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College and university campuses have been enforcing new regulations, based on the concept of political correctness, in order to protect students from troubling or insulting topics or terms, known as microagressions. In addition, trigger warnings are to be released by professors if material in a certain course can possibly provoke traumatic experiences from the past. Political correctness has greatly impacted the learning environment of college students, producing a variety of changes. Therefore, three reasons why this new academic environment of political correctness detracts from the purpose and goal of a college education are by restricting free speech, deteriorating one’s mental health, and by inducing fear in students.
First off, the new learning environment of political correctness hinders the purpose and goal of a college education by restricting free speech for a many reasons. One reason why restricting free speech is crucial to college students is that it prevents them from expressing their own thoughts and opinions. According to an article titled “The Coddling of the American Mind” in The Atlantic, political correctness “is creating a culture in which everyone must think twice before speaking up.” Another reason is that it leads to a reduction in vocabulary. One could not expand their knowledge if limitations are placed on vocabulary, and colleges should “equip students to thrive in a world full of words and ideas that they cannot control,” instead. Political correctness can also impact terms defining gender, as indicated in the article “Call me ‘ze’ not ‘he’: University wants everyone to use ‘gender inclusive’ pronouns” by Fox News. The usual he, she, him, and her was replaced by illogical pronouns at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, such as ze, zir, hir, xe, xem and xyr. Finally, restricting free speech impacts the language and beliefs of college students.
Next, political correctness can negatively affect the goal and purpose of a college education by leading to mental health problems for various reasons. The wide use of trigger warnings can “foster unhealthy mental habits,” as stated in “The Coddling of the American Mind” in The Atlantic. Trigger warnings are “helping people with anxiety disorders avoid the things they fear,” which is “misguided,” not allowing them to face their challenges. Also, the use of political correctness can change the way students think. College and university campuses focusing on “policing speech and punishing speakers” can lead to depression as well as anxiety. An additional reason why political correctness takes away from a college experience by causing mental health issues is because it does not prepare college students for their careers. Without the appropriate thinking skills which can be taught through cognitive behavioral therapy, students not be “prepared to flourish.” Finally, mental health problems can affect the future of college students.
Lastly, political correctness has a bad influence on college and university campuses by bringing forth fear in students for a few reasons. One reason is that people are kept apart and interactions could not occur. Based on the article “Rethinking Political Correctness” in the Harvard Business Review, political correctness can create “barriers” and “people feel judged and fear being blamed.” Major topics such as religion, race, and gender are also disregarded due to fears of saying the wrong things and offending someone or being labeled. In the article “The Problem With Political Correctness” in the Huffington Post, it is stated that we would not be able to “get comfortable in living and working with those who are different from us,” if we do not face the fact that diversity is prominent. Due to these fears, new information cannot be exchanged. Since one is afraid to speak their mind, they cannot take into account others’ views or opinions. Finally, students cannot get along with others due to fears implanted by political correctness.
In conclusion, the three reasons why this new academic environment of political correctness hinders the purpose and goal of a college education are by restricting free speech, deteriorating one’s mental health, and by inducing fear in students. Restricting free speech does not allow for thoughts and opinions to be expressed, reduces vocabulary and knowledge, and creates unreasonable concepts such as gender-inclusive pronouns. Trigger warnings, distorted thinking, and poor preparation for reality are a result of political correctness giving way to mental health problems. Also, interactions are prevented, important aspects of people’s lives are disregarded, and the fact that information cannot be exchanged contributes to causing fear in students. Hence, political correctness truly does have a big impact on colleges and universities.
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