New York Times Editor Calls For The Dropping Use Of “Female Genital Mutilation” As A “Culturally Loaded” Term

This week it was revealed that a New York Times editor has decided that the newspaper should not use the term “female genital mutilation” as “culturally loaded” and might insult “people who follow the rite.”  It is the culmination of a trend across the country where students are being trained to spot and avoid any form of cultural bias, a push that can be highly beneficial or highly damaging in how one defines bias. At the risk of total social isolation, it may be time to speak in favor of cultural bias, at least when it comes to founding principles of human rights.

Health and Science editor Celia Dugger said that she gained an appreciation for “genital cutting” after a  trip to Africa in the 1990s.  She came to understand that people in the area did not view this as mutilation.

The West is rapidly embracing notions of cultural relativity – rejecting any statements that might be viewed as judging the culture or practices of others. There is a rejecting of any objective truth in judging other cultures. That rejection of objectivity reached its zenith this week with the New York Times. It cannot be said that forcing girls into clitoridectomy is grotesque and abusive. That would be culturally loaded and who is to say that it is really wrong. To be wrong, there must be some objective truth, which is rejected as a cultural artifact.

Truth is now viewed as a loaded and subjective notion. To suggest that there are inherent truths (as embodied in our Declaration of Independence and other founding documents) is merely an exercise of privilege and dominance. Indeed, Western culture is now generally condemned while other cultures are treated as inherently meaningful and valid.

The movement to understand and respect other cultures can sometimes mutate into a rejection of any notion of our own cultural truths and beliefs. We can no longer express revulsion at FGM – a facially harmful and barbaric form of abuse.

We have had too many abuses to mention from slavery to sexism to homophobia. We have confronted those abuses and continue to do so. However, if there is no objective truth and all values are equal, there is no baseline or foundation for measuring freedom. Indeed, freedom becomes just another quaint concept of the culturally invested.

Of course, when Martin Luther King said that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice” he was presuming that there was some objective truth. Indeed, he believed that there was some definable morality that was not culturally dependent. If all morals and practices are equal, there is no arc or evolutionary curve but only a series of isolated points of different cultures. To put it simply, I do not believe that cultural practices (like people) are created equal and are endowed with certain unalienable Rights. Before we become cultural relativists, we should consider what we are giving up.

97 thoughts on “New York Times Editor Calls For The Dropping Use Of “Female Genital Mutilation” As A “Culturally Loaded” Term”

  1. Bob – Jenner only has so much say and I am not sure she is the face of LGBT.

    1. I tried to force myself to watch her interview recently with I forget who and I just could not. I agree, hardly a genuine spokes person and she has said it all, so now she vows to take on Trumpet…. growing up in San Francisco, I care less calling someone her or she, but I bailed at the media hype surrounding her… and all the glorification of what a ”great woman” she is. LOL She isn’t. Sorry to break it to her. She /he /all of them (Kardashians) are not much beyond media freaks.

      1. I have wondered if the Jenner trans thing is legit, or is it just a way of making money and staying in the spotlight? I heard part of the interview and Jenner’s voice is definitely that of a man. Has he/she really had the “complete” surgery? How would we know? Could be he’s just a guy in drag and is spoofing us all. After living off the Kardashians for years, certainly Jenner learned that there is a lot of money to be made for simply being famous for something. And after that marriage came to an end, how could he support himself in the manner he was accustomed to, except by doing something outrageous and bringing in big bucks for interviews? I don’t know….I just find the whole thing…..the timing, the financial aspect….suspicious. Maybe I’m just projecting, lol, because I can’t imagine really doing something like that.

        1. TIN – we won’t know for sure until the Caitlyn sex tapes are released. 😉

    1. Autumn,

      Voters were absolutely defrauded by Clinton and the DNC and I hope they will get a chance in court. I am very worried about the resurrection of Sanders. He is a man who told his own voters that their votes don’t count. He betrayed them and then he told them they shouldn’t take the DNC to court and then he told them to vote for Clinton, the very person who was instrumental in denying their vote. These actions are an anathema to a fair and just voting system. Bernie does not deserve to be followed to an expensive restaurant for drinks with his donors, let alone by people seeking social justice. Here is a realistic take on Bernie:

      “In a Democracy Now interview Dr. Cornel West said he was part of a new “Peoples Party” the invention of former Bernie staffers who want to recruit their old boss and maybe some other Democrats to leave the capitalist duopoly. In the first place Bernie is a war Democrat content to stay where he is. In the second place, stealing the politicians of the corrupt Democratic party is no shortcut to organizing the people.”

      This is a good article because it tries to get the American people to stop running after a savior. There is no savior. It’s just us. Bernie betrayed you and his other supporters. He said your vote did not count and you had no right to think it did count. He told you who to vote for, the opposite of the ideas you held. That would do it for me. I much prefer the idea of recruiting actual leaders from the ground up–leaders who aren’t so likely to betray others for money or attention in the press.

      1. Jill, Glen Ford has been gunning for Bernie a long time now. I generally like his stuff,but disagree that Bernie was a sheepdog. Bernie repeatedly said it’s not about him it’s about us. He “told us who to vote for” knowing damn well we wouldn’t as Clinton stood for everything we could not support. I am not sure what happened – given the nefarious Clintons and Deep State machinations maybe they threatened to kill Jane or the grands. I would not put anything past them. Bernie has some faults for sure, but at this point aside from Tulsi Gabbard he’s the only person I’d vote for. Unfortunately Jill has been frozen out by the media. BTW – the People’s Party guy – Nick Brana is trying to draft Bernie and Cornel is on board with that.

        Just the fact that he is still being torn down daily by the MSM, Salon, etc. indicates to me that he is still viewed as a threat to the Establishment I don’t think Bernie was a “savior” but he did get a lot of people involved politically and his ideas got out there. And his “unity” tour with that douche Perez is (I fervently hope!) a way to get his message out with the DNC paying for half of it. I would love to see a third or forth party but I don’t see it happening in my lifetime – hell we couldn’t even get Jill to 5%!

          1. Probably not because she is for single payer healthcare and he is for virtually nothing. Tulsi is very far to the left when it comes to government spending on social programs and Paul wants to cut them to the bone. Hard to see that working….

          2. I think Paul will stay a republican and Tulsi will remain a democrat. Just my opinion…..

  2. “Pussy damage” is more appropriate. Especially for the pussy cats in colleges these days are need mental treatment.

    1. Jack, Dave Chappelle does a funny bit about “pussy juice” in his live from Austin concert. It’s on Netflix. His other concert also on Netflix, The Age of Spin, is a funnier one IMHO. Austin is much more raunchy. I don’t mind raunchy, but tend to respect comedians who don’t go for easy shock, sex, jokes.

        1. I love Lewis Black. Saw him once in a smaller venue in Madison ~7 years ago. Even better in person. He dispatched a PC heckler w/ ease.

    1. Autumn, Ms. Ali is a hero. She calls out Western “feminists” for their fretting over trivialities while women in the Muslim world are butchered daily. Then you have that has been Steinem saying “We are all Muslims” @ Women’s[really anti-Trump] rally. These western women are elilitist, ignorant, incompetent, snobs. But, I am preachin’ to the choir. You are such a free thinker, Autumn. I follow Ms. Ali on Twitter.

      1. Nick, I find it ironic that the AEI – a very conservative organization helped Ms Ali come to the US – crickets from all the so-called libs / progressives. I think that’s when I began to pay attention and think out of the proverbial box. I have read all her books and watched various interviews/lectures. She is truly an amazing person.

        1. AEI’s perspective is standard Republican, not ‘very conservative’. It only seems that way because most arts and sciences faculties are so gruesomely unbalanced.

  3. The NYT is as American as Pravda. No one cares what a bunch a radical elites thinks, says or does. I’m reading a lot about the French Revolution these days.

  4. “Truth is now viewed as a loaded and subjective notion. To suggest that there are inherent truths (as embodied in our Declaration of Independence and other founding documents) is merely an exercise of privilege and dominance.”

    Only when it comes to cultural issues. For the past few days, I have been debating campus free speech issues with students. I have been repeatedly told by these students that they are the unequivocal arbiters of truth when it comes to race, hate and political speech. Truth is only subjective when it applies to someone who disagrees with them or to ideas that they don’t like.

    1. E.S.,

      This is a really important observation. What do you think is going on with this?

      1. It’s unbelievably strange having a conversation with someone who rails against the dehumanization of blacks, gays and Muslims then flips 180 and dehumanizes whites, conservatives and Christians. What goes inside that person’s mind that they can’t recognize the dichotomy or the irony of their own words and thoughts? Is that student little more than a blank slate marked by the political chalk of an educational leviathan? Is that student really against the concept of “dehumanization” or just against the dehumanization of what he/she has internalized as a sacred value? Has that student ever been taught to question their own thoughts and opinions? I wish I had the answers.

    2. Politics is dependent on culture and the Democrats have their message, their viewpoints, their narrative embedded into the culture of academia, Hollywood, Broadway, entertainment, and the liberal left-leaning media. These kids are being taught that tolerance is a one-way street. Until Republican, conservative, Libertarian views are included as worthy of debate and discussion in service to understanding cultural and political issues from a broader perspective, nothing will change. Instead of teaching the history of our country within the context of its time, the Progressive Left is fighting to remove monuments and symbols they deem offensive and racist like they did with the statue of Robert E Lee in Charlottesville, VA. Next on this slippery slope watch the liberal city council vote to remove the statue of Thomas Jefferson as well simply because he was a slave owner. The Democrats call this “progress.”

        1. Caitlyn Jenner is working on moving the Republicans forward on this issue. Maybe at some point she’ll join Trump for a round of golf.

            1. Paul – I saw your post below. Why is it way down there? I was being facetious. You know like, not to worry, Jenner is on the case 😉

                1. Bob – I am using a password lock which seems to jump the gun on WordPress periodically. I just realized I could reply to my own mistakes, which would get it closer. 🙂

  5. Here is another example of language being used to hide real information from the public (to protect the powerful):

    “Army Corps of Engineers argues releasing DAPL oil spill assessment reports would endanger lives
    Report withheld in its entirety under b(7)(f), “law enforcement-related information necessary to protect the physical safety of a wide range of individuals. “

  6. “Just like calling torture, “enhanced interrogations”, the language chosen is chosen to protect the powerful from their crimes.” -Jill


    WikiLeaks is aware of a US$100,000 reward for a copy of the full 6,700 page U.S. Senate report into CIA torture.

    3:56 PM – 24 Apr 2017

  7. Just like calling torture, “enhanced interrogations”, the language chosen is chosen to protect the powerful from their crimes.

    The practice at hand is literally genital mutilation. Torture isn’t enhance interrogation, it is a set of practices which can be described.

    The oligarchy likes euphemisms. It keeps people from understanding what is actually happening and from analyzing what is going on. It is important that the organs of th powerful such as wealthy universities and oligarchy controlled propaganda transmission belts such as the NYTimes. make certain that people are !. ignorant of reality and 2. feel virtuous in that ignorance.

    Human beings make judgments everyday, all the time. People can lie and say they don’t judge, but if they did not judge, they could not safely cross a street.

    It is important to judge well. To do so, we need the most accurate information possible and that means truthful descriptions of the world at hand. Anything less protects the powerful in any culture from being held to account.

  8. George Orwell must be the NYT editor, and the NYT is now satirical, like The Onion.

    1. George Orwell would be the opposite of the NYT editor. Read his essay “Politics and the English Language.” Or do I misunderstand your point?

  9. This is fascism, pure and simple, and it has officially gone too far, in my opinion. Don’t worry, those of us that do know the difference will not adhere to their insanity. What we will do about three generations that have been indoctrinated is another matter. Perhaps weshould send their children overseas to participate in some of these ‘rituals’. To qualify: I have personally known individuals who have suffered these practices, and to turn a blind eye is just flat-out inhuman. Our future really is hanging in the balance at present.

  10. This is just another example of the failing philosophy of the left. By excusing anything as being the result of situations beyond your control (Can’t help this… can’t help that…), the natural result is total contradiction as illustrated in this example.

    A woefully incomplete example:

    “We must protect them as they cannot help who they are!”

    “But they say they want to kill us.”

    “We must protect them as they cannot help who they are!”


    Just substitute FGM.

    To each his own, and somehow the argument needs to change from a “moral highground” argument to one that says every person is responsible for the result stemming from their own actions. It’s really not that hard and served civilization pretty well.

  11. The Times solicitude, which it would never extend to domestic evangelicals, is yet another manifestation of what the disreputable Mr. Sailer calls ‘leapfrogging loyalties’. (The village atheists arrive on this board to remind us all they’re fundamentally arrested-development cases).

    1. That may very well be, but there are millions of young people that don’t yet possess the consciousness to understand that they are being manipulated, and the consequences could be severe. We have to be forward thinking. Certainly in our maturity we know better, but we are not the ones I am concerned for and about. Life is not an intellectual exercise.

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