The University of Michigan recently compiled the nation’s strictest set of “sensitivity guidelines” for their faculty and students. We take you to a faculty lounge on the Ann Arbor campus.
INT – A faculty lounge on a Friday afternoon. Several TEACHERS gather around the water cooler.
NATE: . . .so I told Jenkins, “Hey, come on, man. It’s Friday afternoon. Let’s not get all wrapped up in graduation rates. Enjoy the weekend, get refreshed, you know? Then we’ll all come back Monday and do some problem solving. Gotta keep things in perspective, right?
JENNIFER: Absolutely. Perspective. It’s a good thing.
MATT: A very good thing.
DAVID: Yes, indeed it is. Especially at the end of the week. Keep it right there. Perspective.
NATE: Hey, David, speaking of keeping things – um, I was wondering if you were done using my research software. The one you borrowed two weeks ago.
DAVID: Oh, shit! Sorry!
NATE: No, no. Not a big deal. I was just wondering, cuz I could sort of use it back. I mean, I don’t want to be an Indian-giver or anything.
(they fall uncomfortably silent)
NATE (cont.): Whoops! I mean, um, Native-American-giver.
JENNIFER: That doesn’t sound right.
NATE: I mean, you know. Shit. I wasn’t trying to be insensitive or inappropriate.
MATT:No, of course not.
DAVID: No, of course not.
NATE: It’s just that these new campus speech rules – I’m scared to say anything anymore, you know?
MATT: Well, first it was the sexual harassment deal. I used to think nothing of giving Jennifer a friendly hug at the end of the day. Now I’m scared I’ll get written up.
JENNIFER: Yeah, and I can’t grab anyone’s ass anymore!
DAVID: The speech sensitivity guidelines came from a good place, but, I mean, come on. Can we all agree that referring to a transistor board that we buy in Taiwan as “Oriental” isn’t breaking anyone’s heart?
NATE: Seriously. I don’t get what everyone is so tense about. I mean, I hate when people try to be polite and they call me a homosexual. I’m a faggot. A big screaming queen. A cocksmoker. Let’s be honest.
MATT: Sure. When I’m hanging around with all my Jewish friends we call each other Jew-boy and cheap Hebrew, and shit like that. They’re just words. They only have a stigma attached to them because we let them.
JENNIFER: That is so true. My boyfriend, Darnell. He looks like Denzel Washington but he’s got an attitude like Spike Lee. “African-American”? He’s not African, he was born in Detroit for chrissakes. I don’t go around demanding people call me a “European-American.” I was born in Pacoima!
NATE: I’m sure when he’s giving you some of that African spearing you don’t mind it.
JENNIFER: Sorry to ruin your fantasy, Nate. Darnell’s hung like a white guy.
JENNIFER: But he’s very well-endowed with righteousness. African-American. It’s pretty funny isn’t it. . .Hey, let’s break the workplace speech rules together, have a little rebellion when no one else is listening. Why don’t we all just call Darnell what he really is. None of this African-American bullshit. On three, we say what he really is. One, two, three—
JENNIFER, NATE, MATT: Black! DAVID: Negro!