Modern Educayshun


Many seminars discussing racial issues were held around campus in honor of the week of reflection on race relations.

By Mike Byrne

Political correctness — the idea that one should avoid forms of expression that could potentially offend — will destroy the education system. At least, this is the claim that a new viral video, “Modern Educayshun,” makes. In it, a politically correct teacher and her students focus more on making sure marginalized people feel comfortable and safe instead of on academics. Although, if creator-comedian Neel Kolhatkar were describing the video, he would probably put air quotes around “marginalized” and talk about how minorities actually have an advantage because the public awards them for simply being minorities. The message seems to resonate with many, as the short film has gained about two million views and has an overwhelming majority of “likes” on YouTube.

Everything in the video is misguided, from the laughably heavy-handed title, to the actors who ham it up to create caricatures of politically correct individuals, to a questionable metaphor (those who do not go along with PC culture are locked in a box). In the video, political correctness runs rampant and distorts the facts, which is illustrated when the correct answer to the problem “three times three” turns out to be “gender equality.” To Kolhatkar, it is only a matter of time before society becomes a bleak dystopia where students are robotic and spew meaningless PC phrases.

The video ends up being neither funny nor insightful. Kolhatkar tries to use a humorous lens to uncover what he sees as the absurdity of political correctness, but it turns out to be nothing more than a stale and shallow condemnation of culture.

“Modern Educayshun” makes the argument that political correctness is bad, no exceptions. It makes an interesting observation about the hostility of PC culture but remains one-sided. To Kolhatkar, political correctness is unprovoked. He acts as if it is just some trend that allows young people to do what they love most: whine. He fails to acknowledge that many young people want a shift in culture because there are legitimate problems. Racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, etc. are not just unsupported “liberal buzzwords.” They are real issues ingrained in our language and society that deserve proper attention.

PC culture deserves a better analysis than Kolhatkar and many others give it. This season of “South Park,” a show often regarded as politically incorrect, has done an excellent job of examining the possible shortcomings of PC culture while still recognizing its merit and understanding that it is a response to a culture of genuine intolerance.

The idea that political correctness somehow takes away from standard education is preposterous and completely unsubstantiated. There was even a study done at Cornell that concluded political correctness fosters more communication and productivity. The problem with “Modern Educayshun” is that it feels like Kolhatkar stopped trying to be an artist/comedian and started trying to be a political pundit.