The University of Toronto has slapped down a professor who openly criticized the use of gender-neutral pronouns and political correctness at the post-secondary institution.
Jordan Peterson, a psychology prof, was sent a letter Tuesday that told him that he must refer to students by whatever pronoun they wish — not just ‘he’ or ‘she’ — and that he must also refrain from making public statements on the topic.
Whatever pronoun they wish? What if every student comes up with a different “pronoun”; how is Peterson supposed to refer to them [or whatever “pronoun” “they” are using instead of “them”…] in that case? Is he expected to memorize every single new pronoun? Will he be punished if he forgets one, or accidentally switches them?
Also…what the hell has happened to the left that pronouns have become the hill it wants to die on? It’s so ludicrous. How often do teachers “refer to” students anyway? Mostly they talk to students, and “you” isn’t gendered; is the occasional use of “her” or “him” really such a throbbingly urgent matter?
Well, in my view, no, it’s not, and the enraged obsession with it looks decidedly infantile, or perhaps just narcissistic. I get that people want to be “validated” but I think that’s mostly just too much to expect of other people in general. We can’t expect other people in general to give enough of a shit about us to “validate” us – they have other things to do. We all have other things to do. It’s not our job to “validate” people. Treat them decently, yes, refrain from harassing or bullying them, yes, but validate them, no. And I think it’s ludicrous that a university is telling a professor what third person pronouns he can use.
The professor published two YouTube videos on the topic of political correctness in response to the university’s plan to conduct anti-racism and anti-bias programs.
His comments sparked tense rallies both for and against his position, which argued against gender-neutral pronouns and in favour of free speech.
The university said the refusal to use gender-neutral pronouns when asked would be discrimination.
Universities should not be telling professors what words they have to say. That’s for the professors to decide. They can tell them some words not to say; nobody wants professors calling students names, and especially not politically fraught names – cunt, nigger, faggot, kike; you know the ones. But what words to say? What pronouns to say? No.
The U of T letter, signed jointly by arts and science dean David Cameron and faculty and academic life vice-provost Sioban Nelson, said the university is committed to free speech but that right has limits.
“Your statements that you will refuse to refer to transgendered persons using gender neutral pronouns if they ask you to do so are contrary to the rights of those persons to equal treatment without discrimination based on their ‘gender identity’ and gender expression,’” the letter says.
Notice the scare quotes on “gender identity.” They’re not sure gender identity is a real thing, but they’re bullying Peterson over it anyway.
I look forward to the time when we’ve moved beyond The Great Pronoun Wars.