WMU News

Addressing the extremes of political correctness

Nov. 5, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- When has political correctness run amok? A Western Michigan University professor hopes to answer this question at an upcoming lecture sponsored by the Center for the Study of Ethics in Society.

Dr. Joseph Ellin, professor of philosophy, will present "Political Correctness Today" at 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14, in Room 215 of the Bernhard Center. The lecture will address three themes Ellin believes are central to political correctness: sensitivity, diversity and multiculturism.

"For something to be 'PC,' it must contain a good idea carried to extremes," says Ellin. "In some cases these extremes are ridiculous, but in others they are clearly malign."

His presentation also will explore some well-known cases, including the temporary suspension of funding for The Hawk's Right Eye, a conservative publication at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island; the media silence surrounding "Coloring the News," a book by William McGowan criticizing the media for ignoring stories because of a liberal agenda; and the famous case of Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu, who wrote "I, Rigoberta Menchu," an autobiography chronicling her family's years living under an oppressive Guatemalan government. While doing research in Guatemala, anthropology professor David Stoll conducted interviews with people mentioned in the book who claimed many of the experiences Menchu wrote about were fabrications.

WMU's Center for the Study of Ethics in Society was established to encourage and support research, teaching and service to the University and community in the areas of applied and professional ethics. For more information, call (269) 387-4397.

Media contact: Matt Gerard, 269 387-8400, matthew.gerard@wmich.edu

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