Tuesday, March 06, 2007

It's only harrassment of we say so...

OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today

When 'Sensitivity' Is a One-Way Street

The Associated Press reports from Santa Rosa, Calif., on an interesting political-correctness kerfuffle:

When a few classmates razzed Rebekah Rice about her Mormon upbringing with questions such as, "Do you have 10 moms?" she shot back: "That's so gay." . . .

After Rice got a warning and a notation in her file, her parents sued, claiming officials at Santa Rosa's Maria Carillo [sic] High violated their daughter's First Amendment rights when they disciplined her for uttering a phrase "which enjoys widespread currency in youth culture," according to court documents.

Testifying last week about the 2002 incident, Rice, now 18, said that when she uttered those words, she was not referring to anyone's sexual orientation. She said the phrase meant: "That's so stupid, that's so silly, that's so dumb."

But school officials say they took a strict stand against the putdown after two boys were paid to beat up a gay student the year before.

"The district has a statutory duty to protect gay students from harassment," the district's lawyers argued in a legal brief. "In furtherance of this goal, prohibition of the phrase 'That's so gay' . . . was a reasonable regulation."

We're not sure this is worth making a federal case over, but it's certainly a revealing window into the politically correct mindset. So vigilant is Carrillo High about protecting gay students from harassment that it has declared certain phrases unsayable, even when the intent plainly is not invidious and when--as appears to have been the case here--there were no gays around to feel "harassed" by the comment. Yet according to Rebekah's parents, the students who actually were harassing her for her religion were not disciplined. Political correctness is not really about sensitivity and courtesy, which require mutual respect. Rather, political correctness entails intolerance for some prejudices but impunity for others.

I think respect for everyone is a great policy.

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