Embrace the Tribe
Humans are tribal by nature and we all belong to several groups. We normally group ourselves by nation, color, religion, and even football teams. In the company of close friends, we may put down those who don’t belong to our tribe. Did you know people who follow the Dallas Cowboys eat small children? During any given day, we pledge our allegiance to several different groups depending on who we are with at that moment. But that’s all in private.
In public, we exercise political correctness and keep our opinions to ourselves. However, political correctness can become odd and even bizarre, fast. Mr. Trump said even Nazis are fine people. Is that PC? Just where is that line between PC and strange? And if you harbor another opinion deep inside, why are you lying?
Perhaps the highest profile example of this comes from Trump supporters. The polls uniformly said The Donald would lose but enough people didn’t share their honest opinions that he won the Electoral College. Television Pundits now say these voters were simply embarrassed to admit that they supported Mr. Trump over the more politically correct Clinton. So we hate Muslims but will not say that to a stranger on the phone calling to see who we plan to vote for. The polls were wrong because people wanted to appear PC.
I happen to think political correctness is a good thing. But, with freedom comes great responsibility; specifically, I am referring to freedom of speech. Imagine a man walks down the street and speaks to each woman he meets:
- “Hey, Baby, I’d poke you NOW!”
- “Wow, now that’s a booty”
- “Oh my God, you are soooo ugly”
And so forth on down the street. He is certainly within the law. He never cussed and didn’t actually say anything you can’t say in public (in most places). He certainly will leave a wake of anger in his path. His exercise of free speech at the expense of political correctness leaves a great deal to be desired.
In my home country, Mr. Trump seems to have given cover to this idea of exercising free speech at the expense of simple politeness (being PC). People suddenly feel empowered to speak of Muslims in a way I find repugnant. You will now hear the phrase “telling it like it is” used all the time. It is used to defend Trump as an “in your face” defense of free speech. These people have absolutely no interest in who their words may hurt.
Recently, I was told: “I like Donald Trump because he tells it like it is!” I didn’t enter into a debate – I’m politically correct, ya’ know. But I do have an opinion on the subject. America has had many great Presidents through the years. To pretend that Trump is the first one brave enough to tell it like it is, is a joke. Do you think Teddy “Rough Rider” Roosevelt was some shrinking violet? Was Regan afraid to stand up to, well, anyone? There have been three major parties in US history and they have all produced several strong Presidents apiece.
What separates Trump from this group is that he is the first to show no interest in how he is perceived outside his small base. He is not the first to tell it like it is by a long shot. He is, however, the first to do it in a fashion of which any ten year-old bully would approve. He and his followers are proud of the fact that they are not politically correct or polite. He appears not to be aware the country is named the United States. He rejects any opportunity to appeal to and heal the entire country as one nation, under God.
I know I’m running long and I’ll close now. Some people use being politically correct as a weapon. Say something they don’t agree with and they will attempt to shut down the conversation by saying you’re a racist or that you’re sexist. The irony is, that’s not very PC at all, and these people are just like the folks to whom they feel smugly superior.
You know, it is just like drinking. When you drink moderately, you’re OK and having fun. If you drink too much, you may end up in a bad situation. It is similar with political correctness. When it isn’t too much, it is useful for society. When it is over the line, it causes harm.
Why? Because sometimes political correctness turns into hypocrisy or blackmailing.
Let’s start with sexual harassment. I don’t think it should be tolerated in anyway. But the line between flirting and sexual harassment is now very shady. What are the ingredients? A too sharp look, a stupid joke, an awkward touch? What it the ready meal? It could be a public outrage or even an end of somebody’s career. I mean, the punishment could be much harder than the crime. Now some men in America are afraid of flirting because you never know how it might turn out. I am a Russian and probably I am not so advanced as Americans are on this issue. But in France they also laugh at the modern American concept of political correctness.
So let’s go through a number of cases.
Case #1: OJ Simpson. He (probably) stabbed to death his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her boyfriend, Ron Goldman. He was found non-guilty of criminal charges by the jury, mostly black (9 out of 12). At the time most of the whites and Latinos in America believed he was guilty. Most of the blacks did not. OJ was later found guilty of wrongful death by the civil jury. He became a pariah and my point is clear: he was as guilty as hell but the black jury justified him because he was a black icon. Finally, according to the 2016 poll, 83% of white Americans and 57% of black Americans believed Simpson was guilty of the murders. So it is all about hypocrisy.
Case #2: Jessica Leeds and others. In 2016 she claimed that in the early 80s, Donald Trump sexually harassed her aboard a plane. Understanding who Donald Trump is, I believe he was capable of doing that and that he really did it. And it wasn’t just one such incident. There are a number of other women who claimed the same. But why did she keep silence for about 35 years (!) and suddenly decided to talk about it in October 2016? Why didn’t she and others report it right away? It looks pretty suspicious. He was a rich man back then and they could sue him. I believe it is all about politics not ethics. Trump probably did a bad thing but somehow these women were OK with that all these years. Right until the election. What if somebody very cynical who stayed in the shade just used them to ruin Trump’s campaign? Here we go again: political blackmailing under cover of political correctness.
Case #3: Black lives matter. Really? It is so politically correct, isn’t it? And other lives do not matter? BS! All lives matter! Black crime rate is higher than white crime rate but it has nothing to do with the color of your skin. It is a social issue. It is about starting conditions and the social environment in which you live. Let’s take the LA riots in 1992. The cops did it wrong engaging Rodney King. But Rodney King himself was by no means an innocent lamb: high-speed chase, drunk driving, traces of (then illegal in California) marijuana and resistance to police. If you behave like that and you live in the real world you might expect some unforeseen stuff happening to you. I mean, both sides, not just one side, did it wrong. This is why the jury decisions were so controversial back then. Still I think the cops’ behavior had nothing to do with racial issues. Rodney King could have been a white guy with the same outcome. He was a drug addict all his life and drowned in a pool in 2012 at the age of 47. Reason? Drug use and alcohol intoxication. The real issue is about how he was acting, and how the police were reacting.
So, to make a long story short: don’t go mad or hypocritical on political correctness. Drink responsibly and enjoy life.
It seems to me that the generally accepted meaning of being politically correct means that you avoid expressions and actions that may exclude, marginalize, or offend a particular group of people. The term started being used in Britain during the 1970s and 1980s.
I see political correctness in a very simple way – to me, it’s just a way of speaking or writing with a modicum of decency and thought. I don’t have any problem with that at all.
The reason it has such a bad press is what we now call “PC gone mad” – over the top representation of correctness, you know, a bit like Health & Safety gone mad, where a bag of peanuts has a label on it which says “contains nuts….”
If we follow that kind of ridiculousness, we get a major city in the north of England that will be called Person-chester, and that rather lovely borough of New York, to be known in future, so as not to offend anyone, as Person-hatten. Girls, you will in future, go for a person_icure to have your nails etc done, and I would love to learn to play the person-dolin, lovely sounding instrument. Yeh, I know.
But there is a huge problem here – many people now regard Political Correctness as a way of fundamentally restricting free speech, and therefore they are rejecting the whole notion of making sure we do not offend. So what happens? More ignorant, more racist remarks are heard and read. Rather than knock the concept of PC, why do so many people think that policies, actions and language that offend or disadvantage groups of people, is the way to go. Why?
I also have not worked out whether PC focuses more on the impact of actions, rather than the intent behind them. A study from a 2015 paper concluded, after a 192-point item survey, that it was the former. So does that mean that you can be really non-pc, but if it doesn’t offend, then it’s ok?
I think that PC has been good in many ways for society in general, but if it’s misapplied, if it “goes mad”, there are consequences.
And those consequences can create a very negative, and very harmful backlash, so maybe it’s time to find an alternative way of not abusing others, so we can create a decent and fair society.
And if you don’t agree, then you can go and **** yourselves.
Sorry, let’s be more PC. Please leave a comment, you lovely people.