The University of Southern California: The Teddy Bear MassacreLike so many other traditions, the burning of the bruin was put on the chopping block recently. The long running University of Southern California spirit activity consisted of throwing a large stuffed bear in a bon fire the night before the football game against their rival, the University of California at Los Angeles. The Black Student Union and other student organizations recently questioned the event. Their concern was that the event too closely resembled past lynching of African Americans in the American south.This raises the question of whether it is appropriate to censor ideas that are not created to offend certain groups. Political correctness, the underlying ideal, is the "particular set of attitudes about the world that its proponents maintain should be actively promoted." [Clark 369] Proponents of political correctness, or PC, had good intentions in devising the idea, but it has serious flaws. Although political correctness was founded with good intent, it does more harm than good.The most noticeable example of harm is how PC proponents try to please everyone at the same time. The burning of the bruin was just one of many activities held during the week before the big UCLA game. The idea being that everyone could find something that they could identify with and rally around their school. If the burning was intentionally created to represent or oppress the offended students, the event would have been banned long ago. However, as Matt Hutaff stated in his editorial in the Daily Trojan:"It's about school pride. It's love for the things that brought the university to where it is today. It is traditions that define a school; it's student body and its heritage. Strip the school of its traditions and all you have is a school that isn't worth rallying behind." In appeasing one group, it seems the university neglected another...
Cited: /b>Clark, Irene L. Writing about Diversity. Chap. 7: pp. 369-404.
Hutaff, Matt. Traditions Shouldn 't Need a Return Policy. Daily Trojan: Sep 11, 1997: pp. 4-5.
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