“Political correctness” has plagued college campuses for longer than today’s students have been alive. The first administrative measures to prohibit “racially offensive” speech date from the late 1980s; another early milestone was Jesse Jackson’s 1988 visit to Stanford University to lead a chant of “Hey hey, ho ho, Western Civ has got to go.”
But on campuses, the deeper origins of the problem, as author Scott Greer recognizes, lie in the policy of affirmative action, a euphemism for awarding unearned preferences to low-achieving racial groups. The original rationale for the policy was that American blacks did not perform academically at white levels because of historical oppression (rather than genetic limitations), and deserved a temporary boost until the effects of oppression faded.
In the 1978 Bakke Supreme Court decision, Justice Lewis Powell ruled that strict numerical quotas were unconstitutional, but he endorsed the consideration of race as a means to obtain a “diverse student body.” The effects of this decision were 1) universities began referring to their quotas as “goals,” leaving them otherwise unchanged, and 2) university presidents began going into raptures over “diversity,” suddenly discovering it to be the most important aspect of an education. By 2003, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was ruling explicitly that remedying past discrimination was no longer the purpose of racial preferences; achieving diversity was.
(American Renaissance, February 3, 2017).