2 Kan. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 131 (1992-1993)
The Diverse Orthodoxy: Political Correctness in America's Universities

handle is hein.journals/kjpp2 and id is 257 raw text is: The Diverse
Orthodoxy:
Political
Correctness in
America's
Universities
Richard Liby

Summer 1992

The term political correctness has invaded the media. The
topic has been hotly debated by those who see political correctness
as media or conservative hysteria, as well as by those who see it
as the greatest threat to free speech since McCarthyism.
Unfortunately, there has been very little serious investigation of
the political correctness phenomenon. Moreover, there is a great
deal of disagreement about the scope of the movement, and
whether it exists at all.'
Defining Political Correctness
The term political correctness was first used in the Stalinist
Soviet Union to refer to those who followed the party line.2
Later, is was used among progressive circles as a term of self-
criticism.' It is now used to refer to the movements examined in
this article.
One of the factors that frustrates the debate over political
correctness is the difficulty in defining this term. Commentators,
academicians, and students have written and spoken a great deal
about political correctness, yet there is no commonly accepted
definition for the term. While searching for a definition of
political correctness, it is important to recognize that the term, in
the university context, refers both to university speech codes and
to informal attempts by students and faculty to heighten sensitivity
to cultural, racial, and sexual issues.
The only court that has attempted to define political correctness
referred to the definition in Random House Webster's College
Dictionary which defines the term as [m]arked by a progressive
orthodoxy on issues involving race, gender, sexual affinity or
ecology.4 This definition provides some assistance, but the
term progressive orthodoxy could be accorded a wide range of
meanings, from calling for racial and sexual sensitivity to
censoring those ideas that violate the orthodoxy.
Critics of political correctness define it as a widespread
tendency to use censorship, intimidation and other weapons
abhorrent to the American political process to support popular
demands for measures to enforce sexual, racial, and ethnic
equality.' Others define political correctness as the phenomenon
that occurs whenever a majority opinion is so deeply assumed
that persons who might voice another opinion or seem to deviate
from the majority are regarded as alien and perhaps even evil.
Richard Liby is a third year student at the University of Kansas School
of Law.
UN

[Plolitical
correctness  was first
used in the Stalinist
Soviet Union
to refer to those who
followed the party
line.

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