When Political Correctness Goes Too Far


Fox News points out the banned words in their news program.

We’re all for people being politically correct – after all, respect for others is a societal trait that we should all embrace. But sometimes political correctness goes a few steps too far. Point in case: The New York City Department of Education’s war on words.

The NYC Department of Education has sought to have certain words removed from standardized tests. These words, they say, have the potential to make students feel “unpleasant.” (Because we all know that it’s completely possible to go through life without ever encountering anything unpleasant.) The Department of Education claimed that this step was necessary because of their uniquely diverse student population; apparently, diversity should not be utilized as a tool to encourage acceptance and broader horizons, but as a reason to avoid a multitude of topics to eliminate the risk of making anyone feel “unpleasant.”

Among the words the NYC Department of Education doesn’t like:

  • Dinosaur (it might offend creationists)
  • Birthday (it might offend Jehovah’s Witnesses)
  • Poverty (it might offend poor people)
  • Dancing (because we live in the movie Footloose)
  • Disease (because students might know someone who is ill)
  • Junk food (it might offend fat people)
  • Rock and roll music (it’s the devil’s music)

The list also includes divorce, slavery, and war. Evidently, acknowledging that these things exist is too upsetting for students to handle. Also included are any and all religious holidays – because students might be upset to discover that there are religions other than their own?

The best way to deal with unpleasantness is not to merely pretend it doesn’t exist. By this logic, we should never open our bills – they are too unpleasant and best ignored. Students must be taught to handle unpleasant words, concepts, and ideas because unpleasantness is a fact of life. Insulating students from the slightest offense is hardly the best way to educate open-minded and tolerant individuals.


Shortly before this post was published, the New York City Department of Education said that they would remove the clause in contracts with testing companies which listed the words that should be avoided when creating new tests. Instead, the department will “advise companies to be sensitive to student backgrounds…” It’s a relief to know that dinosaurs, dancing, and rock music are acceptable concepts after all.

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