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Perhaps David Horowitz should relax a little.

I'm getting my master's in nonprofit management, and interspersed with all the feel-good, save-the-world nonprofit classes are several straight-up management classes that overlap with the regular MBA program. I'm an idealist, but I'm not naive -- I expect the texts and discussions in these classes to lean a little rightward (I kept my mouth shut and rolled my eyes when the professor of my HR class mentioned offhandedly how important it was to keep your employees from unionizing). My current class, Ethical Leadership, has a textbook that cites Rudolph Giuliani and George W. Bush as examples of strong leaders (!!!), but the passage I read last night -- about "politically correct" language inhibiting workplace communication -- chapped my ass so bad I had to write "OH, BULLSHIT!" in the margin, and I never deface a textbook! I share:

We must be sensitive to others' feelings. Certain words can and do stereotype, intimidate, and insult individuals. In an increasingly diverse workforce, we must be sensitive to how words might offend others. But there's a downside to political correctness. It's complicating our vocabulary and making it more difficult for people to communicate. To illustrate, you probably know what these four terms mean: death, garbage, quotas, and women. But each of these words has been found to offend one or more groups. They've been replaced with terms like "negative patient outcome," "postconsumer waste materials," "educational equity," and "people of gender."

Give me a goddamned break! Are we really supposed to believe that an actual corporation in actual America ever told its employees to refer to women as "people of gender" because someone might get offended?!? And what's with the gratuitous affirmative action bashing? His examples read like he lifted them out of a "wacky" e-mail forward or, even more tragically, some Dennis Miller stand-up.

But, hey, why bother checking your facts when you can just use urban legends to invoke the specter of liberal thought police ruling corporate america with a helicopter of iron fists?

The book also goes on to say in the next section that "English terms such as efficiency, free market, and regulation are not directly translatable into Russian." (Because you know those lazy Commies! They don't understand freedom!) (And, honestly, every language has words and ideas that don't directly translate into other languages. That's why English regularly steals words like "burrito" and "entrepreneur" and "Schadenfreude." Jeez.)

Also, the author repeats that old saw about how Eskimos have so many words for "snow" (of course, so do we -- flake, flurry, blizzard, powder, slush, etc.) and how you can never really be sure what the Japanese are thinking.

Replies: 1 Confession

Geez--they even included the "inscrutable Asian" stereotype? I'm guessing the next chapter has something on how Mexicans make bad workers because they "like to take siestas."

chgored @ 04/13/2005 10:37 AM CST


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