Staff Editorial


This week the opinion section features two articles tackling two separate issues that take opposite stances on defining the terms of political correctness. In “MCSG denounces bias incidents,” six members of the Macalester College Student Government condemn the recent appearance in the dorms of derogatory messages directed against Jewish and gay people.

In the same breath, MCSG calls these actions both “senseless” and “despicable,” and we wholeheartedly agree.

A swastika on a whiteboard or a homophobic comment could have been meant as a stab at humor, but these actions were completely inappropriate and don’t belong in our hallways or on our campus. Whatever ironic detachment rendered their use acceptable at the time, that relativism disappeared the instant they were taken in any other context.

Meanwhile Andy Pragacz ponders the place of political correctness itself in assigning words or statements negative connotations in his new weekly column ‘Frag-ments.’ Using the example of “this sucks,” Pragacz argues that banning the phrase sets its definition in stone as a demeaning sex act, when really it’s a little more fluid than that.

MCSG encourages students to err on the side of caution. Pragacz urges us to take an “anything goes” approach that he argues can facilitate the conversations that political correctness forces us to avoid.

Our advice? In the case of humor, which should always make us laugh or think, we have to ask ourselves what our offensiveness achieves.

The phrase “this sucks” may be in a neutral territory past the point of humor or offensiveness, but the recent incidents in the dorm certainly don’t leave us laughing.

Instead we’re left to wonder what the perpetrators thought was so funny in the first place.