free speech and political correctness

Much has been made recently of issues of free speech and political correctness. Discussion has been particularly focused campus activities in the U.S. colleges, as well as confrontations between opposing groups. Sometimes, disagreements stem from differing expectations of classroom topics and/or trigger warnings when discussing certain topics. On other occasions, debates involve who deserves a university platform to speak, protestor rights, policing, etc. Often, these debates have been framed around a supposed opposition between the two, as if we can expect either free speech or political correctness. Throughout pop culture, such controversies are also played out in terms of discussions and disagreements surrounding divisive rhetoric, stereotypes, obscenity, offensiveness, and censorship.

What do you think of this debate? Must we choose between free speech and political correctness? Or, can we imagine a compromise between the two? Do you believe that political correctness is an important and/or valid concern on college campuses? Why or why not? Respond in an argumentative essay in which you analyze multiple sides of this debate, take a position and defend it, and utilize relevant examples to make your case. Your 800-1200 word  paper should be in 12 pt. font (Times New Roman, Times, or Ariel), and double-spaced with 1 margins. You must utilize at least 2 of the week 2 readings and properly cite sources (use MLA or Chicago citation style). Please see the grading rubric online and avail yourselves to the ways in which your writing will be evaluated.

Texts for this paper:

Chow, Kat. Dec. 14, 2016. Political Correct: The Phrase Has Gone from Wisdom to Weapon, NPR. https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2016/12/14/505324427/politically-correct-the-phrase-has-gone-from-wisdom-to-weapon (Links to an external site.)

Cobb, Jelani. November 10, 2015. Race and the Free Speech Diversion, The

New Yorker. Web: https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/race-and-the-free-speech-diversion (Links to an external site.)

Lukianoff, Greg and Haidt, Jonathan. September 2015. The Coddling of the American Mind, The Atlantic. Web: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/the-coddling-of-the-american-mind/399356/ (Links to an external site.)

Mounk, Yascha. October 10, 2018. Americans Strongly Dislike Political Correctness. The Atlantic. Web: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/10/large-majorities-dislike-political-correctness/572581/ (Links to an external site.)

Various signatories, July 7, 2020. Letter on Justice and Open Debate, Harpers Web: https://harpers.org/a-letter-on-justice-and-open-debate/ (Links to an external site.)

Going Further (optional):

Schwarz, Jon. July 18, 2020. Political Correctness is Destroying America (Just Not How You Think). The Intercept. Web: https://theintercept.com/2020/07/18/political-correctness-destroying-america/ (Links to an external site.)

Scott, Joan. April 15, 2015. The New Thought Police, The Nation. Web: https://www.thenation.com/article/new-thought-police/ (Links to an external site.)

Stephens, Bret. September 24, 2017. The Dying Art of Disagreement, The New York Times. Web: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/24/opinion/dying-art-of-disagreement.html?action=click&contentCollection=U.S.&module=Trending&version=Full&region=Marginalia&pgtype=article (Links to an external site.)

West, Lindy. November 15, 2015. Political Correctness doesnt hinder free speechit supports it, The Guardian. Web: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/15/political-correctness-free-speech-racism-misogyny-university-yale-missouri (Links to an external site.)

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