“today’s journalists… tomorrow’s multicultural newsroom managers”

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Jan. 31, 1993 – The New York Times

The Word Police

By Michiko Kakutani

…the P.C. movement’s obsession with language is accompanied by a strange Orwellian willingness to warp the meaning of words by placing them under a high-powered ideological lens. For instance, the “Dictionary of Cautionary Words and Phrases” — a pamphlet issued by the University of Missouri’s Multicultural Management Program to help turn “today’s journalists into tomorrow’s multicultural newsroom managers”

The pamphlet patronizes minority groups, by cautioning the reader against using the words “lazy” and “burly” to describe any member of such groups; and it issues a similar warning against using words like “gorgeous” and “petite” to describe women.

…with the rise of political correctness, there is a spread of the sort of sloppy, abstract language that Orwell said is “designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” “Fat” becomes “big boned” or “differently sized”; “stupid” becomes “exceptional”; “stoned” becomes “chemically inconvenienced.”


In the case of the politically correct, the prohibition of certain words, phrases and ideas is advanced in the cause of building a brave new world free of racism and hate, but this vision of harmony clashes with the very ideals of diversity and inclusion that the multi-cultural movement holds dear, and it’s purchased at the cost of freedom of expression and freedom of speech.

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