As a protest, people have begun purposely engaging in what is referred to as "anti-political correctness culture," referring to the language that is used to typically be respectful and inoffensive.
Students should refrain from engaging in such behavior as it can cost them more than just their reputation, but their careers.
Rejecting ideals is a fair first amendment right, but purposely using language that is seen as outdated and offensive towards already marginalized groups is socially not appropriate.
Professionalism is important and standards exist equally amongst all sides, and these standards exist for a reason. Political correctness, when referring to everyday language, is expected because it ties in, at its root, with maturity.
What makes it so difficult for people to refuse adhering to basic respect, which is now categorized as political correctness? If the majority of one's environment is not using racial slurs, ableist language and generally offensive language, that speaks volumes about the extent of maturity one may obtain.
Bobbie Trude, an internship support coordinator for the College of Health Solutions, said there's a social standard for how people should behave.
"How you talk to them, using appropriate language and grammar, making sure you present yourself in the best way. A lot of students struggle with this when they first get into their internships," she said.
With more ways to maintain evidence and a greater sense of accountability, people get fired because of the type of language they engage in on social media.
If the only word one can think of falls under offensive terminology, that raises a serious question about the level of maturity one might possess.
"Many of the places care about the image that employees give," Trude said. "Even if it's outside of work. Posting things on social media could be shared or viewed by your employer somehow."
If civility cannot be upheld when using language that references other identities and backgrounds, there exists no guarantee that the individual can be trusted to uphold the values of their employer.
"Businesses do have an obligation to make sure that people they're hiring are respectable," Trude said.
This generation isn't too soft or sensitive, whatsoever.
The people touting this rhetoric are upset that a conversation about combating prejudice includes casual offensive behavior, which has been brushed off for decades. This is an accepted branch of offensive behavior that many participate in because it isn't seen as harsh as direct prejudice.
Nonetheless, these methods of speech produce similar outcomes.
Employers expect a specific standard of professionalism and behavior, one that does not put at risk other people. Rejecting language that falls under what is considered "political correctness" is not a strong political statement, but immaturity that can rightfully cost someone their career.
"If something happened, if they go home and get in a fight and get arrested or something, I promise the first thing it's going to say in the paper is where that person works and what they do," Trude said.
There are many more effective means of protesting and maintaining one's free speech that doesn't include immature language, all the while maintaining the respect of others, especially employers.
Correction: Due to an error in the editing process, a source's pronoun was incorrectly stated. The article has been updated to reflect the changes.
Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.
Want to join the conversation? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep letters under 500 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.