Conversations at the 5Cs are really like nothing else. Words are meticulously chosen, potentially discriminatory second meanings are hastily thrown into the dump and any signs of political incorrectness are—you got it—corrected. Of course, I just made a generalization about a mass of people that cannot possibly be true and therefore would detract from my credibility were I to actually mean what I wrote. For all the political correctness on these campuses, I have noticed quite a bit of generalizing.
One particular case has stuck with me. I was sitting at Frank Dining Hall about two weeks ago when I happened upon an advertisement for a meeting on abortion-related issues, given by the Advocates for Survivors of Sexual Assault. The first line of the advertisement read: “Do you feel like the Republican Party has a personal vendetta against your uterus?”
At first, I was just surprised. I thought to myself, “Is the whole of the Republican Party really being generalized here?” As a supporter of the Advocates, and appreciative of the role they play in the community, I wondered what compelled a group whose values stem from acceptance and respect to write this.
But it went further. The second sentence of the advertisement read: “Are you shocked and appalled that all these straight white men are attempting to moralize and legislate your sex life? Do they think it’s still the 14th century? (probably).”
Then it seemed as if I could be the one being referenced as the “bully” in the ad. I am a straight white male, and politically independent. However, I, along with many other Republicans I know, fully support abortion rights, as much as any Democrat.
Of course, I understand where this advertisement stems from. Some people, often Republicans, want to restrict women’s basic rights, such as the right to abortion. Some use justifications like religion, and some make rash, and so obviously wrong, claims—like Congressman Todd Akin’s notorious “legitimate rape” argument.
Though it may seem to the contrary, the Republican Party is diverse, comprising many people of different viewpoints and beliefs. How can one generalize about such a large group of people?
That being said, I would be fully supportive of accusations and criticisms of specific Republicans, such as Congressman Akin of Missouri. Even though the general Republican Party principles favor an anti-abortion stance, any generalization of a group of people that large is inherently false. I am willing to bet that a similar advertisement to this one by the Advocates, were it making a generalization about a minority group, would cause immensely greater public response. I am almost appalled this advertisement has not.
Obviously, one should not stereotype all Iranians as extremists simply because the Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is one. That would be a gross and irrational generalization. At the 5Cs, we are so liberal and universally accepting of minorities, lower-income people and LGBTQ students, among many other groups, that we begin to have negative feelings toward majority groups. We can help the disadvantaged without rejecting those more advantaged or making generalizations about their beliefs.