In 2018, nearly everything has the potential to be banned even if only a few are offended or affected by a word, phrase, or act. Recently, a British university revealed perhaps one of the most ridiculous bans to date: one against clapping. Instead of participating in the ‘nearly universally’ accepted act which expresses approval and celebration, students are instead to participate in the British Sign Language version of clapping, informally known to many as ‘jazz hands.’
On Thursday, the University of Manchester Students’ Union on behalf of the University of Manchester in Manchester, England put forth and approved a motion which bans clapping at celebratory ceremonies to be more inclusive of students with anxiety, autism, or other sensory sensitivities which make large crowds and loud noises destressing.
Instead, students are to make ‘jazz hands’ which involves shaking one’s hands without them making contact with one another.
One officer on behalf of the student organization, Sara Khan, who was responsible for introducing the ridiculous idea, claimed that it would make school events more inclusive to all, and the union as a whole reportedly has been encouraging other “student groups and societies to do the same.”
Yet with all progressive movements such as this one, there were mixed responses to the new policy.
Of course, there were some who (figuratively) applauded the idea, saying that now, their children suffering from autism would be able to enjoy school functions without being subjected to loud clapping.
However, such has proven to be the minority opinion with others claiming not only that the ban is too politically correct but that it could even prove to be detrimental to others.
One mother of a student with autism expressed that she even uses clapping to help him understand how to process loud noises and “acclimatize to different sounds.”
Another individual expressed on social media that as an anxiety sufferer herself, she uses clapping and cheering to experience “euphoria that is crucial [to] wellbeing.”
Yet the general consensus agreed that it is overall outlandish to ban one act which troubles some when there are countless other ‘triggers’ which could cause an anxiety attack or otherwise.
Twitter user @penny92x provided the example that while she has a fear of dogs, she does not expect canines to be banned in order to increase her comfort.
Another social media user expressed frustration about the endless banning of common items or actions, speculating that “in 10 years time we won’t be able to think or breathe without offending someone somewhere.”
However, providing perhaps the best response to the announcement of the clapping ban was Twitter user @theJeremyVine who mocked the ban in posting a picture of World War I soldiers with the caption, “Glad some brave young souls decided to ignore the difficulties caused by sudden noises 100 years ago.”
Piers Morgan on behalf of Good Morning Britain pondered that “‘If you’re happy and you know, it clap your hands’ – that’s going to have to go now, isn’t it?”
Unfortunately, at least at the University of Manchester, it appears so.
However, the practice has reportedly been used by the UK’s National Union of Students since 2015, where it, unsurprisingly, was first done at a women’s conference to ‘avoid anxiety.’
One woman present, Nona Buckley-Irvine, noted that while it at first seemed strange, she expressed later that it helped foster “a more inclusive atmosphere.”
Well, of course, refraining from clapping would feel foreign to many given that it is a custom engrained into many from an infant age.
Most children reportedly begin clapping before their first birthday, delighted that they can make a sound using only their hands, and when encouraged by parents and caretakers, can be used to “to show enthusiasm.”
While supporters of the recent clapping ban may argue that it may prove to be more ‘inclusive,’ it can be argued that such does the opposite, as clapping alongside one’s friends, family, or other comrades can bring crowds together as they express their emotions in unison.
Similarly, banning clapping is undeniably exclusive to blind individuals who, under the new policy, have no way of expressing themselves without now being considered offensive.
Unfortunately, there is simply no way to include every individual at every gathering if they suffer from various sensitivities. Such a school of thought is not meant to be insensitive towards said individuals, as sensory elements such as light and sound can be very real problems to those scoring high on the autism spectrum, for example.
Yet in a mainstream school or university, banning a common practice which the majority of students are familiar with is arguably going too far.
Most importantly, in the ‘real world’ outside of college, clapping is unlikely to be banned, and those affected by the hand motions will arguably be at a disadvantage upon experiencing a clapping crowd for the first time.
Some have argued against the ban explaining that it ‘pampers’ students to an unnecessary degree.
Yet that is the reality of today’s culture, political correctness, and English policies which seek to do exactly that.