Opponents of "political correctness" in higher education are conspiring to strengthen dominance of white males in American society, a Kansas University professor said Tuesday.
Allan Hanson, professor of anthropology, said anti-PC activists are part of a "conservative conspiracy to slow and stop the loosening grip of white male hegemony in this country."
Hanson was among four KU faculty who participated in a panel discussion at Adams Alumni Center. It was sponsored by KU's Hall Center for the Humanities.
The panel followed a speech Monday at KU by Dinesh D'Souza, an American Enterprise Insitute research fellow who criticized university faculty who are PC supporters.
Carl Lande, professor of political science, said he was concerned PC supporters are threatening the fundamental values of Western civilization.
While in the Soviet Union recently, Lande said he tried to explain the PC movement in the United States. Soviet scholars compared PC to socialism, he said.
It's good for Americans to become more sensitive to other cultures, but there is a danger multiculturalism can denegrate Western civilization, Lande said.
"PC is largely a dead horse," said Michael Young, professor of philosophy.
Omofolabo Ajayi, assistant professor of theater and film and women's studies, said opponents of PC want to destroy civil rights and women's programs.
"That's the motivation of the anti-PC crowd, to kill them off," she said.
Hanson said anti-PC activists, such as D'Souza, exaggerate the PC problem on college campuses. They use the same examples of PC activity over and over, he said.
"The data base upon which the anti-PC people draw isn't that large, given especially that there are hundreds of universities in the United States," he said.
Hanson also disputed D'Souza's belief that non-Western cultures are intentionally portrayed inaccurately in the classroom to further the political goals of PC faculty.
"I've taught non-Western history for a quarter century and that's not true," he said.