Sunday, February 15, 2004

Joanne Jacobs has a post on yet another reason to keep your kids out of public schools, one I had never even heard of - the language police. Even if I had heard of such an absurd practice, I never could have imagined how bad it could be:

New York identified as biased such male-based words as "masterpiece" and "mastery." Among the other words singled out for extinction were white collar, blue collar, pink collar, teenager, senior citizen, third world, uncivilized, underprivileged, unmarried, widow or widower, and yes man. The goal, naturally, is to remove words that identify people by their gender, age, race, social position or marital status.

Thus the great irony of bias and sensitivity reviewing. It began with the hope of encouraging diversity, ensuring that our educational materials would include people of different experiences and social backgrounds. It has evolved into a bureaucratic system that removes all evidence of diversity and reduces everyone to interchangeable beings whose differences we must not learn about -- making nonsense of literature and history along the way.

This bit just had me shaking my head in utter disbelief:

A college professor informed me that a new textbook in human development includes the following statement: "As a folksinger once sang, how many roads must an individual walk down before you can call them an adult." The professor was stupefied that someone had made the line gender-neutral and ungrammatical by rewriting Bob Dylan's folk song "Blowin' in the Wind," which had simply asked: "How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man?"

I highly recommend reading the entire WSJ piece.