that those who happen to use those clearly insulting words – much less simply the word “Jew” – must be subject to an official university investigation is plain wrong if not unconstitutional.
The problem isn’t that someone said something rude, and someone else, offended by it, asked them not to do so. If that was all PC meant, then it wouldn’t be political correctness at all, but just the ordinary give and take between people that has always existed. Nobody suggests that people should behave rudely. Nobody suggests that anyone who takes offense shouldn’t be entitled to say so. Although, what constitutes “rude” these days seems to include rather common language suddenly imbued with offensive connotations audible only to people with particularly sensitive ears.
Rather, this is about the use of official mechanisms to enforce the eradication of impermissible speech, whatever that may be from hour to hour. Don’t be rude. Don’t be offensive. But if you are, at least in some very woke person’s mind, then the sweet vision Garrett Epps offered is shoved aside as the forces of political correctness use official means to “oppress” the heretic.
So no, it’s hardly so benign as asking people not to be rude. And when control is exerted by means of official sanction, oppression it is. Nobody has to like what someone else says, but silencing it by force isn’t “decency, manners and common sense,” even if that’s what the passionate would prefer to believe.