We Asked Kids Raging at Spring Break if They Think College Is Too PC

"People overreact to a lot of things they shouldn't."
April 1, 2016, 9:48pm

Problematic language. Microaggressions. Trigger warnings. These are but a few politically correct buzzwords that have found a home on modern college campuses. It's enough to make a cis white male want to puke into his Natty Ice! But is Jerry Seinfeld right? Have colleges become too PC for their own good? We went to spring break at Lake Havasu, Arizona, and asked college students what they thought about the rise of PC culture on their campuses.

Conversations have been edited for length and clarity.

Christian (left), business major, Cal State Long Beach, Gabby (middle), business major, Cal State Long Beach, Matt (right), business major, Cal State Long Beach

VICE: How do you feel about the rise of PC culture on college campuses?
Christian: I think it's terrible.
Gabby: Actually awful.
Christian**:** It's impeding people's first amendment rights. People are just way too sensitive.

Have your personal rights been impeded upon?
Christian: I don't think personally, but I've seen it a lot going on with other colleges, how there are protests and stuff over really stupid stuff. There's not really that much at Cal State Long Beach, because we're—
Matt: We're more of a commuter school, so we don't get a lot of protests or anything. But it's just around. What makes it worse is because there's such a minority of it because it is a commuter school. So it looks even worse on our campus, if that makes sense.

What do you mean?
Matt: There are a lot less protestors on our campus. There are a lot less people who care on our campus, because they're just there to come to class and leave. So I couldn't tell you from our... it sucks because of... I don't know how to describe it. Like, we're in Greek life, so it's kinda different for us. We actually get in trouble for little things that wouldn't seem that bad, but because we're in the spotlight all the time.

Like what? Hazing, or...?
Matt: No, no, no. I'm talking about any time we have any parties whatsoever, they're very, very biased because, uh, media. I honestly feel like... it's kinda hard to describe.
Gabby: We're spotlit. Like, people zoom in on what we do because Long Beach doesn't have a lot going on. So it's like whatever we do, people zoom in on and blow up.
Matt**:** Basically, people overreact to a lot of things they shouldn't. And when you take it out of context, when people just read something and they don't know what really happens, they form opinions that aren't really accurate. So I feel like PC culture overall has just had a very negative effect when it comes to people having freedom. When it comes down to it, it's media. I mean, even you—you can say whatever you want, I can't hold you against it. It's not your fault, your opinion.

On Motherboard: How Millennials and Their Content Farms Commodified Political Correctness

Well, all I'm doing is quoting you, but I understand what you're saying.
Matt: In general, any person can say what they want and they can't get hurt by it, by saying whatever the hell they want.
Gabby: Yeah. But our entire system can essentially crumble because of what the media decides.
Christian: Because one person says [something], and then when it comes out that, like, none of that shit was true, there's nothing that comes out and says, "Oh, hey, we were wrong."
Gabby: Yeah. Exactly.
Matt: And so we get put on blast, and then all of a sudden it comes out that we were—
Gabby: In the clear.
Matt: That we were good the whole time, but because one person either didn't like us or got mad or whatever it was.

Have you guys been taking actions to protect yourselves from that?
Gabby: Absolutely.
Matt: We have to be a lot more careful now, and more serious when it comes to just, like, watching yourself, and all your brothers and everything. You just have to take everything a lot more seriously.
Christian: You have to think. The biggest thing is like—
Gabby: Looking out for your system, as a whole, instead of just yourself. It's like, I'm in a sorority, they're in a fraternity, but I still don't want them to be hurt. We all help on another.
Christian: There's a pressure for us to act a certain way. Twenty, thirty years ago, there was probably a lot worse stuff going on, so, like, restricting certain things is definitely good. It's how we grow. It's how everyone can I guess feel more comfortable in your own society. So that's good. But, I mean, if I'm not doing anything wrong, and I'm getting in trouble for it—
Matt: I'm like, Wait, what? I'm pissed.

Sebastian (left), business major, San Jose StateNick (right), mechanical Engineering major, San Jose State

VICE: How do you feel about the rise of PC culture on college campuses?
Sebastian: PC culture?

Yeah, political correctness.
Sebastian**:** PC culture... Honestly? It's not very big.

Not at San Jose State? Or do you just not think in general?
Sebastian: Not at San Jose State.

What's the climate like at San Jose State?
Sebastian: Soft.
Nick: I don't know. It's just, like, people have their own opinions. College kids do a lot of reading, a lot of different sources, so they have, like, a lot of different opinions.

But are people very... how should I say this?
Nick: Liberal, conservative? California's supposed to be, like, a conservative state, but I talk to a lot of liberals. So it's just, like, fuck Trump. [Both laugh]

How are you guys voting?
Nick: I'm not voting.
Sebastian: I'm not voting for Trump.
Nick: I'll agree with, like, one candidate's perspective but, like, then the other's perspective, like...
Sebastian: Honestly? Trump?
Nick: I completely disagree with, so... I'm not doing it this year.

Sam (left), undeclared major, Mt. Sac ("it's a little community college")Adi (right), mechanical engineering major, San Jose State

VICE: How do you feel about the rise of PC culture on college campuses?
Sam: It's a mixed blessing, I would say. I appreciate the sensitivity that comes from people. I think it makes sense to try to be cautious and take care of what the people think. But at the same time, I think it stops people from interacting with others. I think it's a barrier.

Do you think it puts up walls between people that didn't exist previously?
Sam: It can if you're not careful. Like, it's a delicate balance between people who want to mix, and people who are trying too hard not to, 'cause people can come overboard with political correctness. It's the same idea as... what's that word? Hold on. You're gonna have to give me a little bit... obviously, I'm drunk, so... uh... what's that phrase... what's that thing that happens with the...

Describe it.
Sam: It's close to political correctness. It's kinda the same idea as quotas, but...

Affirmative action?
Sam: Thank you, yeah. Affirmative action. Again, it's a mixed blessing. Like, it's trying to equalize the disparate elements that are going on. But the problem is if they take it too far, then it starts excluding other people who would normally, uh... just by... [starts snapping] What's the word? By natural quality? No. Who, who, who by themselves, like, they have, they have, the uh...

Sam: Yeah, they have the natural ability, just through education, they... they've worked hard to be great students. But because of just a different color, they're not allowed in. So it's a delicate balance. Because there have been generations of people who have been excluded out because of the color of their skin. And now, it's almost... I don't want to say reverse discrimination, because it's not.
Adi: I believe in excellence, honestly. I'm not an American citizen. I'm here on a visa, but I still believe in excellence. Somebody who deserves to get that position, in any kind of job, deserves that. Not because he's a certain race.
Sam: And the problem is, it's really hard to measure.
Adi: It's hard to measure. There has to be a standard test.
Sam: Like, how do you know who wants it more? There's no litmus test for who wants it. There's no litmus test for motivation. How do you... how do you prescribe that?

Adi, how are you so with it? You're the most with it person I've met today. You can't be drunk, are you?
Adi: No, I'm not. I had a few drinks, but that's about it. I'm taking care of Nicole, she's my friend. But I'm not drunk, no.

Name not disclosed, English and radio/TV/film double major, recent graduate of Cal State Fullerton

VICE: We're asking people how they feel about the rise of PC culture on college campuses.
The Dude: To be honest, I didn't notice anything. I was in a frat, so I was more about partying.

You never even noticed it on the outside looking in? Maybe people gave you shit because you were in a frat?
I mean, there was that, but not too much, to be honest. I never experienced, like, "Fuck you, you're in a frat, you're a rapist." Never got that sort of thing. At all.

Did something like that ever happen to anyone you know?
I have seen sort of, like, the rape culture. Young dudes trying to get it in. But nothing too crazy, just once. Here's the thing, though—it's like, the one time I did see that, there was another dude in the frat trying to stop it from happening. The surprising thing was, he was more like a dude I wouldn't have thought would've defended against rape culture. Does that make sense?

So you're saying rape culture is an exaggeration?
A little bit. It's a problem, but not as extreme as has been portrayed lately. At least in my college. I never heard of a lot of girls being raped. I never heard of the whole rape culture. It's just a bunch of kids trying to party, like I said. I never really saw anything that was too horrifying. It was chill, just kids trying to have fun.

Friend of the Dude (declined to be photographed), art major, Cal State Fullerton

VICE: How do you feel about the rise of PC culture on college campuses?
Friend of the Dude**:** I compare it to that South Park episode, because all those fraternity guys are the most biased fucks ever. I mean, I guess PC culture on college campuses in general is somewhat, like, you don't want to say a certain word...

Have you seen it? Has it affected you personally, or anyone you know?
I'm an art major. We're all PC. [Laughs] What you want to do is ask some of those kooky ass white boys over there.

We did.
What did they say?

They didn't understand the question at all.
They were probably just like, "Hey... wanna get laid?" basically.

No, they didn't even ask if we wanted to get laid.
Wanna get laid?

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