Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Political Correctness In Higher Education.
The problem began when Sampson tried to read the book in the break room when he was off duty. His American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees shop steward said that reading a book about the KKK was "like bringing pornography to work." At a different time, a coworker, who was sitting across from Sampson in the break room, said that she found the Klan "offensive." Meanwhile, nobody cared to hear his explanation of what the book actually covered.
Weeks later, Sampson was ordered to report to the university's Affirmative Action Office. A coworker had filed a racial harassment complaint against Sampson for reading the book in the break room while in the presence of Black employees. Following the Affirmative Action Office's investigation ... here's what they had to say:
"You demonstrated disdain and insensitivity to your coworkers who repeatedly requested that you refrain from reading the book which has such an inflammatory and offensive topic in their presence ... you used extremely poor judgment by insisting on openly reading the book related to a historically and racially abhorrent subject in the presence of your Black coworkers." According to "the legal 'reasonable person standard,' a majority of adults are aware of and understand how repugnant the KKK is to African-Americans ..."
Now if Sampson wants to read the book, he must sit apart from his coworkers.
I once came thisclose to a shouting match with two senior editors who refused to use the word "black" to identify subjects of a multinational drug trial because the editors found the term racially offensive.
I lost the argument even though the authors of the original study used the term "black" and even though the editors' substitution of "African Americans" couldn't have possibly applied to the actual Africans and Europe-residing blacks who had participated in the drug trial.