Introduction: Political Correctness (03:16)
Richard D. Heffner welcomes writer and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel. Wiesel argues that people should be sensitive to the feelings of others out of compassion, rather than for self-serving reasons. He advocates using "humanly correct" modes of language.
Destabilization of Language (02:41)
Wiesel gives examples of how language has become violent or fails to sufficiently portray a situation's gravity. Language should unite, rather than separate people. However, he argues against shaming or ostracizing people for their language choices.
Familiarity Breeds Content (02:47)
Heffner asks whether academics are obligated to be aware of feelings of exclusion among women. Wiesel struggles to find female authors when designing philosophy courses, but attempts to understand female students' perspectives.
Efforts to be Humanly Correct (02:27)
Wiesel has asked African-American colleagues how they prefer to be identified. He encourages students to use sensitive words or read certain material.
Academic Freedom (02:35)
Wiesel argues that teachers must feel free to teach what they want. An open admission experiment at a city college resulted in students threatening professors not to fail them. Many were not prepared academically for college level courses.
Leading by Example (03:14)
Wiesel says teachers are responsible for students adopting politically correct language and ideas, and should not punish students for using hateful language. If unable to convince a student, he would ask them to leave his class.
Words are Weapons (06:03)
Wiesel would listen to the victim to assess whether the use of hate language requires intervention. He and Heffner agree that words are increasingly used to distort reality for political motives—with negative psychological impacts.
Language Uses (02:42)
Wiesel says philosophy is best expressed in French. Journalism is best written in American English due to its concreteness and precision. He believes television has weakened the written press.
Credits: Episode 6: Political Correctness (00:11)
Credits: Episode 6: Political Correctness
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