Former U.S. Secretary of Education is against censoring school
Educational materials in the United States are subject to strict
censorship. Publishers delete everything they believe could be
construed as offensive, sometimes even from literary texts. This
enables them to sell their books to the largest possible number
of schools. Diane Ravitch, former Secretary of Education and a
renowned researcher, describes how this censorship works in her
recent book ‘The Language Police’. She presents strong
arguments against this ‘method of undermining reality’.
There are at least five hundred words and concepts that are taboo.
For example: yachting cannot be mentioned because it is elitist,
old people cannot be portrayed as ill, because that stereotypes
them, a woman’s body cannot be described as ‘boyish’ because
that is sexist, and handicapped athletes cannot be praised for
their performance because that is discriminatory. For the same
reasons Asian Americans cannot be described as intelligent and
hard working and Jews cannot be lawyers or dentists. Dinosaurs
cannot be mentioned because that implies evolution, which some
strict Christian groups deny. And mothers and fathers who divorce
rarely appear in this universe, either.
According to Ravitch, politically correct thinking has gone much
too far. What began in the sixties and seventies as a well-intended
attempt to portray minority groups using fewer clichés has
now evolved into an absurd fear of offending someone. This method
of expressing respect for diversity leads to undermining reality
rather than enriching it. Moreover it prevents children from learning
what is really going on in the world. There is a huge gap between
what they learn at school and what they see in the media. Ravitch
recommends that her fellow countrymen contact their state education
departments and demand a list of censured concepts.