Professor Chides Student For Using Term ‘Third World Country’

Aug 19, 2014 by

by Jennifer Kabbany –

When Katie Foster took a sociology class at Mt. San Jacinto College in Southern California to pursue a degree in psychology, she never thought her professor would inject politics into the subject.

But’s that often what the professor would do, Foster told The College Fix in an interview Monday about the class she took last semester.

“She’d say, ‘Why do Republicans do that?’ or ‘I hate Bush,’” Foster recalled, adding such comments did not add value to the lessons.

But one moment in the class stands out in particular – the time Foster’s professor corrected her for using the expression “Third World country” during a discussion on world economics.

“She said, ‘Technically it’s a a Third World country, but we don’t refer to it like that, because it’s demeaning,’ ” Foster said, adding that she was instructed to refer to such countries as “developing nations.”

Foster said she was a bit taken aback by the reprimand.

“People are too sensitive these days,” Foster said. “I thought it was kind of silly that she said that.”

But in reality, the expression “Third World country” is often frowned upon in the halls of higher education.

Brown University, for example, is currently in the process of renaming its Third World Center, with campus leaders calling for “a new name … that reflects the spirit and legacy of student activism among communities of color.”

According to a Sept. 2013 article in The Brown Daily Herald, “Brown is the only Ivy League university to have a Third World Center. In 2002, Princeton renamed its Third World Center to the Carl A. Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding.”

Over at Princeton, the name change was prompted by “growing concerns about the ambiguous nature of the center’s name. For many, the name was problematic – even divisive,” the university’s website states.

“Progressives love change, and they can’t stop tinkering with the names of things, in the hope that if the meaning of words change, your thinking will be appropriately molded, usually with deleterious effect,” one Brown University observer told The College Fix. “As Orwell once wrote in his essay, Politics and the English Language, ‘if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought,’ and erase historical context and depth of meaning.”

“At Brown, we love name changes,” he added. “For example, in 2009, Brown University stopped officially celebrating Columbus Day in favor of ‘Fall Weekend.’ No one is fooled by this euphemism, but now we no longer have to honor Columbus and feel guilty for taking the day off. Even the name Brown University has been seriously questioned, but happily, this is still too far a leap.”

via Professor Chides Student For Using Term ‘Third World Country’.

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