HGs World Commentary
Commentary by H.G. Listiak
Forbidden Words

Thursday 2/19/2004

Welcome to My World, where we continue with the spreading malady of political correctness in our schools. Diane Ravitch, investigating our textbooks and tests, has over 500 words routinely deleted by bias review committees, gathering them into a book entitled "The Language Police". It points out the absurdity of these bias reviewers employed by publishers and State and Federal education departments. Words like landlord, cowboy, brotherhood, yacht, cult and primitive are forbidden because they are offensive to various groups, feminists, religious, multi-culturalists, and ethnic activists, just to mention a few. Michigan bans a long list of topics from its tests, including terrorism, evolution, aliens, and flying saucers, which they feel might imply evolution. Words that hint of gender, like fireman, can't be used in New York testing, nor can the word American, which must be stated as a citizen of the United States of North America. American implies patriotism, which to the bias reviewers could offend some people. Basically the goal is to remove all words that identify people by gender, age, race, social position, job, or marital status. As Ravitch puts it, the great irony of bias and sensitivity reviewing is that it began with the hope of encouraging diversity and has evolved into a bureaucratic system that removes all evidence of diversity, reducing everyone to interchangeable beings whose differences we must not learn about, making nonsense out of literature and history along the way. But it goes past Ravitch's book. Recently my closest colleague brought in a poorly crafted pamphlet given his daughter at her middle school to teach the youngsters how to be verbally sensitive to others. Basically we have no more blind, deaf, or handicapped people. Other ways must be found to address them. Her parent deems it absolutely ridiculous, drawing more attention to the disability, making one more aware of the person's handicap. Like Diane Ravitch, you're absolutely right Stu, as I see it ... I'm H.G. Listiak.

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