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Censorship (n): the suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc. that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security.
It’s been an age-long issue of trying to draw the ever-so-thin line of what is considered offensive or not. In more recent years, it seems that everything is somehow offensive or a rude thing to say in some manner. From new laws making almost anything bullying if you try hard enough to banning words in textbooks, it seems that books like Fahrenheit 451 are more and more real today.
The first step in this pyramid of censorship is Princeton College banning the use of the word man. The college has made it against the rules to use the word man in any from. This includes mankind, man the station, founding fathers, and man and wife. This is in an effort to create a non-exclusive environment so women don’t feel like they are “not included” in conversation or any other action.
The issue with this is that it’s not making college safer or any less ‘sexist.’ I put sexist in quotes because this is by no means sexist, these terms have been around for years and, in some cases, are the proper term to use. I think the worst example of this ban is not being able to say founding fathers.
The people that founded our country were men, and the term father is what is correct when talking about them. There is a reason that they were called that; they made our nation and were its parents. Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and all the others were men. You can make your argument that women were not treated right in that time, but taking away their title is not any better than what you are against. Whether you want to believe it or not, the Founding Fathers were primarily men.
Same with man and wife: I’m totally for gay marriage, everyone deserves the right to proclaim their love to their significant other, but if it is a man and a woman, they are man and wife. This is not offensive but fact, and if you think it is offensive, I suggest you really look at something offensive like hate speech or having your opinion shut down because it doesn’t align with someone’s views.
There is no doubt that people can be rude and offensive, but the term fireman to refer to a male firefighter is not excluding anyone, it’s simply stating a fact. Issues like this are not only limited to Princeton, but other colleges as well.
‘Safe places’ were also created as a place of ‘refuge’ from the world, and these are just as bad. Colleges across the nation have been putting in said ‘safe places’ to ensure students aren’t offended, or my favorite word that has been watered down to being useless and a joke, triggered. These places are not only a waste of space but a waste of money. Funds that go into these safe places could be used for almost anything else and it’d have a better effect. I don’t want to be paying taxes to fund a place where people can’t face the reality of the world.
The argument has been made that they are not just a place to not be offended, but a place where students can go to work. Which, in all honesty is a lie; that is what a library is for. It’s quiet and a place for people to work without noise. These safe places are being made for kids who are so sheltered to the idea of someone with different opinions than theirs, and teaching that lesson is more harmful than anything else.
The people that fill these safe places aren’t helping anyone either. The best example of this would be earlier this month a group of students at UC Berkeley made a barricade blocking people from entering the school. The best catch, though, is that they wouldn’t let white men in, and at one point they even yelled and pushed a man back because they refused people to pass.
Why did they do this? Well, their little safe place was moved to the basement from the fifth floor and because of this they promoted bigotry and racism. However, besides these wrong and disruptive actions, funds are still wasted in putting in safe places for people who are offended over everything. It’s time we stop babying these now adults, and force them to face their feelings and realize that being racist, in any way, is not okay.
Despite everything big going on, the censorship boils down to even the smallest of classrooms. When I’m learning about the Civil War, my history teacher is actually afraid to say the word “negroes” or talk about the mistreatment of blacks over 200 years ago. My psychology teacher tells people to not get offended when she has to talk about Freud’s stages of psychosexual development, because they include the word “anal” and “genital.” Or how about the fact my English teacher couldn’t show us The Crucible because of “suggestive” content. If you’re going to censor what I have to say in my life, definitely don’t censor what I learn in school.
Take a step back from any daily activity in your life, and you’ll see just how much you’ve been forced to censor yourself at the expense of someone else’s feelings and also at the risk of getting in trouble. Are we ever going to be able to really express our opinions? Will the entire situation begin to tumble down a hill, knocking over every non-conformist in their path? Will it alter our education, or the way we live our lives? The fact that we don’t know the answers to these questions puts a huge strain on the peace of mind. Censorship is slowly devouring us, and it’s time we fight back.