This week, University of Toronto psychology professor Jordan Peterson released a video online criticizing political correctness on campus. He also said he doesn't recognize a person's right to be addressed using genderless pronouns like "they" instead of "he" or "she."
Under the proposed Federal law Bill C-16, it will become illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender identity or expression. As It Happenshost Carol Off spoke with Peterson about his position.
Carol Off: Professor Peterson, why have you said you don't recognize another person's right to determine what pronouns you use to address them?
Jordan Peterson: That's right. I don't recognize that. I don't recognize another person's right to decide what words I'm going to use, especially when the words they want me to use, first of all, are non-standard elements of the English language and they are constructs of a small coterie of ideologically motivated people. They might have a point but I'm not going to say their words for them.
CO: There are a lot of words that you can't say even though you may want to, that may be considered, not just offensive, but even illegal. So you're not entirely free to use whatever words you want in any context...
JP: No, that's certainly true. I'm not claiming that a person is free to use any words, in any context. But what I'm saying is that I'm not willing to mouth words that I think have been created for ideological purposes.
CO: Even if it's the law that says you should do that?
JP: Well, I guess we're going to find out exactly what the law says and it's one of the reasons that I don't like Bill C-16. I think that it's loosely written enough that the kinds of things that I'm talking about could be transformed into hate speech almost immediately.