Letter: Keep the Political Correctness Debate Going

To the Editor:

 I have pored over each issue of The Student Life since arriving here at Pomona, and I cannot be the only one who believes that discourse in the Opinions section finally arrived at the heart of what truly drives Pomona students’ thoughts and discussions. The political correctness debate is one that greets us when we arrive on campus for orientation, during sponsor training, in our history classes, in line for Mudd Pasta Night—it’s everywhere. Sometimes it is greeted with seriousness, sometimes humor, sometimes hurt feelings. So when I saw an Opinions piece advising us to stop “beating this dead horse,” I was incredibly dismayed. When the author “[implores] us all to engage in a more direct dialogue by figuring out what exactly we are either supporting or resenting when we speak about political correctness,” I see just that in the articles by Oliver Shirley and Xiaoyin Qu. Here are two students, in response to the recent uptick in discourse, speaking at a personal level, not just in lofty theoreticals. Shirley recounts a personal journey of self-understanding and, in turn, how that shapes his view of this discourse, whereas Qu tells of her personal reaction to what many of us would consider “touchy subjects,” and how she navigates these comments with humor and patience. By continuing to publish thoughtful, fresh articles in this discourse, TSL would be legitimizing and curating a debate that would otherwise take place at the dinner table, in comments on Facebook, or—dare I say?—grassroots student publications put out by disenchanted thinkers. (On that note, if TSL is wondering whether or not students are tiring of this debate, they can look to the fact that, by late afternoon, there were almost no copies left to find of this aforementioned literature as a testament to student interest.) I believe the campus newspaper is the most professional way to organize and communicate student attitudes, with content peer-reviewed by some of the best and brightest on campus. Sure, our home-grown publication is not a nationally circulated publication, but it is the voice of the students here in Claremont, and that is what matters. Please, do not cease this debate as it begins to blossom into something truly productive; we are nowhere near the “culmination” of this debate here on campus, so why should we end it in print?  

Joanmarie Del Vecchio 

Pomona College Class of 2015