A University of Toronto psychology professor is facing pushback after challenging the concepts of gender fluidity and political correctness. Despite his confidence, Peterson’s views are nothing short of ignorant and sensational.
On Sept. 27, 2016 Jordan Peterson of the U of T released a YouTube video lecture expressing his denial of gender fluidity and the existence of non-binary genders.
“I don’t think that that’s a valid idea. I don’t think there’s any evidence for it,” Peterson said regarding non-binary identities, going as far as to add, “I don’t recognize another person’s right to determine what pronouns I used to address them. I won’t do it.”
It is clear that this man is acting out of fear — fear of change, of his view point being challenged, of being made uncomfortable and of the inconvenience of changing his teaching style.
In his first of three videos on political correctness, Peterson brings up a conversation he had with an American colleague in which they explained they’re forced to self-censor themselves due to the fear for persecution, which inevitably led to them feeling like they’re not able to teach to their full capacities.
Censorship by the state, institutions and the individual are common ways to argue against political correctness. These are extraordinarily weak arguments for three reasons.
First off, if there is a word that is deemed unacceptable there is probably a better word to use or a better context to use it in without jeopardizing the point you are making and still being politically correct.
Secondly, if you’re scared that what you’re teaching in your lectures may constitute hate speech, perhaps it’s a good thing that you are forced to mull over its validity before saying it.
Lastly, it comes down to privilege. The chances are that, as a man — especially one who will not even acknowledge the realness of gender fluidity — Peterson has never had the experience of being misgendered. As a seemingly cisgendered straight man, he has never had his identity denied, invalidated or challenged rather than merely accepted.
Peterson also seems to be acting out of ignorance with the way he talks about those who are most affected by “politically incorrect” people like him. He’s not very sophisticated in his rhetoric surrounding non-binary issues.
When reading policy and legislation from the Ontario Human Rights Commission, Peterson is thrown off by the use of “their” in a singular context, expressing that the author either was either unintelligent or careless.
In reality, it’s Peterson who didn’t do his homework, or he would have recognized that the Oxford English Dictionary has added they/their onto their list for singular pronouns.
He also claims that he does not understand how someone can identify as neither gender and that he is confused on how you can be both as they are the antithesis of one another. Peterson even goes as far as to say that there are and have only ever been two biological sexes.
Peterson’s claim that the binary exists is factually wrong. According to the Intersex Society of North America, one out of every 1,666 people are neither XX nor XY and one in 1,000 people are XXY intersex.
When Peterson is confused about what a person that is neither genders could be, the word he was looking for is agendered. Conversely, bi-gendered is when someone’s gender identity contains both male and female.
It seems pretty blatant that ignorance and fear are what are driving Peterson’s perspective. Like most people who cry out about — as he puts it — the Marxist left’s political correctness and censorship, he avoids showing that he is actually just scared of change, leading him to scapegoat the blame for his concerns to the false erosion of free speech.
Just because Peterson doesn’t think he’s a bigoted person doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t either.
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