To PC or not to PC?May 10, 2005 Write an essay on this topic.
Popular Products in BooksThe Bottom Line The Bottom Line should know better...
Docs On Political Correctness WO poses some interesting questions, which I shall now attempt to answer:
Firstly, let me explain my stance on the issue of political correctness. I loathe it. But I do not loathe what it set out to be, i.e. a vehicle to reduce racism. That is obviously a very worthy goal and is to be encouraged. However, what I do object to is what PC has become - to me, many people use it as a vehicle to encourage racism, or at least to encourage people to call other people racist when thats not the case. As with most causes, people have taken it to extremes, and thus look for hidden meanings in everyday expressions that simply do not exist, except in the own tiny minds.
Well, now that Ive got that out of the way, here are the questions, and my answers:
1. What words do you choose to take offence at?
Well there are some, I admit. Words like Nigger, Paki, and Wog do make me feel very uncomfortable. (Odd that PAKI is the official abbreviation for Pakistan though!!) Maybe its ingrained into me that its wrong, maybe its something that I find offensive in my own mind, I dont really know. Theyre just words that sound offensive, somehow, and always sound derogatory. Red Indian never offended me until someone complained about me using the term, and while I dont find it particularly offensive, or the sake of others I generally use the term Native American and yes, it does sound better, to me as well. (Besides being a far more accurate term.)
Other terms I find offensive are some of those that were actually born from the PC movement. I mean, Mentally Challenged, Vertically Challenged, Alternatively Abled, Horizontally Challenged its like adding Allegedly to everything you say, youre saying it anyway but want to protect yourself from the consequences.
2. Are you actually a part of the group that these words are aimed at?
No. Being a white heterosexual married white male, I am part of the last great ethnic minority in Britain and as such have no rights, but am classed as one of the majority. (This is one thing PC has done that Im not overly impressed with )
3. WHY do you take offence at them?
Because of the connotations, I guess. They sound as if theyre meant to be offensive. If someone says black, its just a description of their skin colour, and I personally dont think its offensive to call someone black, white, oriental, or whatever merely a statement of fact. (Of course, if it was actually said in such a way as to be derogatory in itself, then I would take exception to it.)
4. Not to aim at anyone in particular, but it's the first example that popped in my mind: Jew. Can you take this word and make it a positive? For example, what are the good traits of members of the Jewish community? Can you not apply those to the short form of the word and just say wow! Thanks! and take it as a compliment? (That was an example, apply this to any of the words you currently take as a slur)
Why wouldnt it be positive to begin with?!? Im not a Jew myself and obviously have differences in terms of belief, but why would it be considered a negative to call someone a Jew? Whereas a word like Wog can only really be meant in a negative way at least,. As far as I can see. (Well you learn something new every day my darling wife has just told me that Wog originally was an acronym for Worthy Oriental Gentleman. Just shows how some words change in meaning and get corrupted, I guess.)
5. Name 5 positives for:
(insert other pet groups here)
Pretty much the same positives come to mind, particularly family-oriented and hospitable. But another one of my pet hates is categorising people each one of us is different and, while there are certain traits that tend to characterise a particular group, just because someones black, Jewish, or whatever American, British, Zulu for that matter they should still be treated as an individual, not be judged by others of the same race / background / religion. (And lets face it, the worst members of that group are usually the ones who make the news and who stick in our minds more prominently, which is half the problem here.)
6. Now, whenever you hear the derogative's of those terms, can you not apply the positives to them in your mind?
Since I dont really take much notice of peoples opinions in this regard anyway, its a bit of a moot point for me. I try to see people as individuals, whoever they are and wherever theyre from. Skin colour really isnt a problem for me.
7. If someone chooses to take offence at a categorization, should we all enable that and switch terms? The current African American comes to mind.. what was wrong with Black? What was wrong with Negro, for that matter... The fact is that people who are recently relocated to the states from Africa take great offense at black folks here in America for insisting on being called African-American... Do we change their preferred term yet again to please every last person? Because that will never happen... someone, somewhere, is always going to choose to be offended at something....
Tough call If its possible to avoid offending someone, you should do it unless theyre being unreasonable. Which is where my original problem with PC comes in!
At the end of the day, we should just try to get along I mean, I even like Doc!!! :-)
I'm not sure if living in a cosmopolitan area helped or hindered my viewpoint. It helped as mostly we all just got along, it hidered since the extremist elements of both sides were at large and made it difficult for us all to just get along. then again, maybe seeing the extremists at work made it clearer that we should all just... get along!
Vaguely interesting factoid: the only word in this essay to cause Epinions' offensive language filter any concern was Nigger. Strange but true.
|Read all comments (12)|Write your own comment|