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CoryDeskins

My professor wouldn't let me use the word "man" in class.

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My political science professor was lecturing to the class about the need for more environmental regulations. I raised my hand and tried to argue that human life and success depends on conquering the environment for our own ends. At the end of my comment I said that many environmentalists are anti-man. The professor quickly told me to rephrase my comment without using sexist language. She said that the word "man" was sexist and patriarchal. This really made me upset so I launched into a passionate defense of the word "man" as a concept designating all of mankind. She asked why I couldn't just say "humankind" and I said that it was because I should feel free to use the word "man" without fear of a politically correct backlash. 

It was a really intense, argumentative back and forth which made me extremely uncomfortable. As a student, was it proper to debate her in front of the whole class? In the end, she never addressed my comments and told me to avoid using sexist language in her class in the future. 

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Why don't you try saying something actually sexist, and see how she likes that. Additionally, start all of your questions with, "Man, I really wish...", "Man, that's a great point, Teacher." Or you could go the other way, and say, "Human, can I go to the bathroom?"

Or, if you're looking to get through college as unscathed as possible while achieving the primary goal -- a degree -- keep your head down and try to use the time doing something you won't be able to do once you begin a working man's life: reading a lot, going for walks in weird places at weird hours, starting a business, whatever. Sit and think for a second: what did you gain by arguing? If you continue like that throughout the semester, what realistic outcomes could you hope to achieve? My prediction: arguing by proxy through the administration, tension in class, worse grades, and worst of all, attention devoted to a fruitless endeavor.

If you want to make a point and change minds, there are probably better outlets than raising your hand in a college class and arguing at length in front of everyone.

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5 hours ago, CoryDeskins said:

My political science professor was lecturing to the class about the need for more environmental regulations. I raised my hand and tried to argue that human life and success depends on conquering the environment for our own ends. At the end of my comment I said that many environmentalists are anti-man. The professor quickly told me to rephrase my comment without using sexist language. She said that the word "man" was sexist and patriarchal. This really made me upset so I launched into a passionate defense of the word "man" as a concept designating all of mankind. She asked why I couldn't just say "humankind" and I said that it was because I should feel free to use the word "man" without fear of a politically correct backlash. 

It was a really intense, argumentative back and forth which made me extremely uncomfortable. As a student, was it proper to debate her in front of the whole class? In the end, she never addressed my comments and told me to avoid using sexist language in her class in the future. 

No, it wasn't "inappropriate". She doesn't have the right to tell you what to say to her. As long as you're allowed to talk during class, it's not inappropriate to say what you mean.

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Thanks for the replies guys. I normally do not argue politics at all on campus for exactly this reason. I didn't want to argue with the professor, it was just that she went too far and I felt the need to speak up. I was very polite when I raised my hand to comment. I simply wanted to state an alternative opinion and had no idea she would interrupt me in the middle of speaking. I don't know how many of you reading this are fellow college students, but let me just say that the situation on college campuses has become extremely toxic for Objectivists. I kid you not, almost everyone here is a Bernie Sanders supporter. One of my other political science professors actually  urged the class to vote for Bernie Sanders, though he didn't give any extra credit. To be honest, I feel stressed and alienated here. Once I saw a "Who is John Galt?" sticker on the back of somebody's car but it was parked and there was nobody in it and I thought it would be strange to leave some kind of note. I think I must have misinterpreted something in the Objectivist literature because holding these beliefs has really negatively impacted my standard of living. I know Leonard Peikoff talked about this exact issue in "Understanding Objectivism," but unfortunately it's not in my dorm room with me... I could really use it right now. Of course, I would never go back in time and erase "Atlas Shrugged" from my reading list of 2008. I just have some things to think through and work out. You guys have any other thoughts? 

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College is a microcosm that forces you to be around people and things you may not choose yourself at a later point in life. So, that could be annoying. But, it's just another set of circumstances that you need to navigate as best as you can. Trying to find people you like, do things you like, and avoiding the bad stuff as much as you can -- college isn't much different than the rest of life in that regard.

As for "seeing the light" with Atlas Shrugged, what if you'd grown up in some much more restrictive area of the world, and learned what you have all the same from Atlas Shrugged? Would the principles still apply? What about the characters in the book itself? They witnessed worse happenings than we have thus far. Did the message work for them? It can be difficult learning about the irrationality in the world -- at first. Eventually, though, you begin to see that there is a good life to be made in all sorts of circumstances, and then your bad feelings begin to change for the better, reflecting your new evaluations.

 

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CoryDeskins, Your professor's ire at your comments indicates that she cannot be reasoned with. Don't try to reason someone out of a position that they did not reason themselves into. She felt her way into her opinions and there is nothing you can do about that.

Concerning your intellectual isolation, I can relate. It is almost as though you are a different species. From the conceptual point of view, you are and that's a good thing. Perhaps someday cultures will evolve from their current pitiful conditions. That said, there is nothing in this world that can prevent you from achieving good things. Let the Law of Causality be your guide.

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This really made me upset so I launched into a passionate defense of the word "man" as a concept designating all of mankind. She asked why I couldn't just say "humankind" and I said that it was because I should feel free to use the word "man" without fear of a politically correct backlash. 

Would you do the same with the word "nigger" or "kike" etc.?

 

I am by  no means saying that they are the same thing, in fact I agree that your professor's aversion to the word "mankind" is silly at best, but it's a good thing to try to look at things from another person's point of view.

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Please cite this information next time it comes up.

The word "man" derives from the old usage referring to humans. In Old English male humans were referred to as wer man and females as wif man. By the 13 century, the term "wer" simply began to fade out as words often do, and males were just simply referred to as man. If we were to speculate on the significance of evolution of language, it can be speculated that keeping the term "wif", later being "wo", was more respectful toward women, considering the deserved special recognition.

The word "man" is derived from Old English as person. It's usage as also meaning males is amounts to laziness, not conspiracy.

<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_(word)>

<http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=man>

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