politically correct, hampshire college 1990

I went to Hampshire College in 1990/1991. 25 years ago. The birthplace of politically correct in its academic form was from 1988 and Smith College, an all girls college in the same town (Amherst MA) who distributed these little pamphlets to us and then nationwide.

Already its impact was felt in less than two years. I found this from June 1990, three months before I joined and I remember reading this back when I was 18 in 1990, in a piece written about what was _then_ current:

“Clothes, intellectual positions and even behavior are governed by the code of the “politically correct,” which is to say antisexist, antiracist, antihomophobic, antispecist. One of the unforeseen aspects of Hampshire turned out to be how sexually uptight the place was, even in the anything-goes atmosphere of the early 70’s. And some of those inhibitions endure as students sacrifice spontaneity to project correct behavior. No one would undo Hampshire’s committment to feminist values, which has produced on-site day-care facilities and positions of power for women, but all that right thinking can sometimes have puritanical overtones…”

So I know political correct well, as well as its hypocrisy and dangers. I believe in the underlying sentiment, which is “be nice to your neighbor”, and “not just sticks and stones but words hurt too” and all that.

PC started off in the US military in the 1980s, as their code of conduct in dealing with foreign nations. But like the telephone game, it got bastardized and the message shifted and changed and morphed over the last 25+ yrs.

The form you know was developed through the lens of white, very rich, upper class girls going to a girls’ school in 1988, who got a hold of the military standards and decided it would be good for all rich whites to follow.

I’m not a rich white (I couldn’t afford to stay at Hampshire) but I learned a LOT about how the thinking is a little different.

and I’ve watched over the last 25 years as the influence of this little pamphlet has changed things. Some things for the good but some for the worse. Some for the much worse.

So, I understand your position.

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