"As You Know" Banned at Bath University in UK

The political correctness of the 1990s is nothing like it is today. I was in graduate school when political correctness first appeared on college campuses, and it was a free-for-all of oversensitivity and manufactured outrage.

Today, it has settled down quite a bit. People just want to be called by their preferred racial, national, or gender identity. They don't want to be called by outdated terms or words that are no longer acceptable. They don't want to be treated poorly, harassed, insulted, groped, or abused.

Of course, some people whine that they hate "all this PC bullsh*t" and complain about precious snowflakes not letting them use the language they prefer.

But call them a racist Nazi scumbag, and suddenly they're all concerned about civility and name calling. Tell them their favorite flag is deplorable and racist, from that time when their part of the country wanted to leave the rest of the country, and they're all "honor my heritage." They clutch their memorial statues like 2nd place participation trophies and demand we respect their feelings.

It's really simple:: call people by the terms they prefer, not an insulting, offensive term. That's not political correctness, that's just being a decent human being.

Unless someone actually is a racist Nazi scumbag. They deserve to be called that.

But back in 1990, people were hyper-sensitive about everything. There were certain words you just couldn't use, no matter what, and it got a little silly at times.

I have a friend who told me about the time he was a contractor for a large telecommunications company that spells its name with three letters. But I won't attempt to name them so I don't attract any attention from their attaché-wielding attack attorneys.

The guy was writing a technical document involving the use of several different colored wires — red, blue, green, yellow, and black — when he got into a little bit of trouble.

"You can't say 'black,' you have to say 'African-American,'" an HR rep told him after he was called down to discuss his "racist language." "We're no longer allowed to use that word at all in the company," he was told.

"But it's the color of the wire coating," he said. "That's literally its scientific name."

"You can't use that term at all in any documentation," said the HR representative, not understanding how people are different from wires. "If you don't change it, we'll terminate your contract."

So the guy had to change every instance of the word "black" to "African-American," even though the wire in question was not concerned about its identity politics. Throughout the document, he had to write things like "Connect the African-American wire to terminal B."

There was an awful lot of behalfism going on in those days too. Behalfism is when you try to speak on behalf of someone else, even when they don't want you to.

It hasn't gone away either. In fact, it's alive and well in Bath University, in Somerset, England.

In order to protect their students, Bath University has asked their faculty to stop using the phrase "As you know" to their undergraduates. They're worried that the words can make certain students feel stupid if they don't understand what their professor is talking about. They call these little words and phrases "micro-aggressions," which is French for "Sweet Jebus, that's so stupid."

According to the London Daily Mail, Berenice Dalyrmple, co-chair of the university's student union race equality group, told a faculty meeting, "Some lecturers used commonly known references stating 'as you know,' which could make students feel at fault for not knowing and make it difficult to engage with the course content."

Similar phrases like "Know what I mean?" and "Do you understand?" will no doubt face similar bans until they no longer give students exams because they foster a sense of judgment and criticism of students' knowledge.

If their feelings can be thrown into a tizzy with "as you know," then imagine how much damage could be done with an "as any fool knows" or "unless you've been living under a rock."

According to Australia's News.Com, Oxford University's vice-chancellor Professor Louise Richardson said at a higher education summit last year that universities need to stand up for free speech., and that "snowflake" students need to toughen up.

She said, "I'm sorry, but my job is not to make you feel comfortable. Education is not about being comfortable. In fact, I'm interested in making you uncomfortable. We must be robust in defending free speech against those who wish to constrain it, whether that be a government in a well-intentioned effort to prevent radicalization, or students claiming a right not to be offended. There should be no such right in universities."

College students don't need to be coddled. The real world doesn't coddle people, it smashes them down with a wooden rifle butt. And that's on a good day. So if you're going to have your confidence shattered because someone said "as you know," then move back in with your parents. Otherwise, get tough and educate yourself. Don't take it as a personal attack, take it as a challenge to be better and learn more.

And quit being such a big baby about it.

Photo credit: Jonathan Billinger (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 2.0)

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