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Columbia Student Offended by Professor Who Said Negro Was Correct Term in the '60s

"I didn’t pay attention in class after that."

ColumbiaBrOnXbOmBr21A Columbia University student was angry with her sociology professor for saying it was appropriate to use the term negro when referring to people of color while discussing the 1960s. She wrote to the professor, explaining to him that negro was an offensive and outdated term, but he failed to adjust his vocabulary. "I didn't pay attention in class after that," the student, Maria Martinez, told The Columbia Daily Spectator.

Here's some context: The professor is Todd Gitlin, a longtime leftist activist who served as president of Students for a Democratic Society in the early '60s. He teaches a course in American studies.

"It is in fact true, a matter of historical record, that African Americans in the '50s and '60s wanted to be called 'Negroes,'" Gitlin told The Spectator. "Denying that practice would be a falsification of history."

That was just the lead anecdote of the Spectator piece, which discussed student complaints about their professors' alleged microaggressions:

Sabina Jones, CC '20, recalled a white professor saying the N-word when reading it in a racially-charged book in an English class. She said this experience made it difficult to engage in class for the rest of the semester.

"It's hard to continue on, not knowing if you are welcome in a space completely or [if] people have the knowledge to welcome you to a space," she said. "It creates a roadblock in continuing down the path that you want to continue on."

These tense interactions, commonly known as microaggressions, occur when comments or actions are—either intentionally or unintentionally—discriminatory or offensive towards people of marginalized identities.

But as I've written previously, the theory behind microagressions doesn't stand up to scrutiny. The concept is ill-defined, according to Emory University psychologist Scott Lilienfeld, and in surveys most members of minority groups aren't even offended by this sort of thing, according to the Cato Institute. It would therefore be unwise to insist that professors cater to the sensitivities of students like those quoted by the Spectator.

Yet that's exactly what some of the offended students apparently want—mandatory cultural sensitivity training for the faculty:

"Mandatory trainings are less about punishing or limiting conversation, but more making sure that everyone has the language and the basic knowledge to be able to engage in those conversations," Martinez said.

It seems like quite a stretch to suggest that Gitlin is lacking in basic knowledge of the subject at hand.

Students, and young people more broadly, are often unfairly smeared as delicate snowflakes. But when students shout down Christina Hoff Sommers at Lewis and Clark College, take offense at a photograph of Charles Murray, or level sexual harassment charges at an avante-garde film professor for showing his experimental film, it can be challenging to dispute the stereotype.

Hat tip: The College Fix

Photo Credit: BrOnXbOmBr21 / WIkimedia Commons

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  • Bubba Jones||

    These are two separate questions. Reading a printed word in context and calling someone a negro today.

    I have no dog in the fight but let's be more precise in our discussion.

  • Adans smith||

    Huck Finn approves this comment.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    I hope this person skipped colors week in her Spanish class.

  • Vernon Depner||

    All inflected languages should be banned anyway because they're sexist.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Why is inflection sexist?

  • Vernon Depner||

    Because it sorts nouns into genders.

  • DarrenM||

    They are going to have fun when they get hit with the calls for multiple genders. It won't just be pronouns.

  • Boston Commenter||

    The term I learned as a child was Negro. It was not used in disrespect, and I have not changed my usage since then.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Racist!!!!

  • Leader Desslok||

    You're old school. I simply refer to them as blacks instead of African-Americans. Guess that makes me semi-old school.

  • Zeb||

    You can get some pretty funny constructions when people assume that "black" and "African-American" are synonymous.

  • emmanuel||

    Elon Musk is an African American. So is Charlize Theron.

  • creefer||

    I had a co-worker that actually preferred to be called black. She was adamant that she wasn't "African American" because she was born here as were her parents, and parents before them. She was straight-forward about it. "Look, we're black, we know we're black, and we don't mind being called black."

  • Blaze Miskulin||

    I used to have a job dealing with vendors for a large school district. I'd get calls from small businesses and single-person businesses asking for help with the W-9 tax forms--which include a part on minority-owned businesses (voluntary information).

    I vividly remember a call from a person who was, by her voice, obviously an older black woman from the south. When we got to the minority status part of the form, I suggested she check the "woman-owned business box", and then said "And, if you're African-American, you can check that box, too". Her response was great:

    "African-American? I don't know nothin' 'bout no 'African-American'. You mean "Black"? 'Cuz I'm black. If you mean black, why don't you say black? Don' know nothin' 'bout no 'African-American'."

    I politely told her that the government (the school) required me to say "African-American", but... "yeah.. that means 'black'. Just check the box. We'll understand."

  • Tom Bombadil||

    The proper term is, and always has been, Negroid.

    #I fucking love science, or something

  • ||

    I'm a proud Caucasoid.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    I'm a 1970's style Jeffersonian Honky.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why the "snowflakes" have a right to be angry about this. People will use the fact that negro was once considered a proper term to justify continuing to use it now that it has taken on negative connotations. I don't know the context of why this came up in class, but context is really key here. If he was using the historical fact to justify the unjustifiable, then that's a problem. But if it was actually relevant to the coursework that was being discussed, then that's a different story.

  • barfman2018||

    *barf*

  • Michael S. Langston||

    lol - a 'right' to be angry?

    I suppose technically speaking, everyone has the right to get angry for any excuse they wish to make up, but when this snowflake's future boss has a social faux pa, and they miss something important while working up their righteous indignation, the only person who losses in this scenario is the snowflake.

    So sure, they have the right to be angry for any stupid reason the choose and that right will remain with the until the cease living.

    But others also have the right to correctly frame this: the snowflake is idiotically and emotionally focusing on irrelevant details to socially signal how much better he is as compared to others.

    And while he may find a good job, but if continues these behaviors he'll only prove the risk in employing him for any job higher than burger flipper is greater than any possible benefits derived from his work product.

    Though I worse he could find a good government gig, bureaucrat, and 'suceed', but in any real endeavor he risks the team, morale, decision making results, mini-mutinies, etc, etc, etc.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    "I suppose technically speaking, everyone has the right to get angry for any excuse they wish to make up, but when this snowflake's future boss has a social faux pa, and they miss something important while working up their righteous indignation, the only person who losses in this scenario is the snowflake."

    If you think that bosses can do whatever they want without consequence in this society, I think you're in for a surprise. "Negro" isn't really in the business vernacular in most offices.

    Now, it's certainly possible that "negro" was relevant to the discussion they were having in class. It's also possible that it wasn't. That's why I said the context is important. If the teacher was teaching history, and this was part of the lesson, then it makes sense and this is a "snowflake". If the teacher was bitching about political correctness and using it exactly like the guy I was responding to above -- as justification for continuing to use an offensive term -- then the teacher was an asshole.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    So I shouldn't refer to a hot, big boned, mulatto girl as 'negrolicious'?

  • HeteroPatriarch||

    Shut the fuck up, moron.

  • emmanuel||

    It really makes no difference. The professor is still being paid, and the students are still paying; we were all born and we will all die. You see? Makes no difference.

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    https://www.uncf.org

    Go git'em girlie.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Can you please find for us,a link to UHCF, the United Honkey College Fund?

  • buybuydandavis||

    It would be racist for Whitey to do it

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    In fact none other than MLK himself used the term Negro over and over again in his speeches.

    I think there was recently an article on the Census questions asking about race, and why the word "Negro" is still listed there, and the answer was "because a lot of older African-Americans still think of themselves as Negro and removing the word would confuse them".

    This is all quite silly.

  • ||

    Well see he's "allowed" to say it, but anyways wait 5 years when "black" is offensive, because reasons. By then, anyways, we'll be forced by law to have to wait for the preamble on what people identify as before engaging in a simple conversation about the weather.

  • Vernon Depner||

    It'll be sort of like in Japan, where people exchange business cards before saying hello, so that they know each other's relative social rank and therefore what form of language to use.

  • DarrenM||

    Or maybe we could all just get tattoos?

  • BlueStarDragon||

    Black is already consider offensive by the left. So they used African - American, which is really stupid because it make the assumption that blacks only come from Africa or that they are Americans.

  • Paulpemb||

    I remember taking part in a trivia competition a few years back, and the question was asked "Who was the first African-American President of South Africa?"

    I responded that South Africa had had two black Presidents at that time (Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki), but to my knowledge neither of them was an American.

    It's also hilarious to watch network coverage of the Olympic games for the same reason. Every black athlete in the world is an honorary American for a few weeks.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Progtardation is breathtaking to behold.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    You want really fun, watch them try to deal with *white* immigrants from South Africa. Who are, after all, technically African American.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    When the black man from Africa showed up in Texas with Ebola a few years ago it was awesome to listen to newscasters jump about trying to figure out what to call him.

  • Rath||

    Isn't the "United Negro College Fund" still a thing?

  • Vernon Depner||

    Yes, but if you're white, you're not allowed to say it.

  • Occam's Woodchipper||

    Shhhhhhhhh...

  • Harvard||

    UNCF is little different than the patently racist Congressional Black Caucus.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    What about that NAACP thing? I lost track years ago. Black seems to work for most people.

  • Leader Desslok||

    During MLKs time the term negro has a big step up from when they were called nigger or slave.

  • Seamus||

    During MLK's time "Negro" was capitalized.

  • Leader Desslok||

    Fair point. Thanks for catching my grammar mistake.

  • Mary Stack||

    You didn't make one.

  • Dan S.||

    The word "Negro" was certainly capitalized in the 1960s. Writing it with a lower-case "n" was considered highly offensive, as it evoked the usage in old advertisements for slaves. So not only Leader Desslok, but also Robby Soave, were mistaken in saying that "negro" was the accepted term in MLK's time. Of course, in speech you can't tell the difference. Whether the difference is part of "grammar" I'm not sure.

  • Longtobefree||

    Snowflakes need to be told, in plain language, that they are in college to learn, not to rule.
    One thing they must learn is that they are often wrong, and it is up to them to change, not up to the rest of the world.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Did you know that some parts of the Bible refer to men as those who "pisseth against walls"? See http://chapeldoor.blogspot.com.....t-hb2.html for sample thoughts on this or just Google "pisseth against walls" ...

    I FIND THIS TO BE SLANDEROUS AND DEMEANING TO ALL MEN EVERYWHERE!!!! The PROPER term for men is currently set to be "those who are sensitive and caring beings, despite having ding-dongs", dammit!!!

    The ONLY solution is that the Bible must be BANNED!!!!

  • DarrenM||

    And some of us don't need walls to piss against. Bushes work just find.

  • hardcorps||

    Bushes? Well, I guess whatever you and your lady friend are into.

  • Myshkin78||

    I just wear dark pants

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    I do love some golden showers showered against a Barbara Bush.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Snowflakes need regular beatings. Jocks are not doing their jobs anymore.

  • Eidde||

    Todd Gitlin? The Left is truly eating its own.

    And I bet those students went back to their dorms to listen to NWA.

  • Cyto||

    I kinda think NWA is grandma's music by now.

  • Eidde||

    Depends on the grandma, I suppose.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    If you like them in diapers, sure.

  • Eidde||

    Look, if you're talking about The Artist Formerly Known as Prince back when he was just Prince, why not just call him Prince?

    If you're talking about the Queen of England before she was Queen, why not just call her the Princess Elizabeth?

    If you're talking about Cher back when she was Cherilyn Sarkisian, why not use the earlier name?

    It really depends on how deep you are into reconstructing the historical atmosphere of an earlier time. This is a sociology class not history, so I guess it could go either way.

    Prof. Gitlin was politically active back when "negro" was deemed a respectful alternative to "colored"...and the other n-word.

    So he gets a teaching job which lets him re-create his glory days, and he uses terms which were perfectly OK back in his time...and suddenly modern leftists are trying to rudely drag him back into the present with all its new rules?

  • Shirley Knott||

    When your entire political program, when your entire life, is dedicated to fixing other people's flaws, job 1 is always find flaws.

  • Seamus||

    Prof. Gitlin was politically active back when "negro" was deemed a respectful alternative to "colored"...and the other n-word.

    Actually, "colored" was the respectful word that was used before "Negro." (And why aren't people capitalizing that word? I thought that was a battle that was won in the 1930s.)

  • Mary Stack||

    "And why aren't people capitalizing that word? I thought that was a battle that was won in the 1930s"

    You thought wrong, it doesn't get capitalized.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    People must change with the times. "Retarded" and "gay" are offensive now too (and for pretty good reason, most would agree). Refusing to change with the times is not an excuse.

  • barfman2018||

    *barf*

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Come off it. Just say you believe hate speech is actual violence.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    I'm. Not giving up either of those. I also reserve the right to occasionally refer to Tony as a faggot. Not being I'm prejudiced. But because I just generally think he's a piece of shit and I like to say hurtful things to him.

  • HeteroPatriarch||

    My gay former roommate may want a word with you about "gay" being offensive there, dipshit.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    No. A thousand times no. Demanding that you use the preferred term for a group, (Which will be arbitrarily changed from time to time, just so that they can berate people who don't keep up.) is just an exercise of raw power.

    It's the foot in the door for NewSpeak, the basis for a whole bunch of subtle and not so subtle techniques the left uses to try to win arguments by dictating what you're allowed to say.

    The left doesn't own the English language, they're not entitled to issue a new version of it every few years.

  • John C. Randolph||

    "Retarded" is a euphemism, coined to replace the previous term, which was "idiot".

    -jcr

  • Brett Bellmore||

    It's "the iron law of euphemism": Any term adopted as a euphemism will soon come to carry the same connotations as the word it replaced, because the connotations are associated with the thing the word indicates, not the sound you use to indicate it.

  • gphx||

    Gay retards have always been offensive but beating it out of them has thus far been ineffective.

  • Mark22||

    "Retarded" and "gay" are offensive now too

    "Gay" is perfectly fine. As is "homosexual".

    And if you call me a "faggot" or "c---s------", I don't really care either; that reflects on you, not on me.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    I was referring to "gay" when it's used as a pejorative term. Like "faggot".

  • DenverJ||

    Using the word "faggot" is so gay.

  • Luke1979||

    Just wait until they find out what NAACP stands for. And don't forget about that racist organization UNCF.

  • Mickey Rat||

    I read the quote from Sabina Jones and found it difficult to follow conceptually. Who is teaching these students to think like that?

  • Vernon Depner||

    "It creates a roadblock in continuing down the path that you want to continue on."

    The path of ignorance?

  • General_Tso||

    The path of the righteous man?

  • ||

    The path to hell, mumble, mumble, sonething about good intentions?

  • hardcorps||

    Where did you say we were going, and BTW, why are we in a handbasket?

  • Occam's Woodchipper||

    I just graduated last May and thankfully never encountered this sort of mental gymnastics in the wild but good God do I ever feel you on this

  • FlameCCT||

    I wonder if it hurts to be that ignorant?
    Or is it just normal for Progressives?

    Seriously, that's like the big stink over the word niggardly (not generous; stingy). I wonder how triggered these special snowflakes would be to know that the US government had only 3 race categories back then, Caucasian, Mongloid, & Negroid?

  • Vernon Depner||

    Are we not men?

  • SQRLSY One||

    We are Devo!

    ... (We are devolving into those who have hissy fits about less than nothing).

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    I say that's all just wind and sails.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    I think that's Stxy.

  • Leader Desslok||

    Pretty much. This college student, and I use the term student loosely, is only one step above my five year old at the end of the day when he's tired and hungry.

  • Cy||

    Both of my sets Grandparents referred to black people as the not so PC N word. Funny thing, it was never malicious. It was just how they learned to refer to a black person. It was a bit surreal when sweet little ol granny dropped an N bomb.

    I'll never forget my Grandfather referring to racism and laughing "Racist? I've been screwed over by more white guys than I've ever even met N----S!"

    or another little tidbit of wisdom:

    "Never call a man a friend or do business with him until you've seen him drunk."

  • Conchfritters||

    "Never call a man a friend or do business with him until you've seen him drunk."

    That's why I have a problem with Trump. Can't trust a man who doesn't drink.

  • juris imprudent||

    So Trump with 3 or 4 drinks in him would be Florida man?

  • Troglodyte Rex||

    Both of my sets Grandparents referred to black people as the not so PC N word.

    Mine used the more PC term 'darkies'.

  • Vernon Depner||

    My southern grandparents used the word "nigra"—which, if you understand how North Carolina dialects work, actually is the n-word.

  • hardcorps||

    Your grandfather's philosophy is very similar to mine. based on the white people I have dealt with, I sure as fuck don't think that whites are superior to anyone.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    I assume everyone I meet is a complete idiot until they demonstrate otherwise. Appearance has no bearing.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    "I didn't pay attention in class after that," the student, Maria Martinez,

    What makes this latinx mx think xhe can get all aggrieved for POCs?

  • Rath||

    If these students don't have the capacity to speak in a setting where they haven't been explicitly "welcomed" and made to "feel safe" then they are in for a tough time of it in the labor market.

  • HeteroPatriarch||

    Hence the lifelong tryouts for the inner party.

  • VinniUSMC||

    I love it when the proggies devour their own.

  • Conchfritters||

    By the way - that film sucked. More sex would have made it better.

  • Eidde||

    My Dinner with Andre? Gods and Generals?

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Muppets Take Manhattan

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    Darkest Hour?

  • Conchfritters||

    Avante gard film professor article posted yesterday. I decided to watch all 15 minutes of it, and like most films, I found it needed more sex, otherwise it was poorly shot, poorly edited, lighting sucked, the sound technician failed miserably, and was really just a terrible film.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    How much longer before colleges start deciding that they really don't need money from these people?

  • No Longer Amused||

    Imagine how offended she was when discovered that next they were "colored"....

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The professor is Todd Gitlin, a longtime leftist activist...

    Yes! [pumps fist]

  • juris imprudent||

    Who? /post-millenial

  • Rich||

    "I didn't pay attention in class after that," the student, Maria Martinez, told The Columbia Daily Spectator.

    "And don't even get me started on 'Niger'!"

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "Mandatory trainings are less about punishing or limiting conversation, but more making sure that everyone has the language and the basic knowledge to be able to engage in those conversations," Martinez said.

    I went to the training, but she used the term microaggression and I didn't pay attention in training after that.

  • Eidde||

    I bet you didn't even read what was written on the placard they forced you to wear around your neck while standing in the Quad for several hours.

  • Mickey Rat||

    People need to be taught the latest progressive gibberish.

  • Eek Barba Durkle||

    If your audience has to learn the correct words. and accept the your version of fact, to be able to discuss your very basic ideas about race, the problem isn't theirs.

  • ThomasD||

    Gitlin, huh?

    Couldn't happen to a more deserving apparatchik.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.

  • General_Tso||

    You, apparently did not learn history.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    After the micro aggression just tuned out

  • Incredulous||

    Why can't these pussy college administrators just tell these pussy students that they are wrong and to STFU or GTFO?

    I honestly don't understand the point of college anymore. It's a complete scam. You can't express an opinion anymore without being accused of a microaggression and being called racist, sexist or even better genderist. You can't even hook up anymore because it's now been all redefined as rape if there's any alcohol involved and often even when there isn't.

  • Tony||

    I simply do not understand what kids these days think they're going to accomplish by actively working to be as fragile as possible.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Who are you and what did you do with Tony?

  • Tony||

    I have never been on board with the "be a whiny bitch" strategy of achieving progressive goals. But it's not like you're required to pay attention.

  • BlueStarDragon||

    So you are the old fashion lynch mobs and pitchfork type of commie, or has the proggy movement gotten so bad it even turn on you now Tony?

  • ||

    Seriously. Who would have thought!

  • RabbitHead||

    I really think that parents did this to them. Kids act in this hyper fragile way because for most of their lives it has worked.

    As soon as little Suzie gets hurt or offended or challenged "Authority" swoops in, rescues them, and smacks down the offender. So getting offended is a way to wield power or make problems go away. It has the side effect of instilling love for authority.

    I think a lot of college kids are angry because they are leaving the environment where that used to work.

  • HeteroPatriarch||

    When you've lost Tony...

  • All Seeing Eye||

    Academia and Democrats created this monster by brainwashing the kids from pre-school on up. They don't even realize how retarded they are and therein lies the problem. When they become politicians, judges, and CEOs later in life you can say goodbye to America as you once knew it. They will bring on full scale authoritarianism unless Generation Z can be saved. Doubtful but there is a chance.

  • Dick Puller, Attorney at Law||

    Couldn't happen to a nicer guy. On balance, I count this as a win.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    "I didn't pay attention in class after that," the student, Maria Martinez""

    I wonder if she knows how to say black in Spanish.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    persona de color?

  • HeteroPatriarch||

    She only speaks English and Aggrievement.

  • gormadoc||

    His reasoning on why to use "Negro" is bumpkis but I agree with the conclusion. It's not good to use POC or colored, since not all of them were black. It's not good to use n----r for obvious reasons. Black isn't good because not all black people cared. The people who were identifying as Negroes were doing so as a political and cultural move, tied up in the early civil rights movement. Not all black people were involved.

    African American would be acceptable but it sounds ridiculous to use every time. Especially since, although it was different at the time, African American can include Africans who immigrated.

  • gormadoc||

    I didn't mention "darkies" or "boys"/"girls", but I suppose they aren't good either.

  • HeteroPatriarch||

    "Porch monkeys" is ok, though. We took it back.

  • Tony||

    My grandma says "That nice colored fella."

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    Mine, too. And I'm pretty sure your grandmother says it without an ounce of malice in her heart, right?

  • Tony||

    Correct.

  • ||

    Those crazy 'to be sure' conservatives can be just as bad with their snowflakery, eh?

  • Sevo||

    "...He teaches a course in American studies..."

    Navel gazing at the college level?

  • hardcorps||

    I was looking at a PhD in American Studies. Unlike victims studies where you learn about how you are poorly done to victim, it sounded more like the study of how to blame yourself for all the world's ills. The classes sounded interesting, but I suspected I am not really welcome there.

  • ||

    What am I supposed to write on the cheque for The United (blank) Fund?

    I know what you're all thinking.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    Donations should only go to the Human Fund

  • Naaman Brown||

    ???? Blank is a synonym fro white or caucasian.

  • Trigger Warning||

    All the trash cans at my work are white.

  • All Seeing Eye||

    Well it's the baby boomer leftist control freak thought police who came up with these Orwellian concepts of political correctness and micro aggression so why shouldn't the very same concepts come back to bite them? They have created a monster and a generation of kids who are supposed to become adults are voting for tyranny because of their warped emotions. Academia has done a great disservice to this country. Just wait until these crybabies become your politicians and CEOs. Your ass is in trouble.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    The irony in blaming academia for this while academia is really the VICTIM here seems to be lost on a lot of people...

  • barfman2018||

    *barf*

  • Azathoth!!||

    Laughing at academia for getting attacked by a thing that academia created is so sweet

    FTFY.

    RFTFY

  • Arcxjo||

    To be fair, she wasn't paying attention before that either.

  • TGoodchild||

    RACISS!

  • JuanQPublic||

    College campuses and workplaces alike seem to infantilize and condescend to black people, which comes off as more obviously racist to reasonable people.

  • DarrenM||

    It's the progressives' "White Man's Burden" syndrome

  • TxJack 112||

    When you let mere words cripple your ability to function, you have much larger problems. I have asked many supporters of this "trigger word" nonsense where exactly do they expect to work if it is essential that no one is allowed to say anything that they find offensive. It is so sad we have come to the point where speech is now something to be feared. Even more terrifying is these idiots are pushing to strip of all of our 1st amendment rights with the same zeal as they are in regard to the 2nd. In a debate yesterday, my opponent said before the American Revolution, the Founding Fathers were considered to be radicals and Tories were the conservatives. I told him I agreed but what is different now is conservatives want to fight to keep the Constitution of the Founders intact and people like him want to re-establish the all-powerful central government they defeated. These idiots are so stupid they cannot see they are being led down a road that only ends in a total loss of freedom and it is they, not those they oppose, who are the actual fascists.

  • DarrenM||

    It's not that these fruitcakes are willing to push for something so much as the degree to which sane people are willing to push back.

  • hardcorps||

    Orwell addressed this. The government will work to reduce the vocabulary of people to words that are less "threatening", and eventually, they will be able to control what we think because we won't even have words for certain concepts like individual, liberty, freedom, free markets etc.

  • Naaman Brown||

    What they find offensive is arbitrary, inconsistent, and ephemeral. To try to please them (if you wanted to) would be chasing a will of the wisp which ever the wind blows.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    It's amazing watching you people defend an OBVIOUSLY derogatory term. If we replaced "negro" with "nigger", you might not protest quite so much. Although I bet some of you still would.

    I don't blame most of you though. The article paints the picture that the professor was giving a lesson about the historical use of the term. However, most media outlets other than Reason seem to indicate that this WASN'T what was happening. This includes the article that Reason cites and links to.

  • Echospinner||

    I recall a college class on the history of antisemitism. One of our assigned readings was from The Mercant of Venice and included the word "niggardly". The prof carefully explained that the term meant " cheap or miserly" and had nothing to do with the racial pejorative. There were no complaints.

    This same prof in another class, we were having a discussion on the history of Jews and the slave trade. One of the students who was black said something about how he doesn't just come out and call someone a "Jew". "Well why not?" Asked the prof " I am Jewish so I am a Jew". Obviously the student thought that Jewish identity was a pejorative.

    Words do change over time and should be understood in context. Concerning race the term Negro was the polite term. Today it is outdated and the prof is correct in explaining that in a historical context. It would be impossible to study the literature without that understanding. Have they not even read the speeches of Martin Luther King?

    I have no problem referring to individuals or groups however they wish but at least let me know what that is.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    "I have no problem referring to individuals or groups however they wish but at least let me know what that is."

    You didn't know that "negro" was no longer in fashion before reading this story?

  • Michael S. Langston||

    You didn't know that "negro" was no longer in fashion before reading this story?

    If the professor was using the word constantly without providing any historical context, then your question might be on point and relevant.

    Since the professor was using the word only within its historical context, whether he or anyone else is aware the term is outdated has no bearing on this particular situation.

    But maybe you're one of those people who applauded censoring Mark Twain or applauded when they removed smoking for old movies.

    I'm hoping not, but if so, your inability to understand the basic facts and logic of what happened here, is only a minor problem in your thinking when compared wanting to sanitize history after the fact.

    Assuming you agree learning from history is necessary for human progress, exactly what could we learn from history of we're unable to discuss history as it actually happened?

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    "Since the professor was using the word only within its historical context"

    I have to admit -- I missed this part. In fact, I'm still not seeing it in the article.

    Saying something existed historically isn't the same as teaching about the word and its historic context. For example, the guy who commented above who said that he still calls black people negro because that's what they used to be called in the 50s. That's not a history lesson. That's called being offensive and using history as justification. Two different things.

    FWIW I cropped all the insults and strawmen you hurled my way.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    I clicked on the link to the original article, and (assuming it was worded correctly) it doesn't appear that the professor was merely teaching the historical context of the word, but rather using that word to refer to black people:

    "Her professor told the class that, when studying the 1960s, it was fine to use the word "Negroes" to refer to African Americans, as it was the term used at the time."

    I wonder if he refers to black people as "niggers" when he teaches about slavery? I mean, it was the term used at the time.

  • Vernon Depner||

    As long as it's capitalized...

  • Echospinner||

    Thought I had made it clear that I was talking about historical context.

    My last statement is more general and relates to any kind of identity. This can cause some confusion among well meaning people.

    My impression was the prof was using it in a historical context. Apparently that might not be the case.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Um... in what languages?

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    English. It's a derogatory term in English.

  • StackOfCoins||

    Sabina Jones, CC '20, recalled a white professor saying the N-word when reading it in a racially-charged book in an English class. She said this experience made it difficult to engage in class for the rest of the semester.

    We need to stop making space for these teacups. Grow a fucking backbone, get some perspective, stop wasting oxygen.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Nowadays Rudyard Kipling and his Irish antagonist Mr Dooley would be forced--along with satirical critic George Orwell--to use "nonwhite" as the n-word. Is pigment collectivism simply a way for Altrurians to carry a chip on their shoulders?

  • TGoodchild||

    I'm not sure "Sabina Jones, CC '20" is interested in anything beyond ego-stroking.

  • Árboles de la Barranca||

    Creepy 60's collectivist in denial.

  • Mark22||

    "It's hard to continue on, not knowing if you are welcome in a space completely or [if] people have the knowledge to welcome you to a space," she said. "

    Perhaps they have the knowledge and good sense not to welcome you.

  • fdog50||

    Todd Gitlin? Back in the 1960s, he was as far left on the political spectrum as Bill Ayers. If they are going after him, then no one is safe. And what he says is absolutely true. In the fifties and early sixties if you used "colored" or "black" instead of "Negro", you were looked on as a bigot.

  • Vernon Depner||

    In the early sixties "black" was considered rude—which is exactly why Black activists adopted it. It's the same idea as when homosexual activists started calling themselves "queer"—disarming the term by embracing it.

  • Brett Bellmore||

  • Diggs||

    Maria Martinez
    Up next, she sues Spic & Span.

  • HeteroPatriarch||

    How's that quote go? Those who don't want to learn the lessons of history can throw a tantrum and get out of it with no long term consequences whatsoever? Right?

  • Vernon Depner||

    Your future time orientation is racist.

  • jbsnc||

    Maria Martinez: How about illegally immigrating to Honduras and reporting on their 'offensive and outdated' word usage?.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Whataboutism.

  • Liberty Lover||

    History and truth are now offensive. Political correctness run amok.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Strawman.

  • ||

    "...making sure that everyone has the language and the basic knowledge to be able to engage in those conversations."

    This is why 1984 should be required reading.

  • gphx||

    There's nothing wrong with SJWs a good wartime draft wouldn't fix.

  • Who needs a reason?||

    If one mentally ill student has any affect on anything, civilization is screwed.
    .

  • gphx||

    I forgot what website we're supposed to vote on what others are allowed to call 'white' people this year. Is it the same url we use to renew white privilege?

  • leninsmummy||

    Some girl stopped paying attention in class because she thought she heard a bad word. This is news?

  • SutureSelf||

    Some radar has enough sensitivity to detect an airplane within a certain prescribed distance of it. Radar that can detect a smaller airplane at twice the distance would be more sensitive. Radar that can detect a hummingbird at ten times the distance would be more sensitive still. Radar that detects an object that isn't there is not infinitely sensitive. It's malfunctioning.

    Taking offense where there is no offense is a malfunction.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Why would a white person be offended? It's easy to see why a black person would be offended when a (currently) derogatory term is being thrown around for, reportedly, no particular reason.

  • vek||

    Negro is not THAT offensive. It's not like nigger or something. I remember in the 90s, if not later, that the United Negro College Fund still had NEGRO in the name. It might be a bit old timey, but it's not the same as nigger or kike or something hardcore offensive.

    Bottom line is these people need to STFU and quit being pussies. I was hanging out with a couple negros last night who happen to be my friends, and I guarantee you none of them would start whining like bitches if I used the word negro in context when talking about the 60s. That's because they're not useless twats.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    A couple things. 1) Black people can say "negro". White people can't. 2) I wouldn't expect your friends to get mad at you about it. They're your friends. That DOESN'T mean it's an acceptable term.

    You're defending the indefensible. You think the term is fine, but I GUARANTEE that you're in the very small minority. It's easy to test this. Put the word in your regular vernacular and see how it goes over. I'll check back.

  • vek||

    In other news, I have a strange urge to start lynching whiny college students for some reason... Can't quite figure it out, but I think the world would be a better place if I did...

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