It has recently come to my attention that some directives have been issued from the desk of Janet Napolitano (the president of the University of California system) to the faculty and administration of all the schools in the state. Ms. Napolitano leads the university system comprised of 10 campuses, five medical centers, three affiliated national laboratories, and a statewide agriculture and natural resources program. The UC system has more than 234,000 students and about 208,000 faculty and staff.
Her directive consists of the following (what she calls) potentially offensive, racist or sexist statements that should be banned from use by anyone within the system.
* America is a land of opportunity.
* America is a melting pot.
* There is only one race, the human race.
* I believe the most qualified person should get the job.
* Why are you so quiet?
Statements that we’ve all heard, that many of us have used, and that, for all intents and purposes, are not meant in an offensive, racist, or sexist context. And yet, Ms. Napolitano has proposed banning the use of all of the statements in order not to offend, or hurt the feelings of, well, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . anybody.
I’m not making this up. This is the mentality she not only holds, and is promoting, but insisting on as well for those who work in the UC system, and for all those attending the schools.
Now let’s look at these phrases:
America is a land of opportunity.
Well, to say such a thing is to imply that Lebanon, or Afghanistan, or Cuba, or wherever, are not lands of opportunity. And we wouldn’t want to hurt their feelings now, would we?
Nor would we want to think so positively about our country. It might reinforce our own bias towards the U.S.
Better ban these words.
America is a melting pot.
This statement would imply that we take in immigrants from all around the world; every ethnicity, from every culture, political persuasion, religious belief and ideology; and that these diverse people find common ground here in America. What a concept. We better not express such a grandiose perspective about our own country. It could cause some hurt feeling in Saudi Arabia.
Ban these words.
There is only one race, the human race.
Now this would imply that we are all created equal; that we ought to recognize our similarities, our common origin, and our inalienable rights as humans. But wait, that would tend to unite us rather than dividing and sub-dividing us into social, ethnic, political, economic, religious, and sexual/gender groups. Can’t let that happen. Smaller groups are easier to control than a people united would be.
Better ban these words.
I believe the most qualified person should get the job.
Now this is just an outrageous and egregious statement all together, and it most definitely should never be spoken out loud. After all, if I were an employer I would much prefer hiring the most unqualified, the most unprepared, the most ill-equipped, the most immature, the most unkempt, and the most contentious applicant possible. Wouldn’t you?
That being the case, we better ban these words.
Why are you so quiet?
Never ask this question to any living person. It could be overheard by an Asian bystander who would experience it as a deeply offensive and racist question. We must protect all people at all times from being hurt by our words, even if those same words are being misinterpreted.
Yes, we better ban these words.
In fact, let’s ban even the discussion of banning these words,
or even thinking them.
You never know who might be listening.
And who might be offended.
Thank God for Ms. Napolitano.
Without her we just wouldn’t know what to do.