Columbia University student touts political correctness

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NEW YORK – Columbia University students cannot be “too politically correct,” according to Avegail Muñoz, a first-year student who says that it is  “simply not fair” that others object when she complains about what she perceives as “hateful biases.”

Muñoz, a self-described “queer, multiracial woman of color,” last month penned an opinion piece in The Columbia Daily Spectator, claiming that as a survivor of sexual assault, sufferer of multiple mental illnesses and a low-income, first-generation student, her “voice is muffled” by those who accuse her of political correctness.

She wrote:

Still, despite the presence of those who, like me, make Columbia a diverse community, it is not quite devoid of the political issues relevant today, both nationally and globally. But when students like myself proceed to address controversial political issues that directly affect our lives, we are often accused of nitpicking or, even worse, being “too politically correct.” I feel that this war on political correctness invalidates the existence and experiences of marginalized people, contradicting a campus culture that boasts inclusivity.

Many Columbia students seem to believe that because we are so “diverse,” our dorms and classrooms cannot possibly be plagued by hateful biases. Marginalized students—myself included—are told that we should not be so “sensitive” to every microaggression that we encounter, lest we come across as “ungrateful” to the University.

And that is simply not fair.

Among her beefs with the university, Muñoz lists the dearth of professors who “look like” her, the existence of people on campus who deny the existence of racism, and a lack of university resources to fight hate crimes against transgender people. She concluded:

It is time to face the reality experienced by many Columbia students: We are thrust into a stew of injustices derived from underrepresentation, misrepresentation, and an increase of “respectability politics.” Moreover, it is time to criticize those who force students to conform to the mainstream rather than simply, and rightfully, demanding acceptance from the majority.

Ultimately, I do not think that “politically correct” can ever be used as an insult. When I am “politically correct,” I am trying to be moral and inclusive—something that many people on our very own campus claim to be, but seldom are. As members of an educational institution, we have a responsibility to speak openly about injustice within our own campus so that we can extend those ethics into the world after we graduate.

Another student at the university, Micah Fleck, interviewed Muñoz through Facebook for conservative student news website The College Fix. She reportedly offered him specific examples of her experiences that included the vandalism of a pro-transgender bulletin board, having too many white professors and undergoing the stress that comes with college attendance.

Munoz reportedly admitted to Fleck that “her professors are usually white and male, thereby forcing her to look at the situation as ‘us vs. them,’” and that nobody at Columbia has literally silenced her or limited her ability to speak out.