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War of the Words24:50

This article is more than 17 years old.
photoPop quiz. What do all these words have in common?

Able-bodied, anchorman, barbarian, bookworm, codger, cowboy, deaf, deformed, Eskimo, fairy, God, Hottentot, hussy?

They've all been banned, along with thousands of other words, ideas and images, from the pages of American educational materials.

A movement that began with efforts to take racism out of textbooks has expanded, in this age of sensitivity and political correctness, into a sweeping purge of words that American children now read. Some call that progress. Others call it censorship.

This hour, On Point: the language police, and the scrubbing of the American mind.


Diane Ravitch, author of "The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn"

Randall Kennedy, On Point news analyst and professor of law at Harvard Law School

This program aired on May 20, 2003.

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