Friday, October 24, 2008


As a proponent for diversity, one thing that irritates me is the lack of intellectual diversity in the name of "diversity". We talk all day long about being diverse, but when it comes to religion and politics diversity is off limits. We are required to be homogeneous. I do grant that one challenge of multiculturalism is that it fosters an atmosphere of political correctness. There are many benefits to multiculturalism that are discussed in passed blogs. I am not saying I do not agree with diversity, I embrace it. But we have to stay accountable to the mission of diversity and that is to grow though our experience. One area to grow in is intellectual growth. Political correctness hinders Intellectual diversity. How? Allow me to explain.

Political Correctness dictates that one frame of reference is a nobler frame of reference over another. For example: "Don't say Merry Christmas because you may offend people who do not observe the Christian version of the Holiday Season." This implies that the person who does not say "Merry Christmas" is more enlightened than the rest of us. You also assume that no one will be offended if you do not say Merry Christmas. What then? By default the position that is most general will always be thought of as more "noble." Who decided that? Since when did the "generic brand" become the enlightened position for anything? By blindly including all forms of thought you restrict the intellectual freedom to question. It is this attitude of questioning and freedom of academic thought that brought all the great thinkers of our history into the recognition that they have today.

As a masters or PhD student you must defend your point of view (Thesis) before a panel of professors. Even if the professors totally agree with you they are required to question and drill you so that you are sure your theory can hold water. What if we took a political correct approach? If the professors didn't say anything that would offend the masters and PhD students, then we would have some pretty flimsy theories out there and we would not be making intellectual progress.

There was a professor at my school that said "I believe all illegal immigrants should be deported immediately!" Many people demanded that he step down from his position. They demanded that he be fired for his comments of "racism." I am a Latino. I have several friends that are here in this country illegally. I don't want to see them deported. I don't believe that simply deporting illegal immigrants is going to solve our immigration problem. However, I also know that we live in a country where we have the right to our own opinion and freedom to express that. If this professor were to be fired then what does that say about the value of intellectual diversity in a public academic institution? Why should I assume that my opinion is nobler than his? He simply stated that people who break the law should be punished a certain way.

By introducing a standard whose goal is non-confrontation and not intellectual honesty, are we not hindering intellectual growth of our society?

1 comment:

Abby said...

Well said Andy. I agree with your point of view.

I tell people often they better watch out. When you restrict people, you are on a slippery slope. Right now we are lucky. We are in the majority religion. Someday we may not be. I do not want to see the day that someone says they are offended by me bringing my Bible into Starbucks (as if I would go to Starbucks (;). But if we are not careful, that is where it will lead. In my opinion of course.

Free will. We all have it and it was given to us by God Himself. Why must we mandate how people use it?

It was great to see you yesterday!