Academic Questions

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 70–78 | Cite as

PC and the fast-food model for teaching

  • Mitchell Langbert
The Peter Shaw Memorial Award


Perhaps the chair was concerned that I had been insufficiently responsive, insufficiently therapeutic, and not customer targeted. Remember, not a single racist word was uttered by anyone in the class. The sole issue was a single word in Alinsky’s book. But, like other elaborate ideologies, political correctness is easily misinterpreted and transmuted, and the dictates of managerial expediency make misinterpretation a certainty. Administrators' needs for power and their overriding concerns with maximizing endowments and tuition revenues guarantee that subtle arguments about speech codes will be easily forgotten.

The chair responded to a student's misguided complaint by restricting my teaching and creating a rule that could not have possibly reflected an underlying concern for racist speech. Ultimately, and perhaps unconsciously, her response was a market-driven one. She believes that certain target markets are under-exploited; she received a complaint from a member of that target market; and she called on me to help resolve the marketing and quality problem. Sadly, such a pattern tends to replicate itself. As administrators institute control in the name of political correctness, the McDonaldization of higher education proceeds apace. Courses will be standardized and speech codes implemented. The McDonaldized institutions arising from the patterns that political correctness has instigated will remain in place long after the race issue has been forgotten. They will serve pecuniary purposes.


Business School Academic Freedom Academic Question Speech Code Political Correctness 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mitchell Langbert
    • 1
  1. 1.Brooklyn CollegeCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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