Sunday, August 9, 2015

Backlash Growing Over "Politically Correct!"

Across America, a backlash is growing over the need to be politically correct. At some point the demands we tiptoe around under the cover of newly devised catch phrases and shuck away others has become a bit overdone. The media and a slew of self-appointed guardians of polite society are constantly presenting to a public new "no-nos," banned by their edict. I would like to caution any society going down this path and suggest it leads to "group think" or should I say that it eliminates diversity in thought. Those willing to conform to these politically correct ways to express themselves often surrender their right to original expression and experience a subtle reshaping of their ideas.

Words, phrases, and even historic symbols have been pulled into this arena. The battle flag of the army led by Confederate General Robert E. Lee which is often confused with the confederate flag is now in the crosshairs of this media driven barrage. With the declaration that some people are uncomfortable with this symbol of the past, a re-framing of history is in the works. This has even gone as far as renaming streets, parks, schools, and other building as well as pulling bodies from the ground and moving them to a new location because of their links to slavery or the Civil War.

I have news for these clowns all a busy and waving their arms demanding we denounce anyone who makes a comment that doesn't meet their approval and that is you could simply ignore them. It is not necessary to get up in someone's face and wave your finger at them when you disagree. tolerance also means accepting the views of others even when you have harsh disagreements in opinion. The power of a vocal and passionate minority to foster their opinion over the masses which are often indifferent has been something mankind has seen throughout history. It is a sorry commentary that society has us primed to be easily swayed and fall in line to such pressures. By merely declaring something to be offensive people do not gain the right to control the conversation.

Ironically totally unreasonable general rudeness and incivility are allowed if those engaged in such conduct do it in defense of what they consider a just cause. At a July 19th gathering of Netroots Nation, a vocal group heckled and shouted down speakers. Democratic presidential candidates Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders faced shouts of  "black lives matter"  which is something neither candidate disagrees about. Before departing the stage, O’Malley told the convention: "Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter," prompting some heckles and boos in the crowd. O’Malley was immediately met with scrutiny and apologized for his comments. To me, his apology took pandering to a new level.

Black Republican presidential candidate, Dr. Ben Carson may have said it best while appearing on a Sunday morning talk show on August 2nd, he generically referred to too much of this politically correct talk as "silly". In the more recent Republican Presidential debate, Donald Trump said he didn't have time to be politically correct. A great deal of mushy logic appearing in the news, such as articles claiming that even peanut-butter and jelly is racist or has racial overtones pushes this line and is an indication this has gone too far. When Verenice Gutierrez, the principal at Harvey Scott K-8 School, in Portland, Ore. makes the news by declaring that eating or talking about peanut butter sandwiches is probably racist then goes on to institute a separate-but-unequal drum class for "only" minority students all this begins to take the feel of reverse discrimination casting a barrier around and over the free speech of those who hesitate to march along in lockstep.

An interesting anecdote I heard the other day was about how a young person was standing on a corner holding a sign with the words "White Pride" and how people immediately thought he was a KKK supporter part of some far right white supremacist hate group. A flood of negative connotations flowed forth. If the sign had said "Gay Pride" people might have thought the youth courageous or a sign about "Black Pride" would have been greeted with the idea it was good for a young person to be proud of their heritage. This story highlights just how over the top we have traveled. When did being a person of non-color become something we should be ashamed of/?  When five white marines were recently slain by a gunman in Chattanooga the President only got around to ordering flags be lowered after he was faced with a huge batch of criticism.

In a country already politically polarized in is not surprising to see strong reactions from those who feel under pressure or assault and it is not unreasonable they react with annoyance or anger. I'm not writing only about angry old white men, but a lot of women and other people many who are the hard working owners of small businesses that are tired of the growing culture of pandering.  From here in the moderately conservative Midwest where I view myself as somewhat socially liberal, I have to admit I think enough is enough. In this world, someone is always going to be offended by something. Part of my personal conflict grows from a more traditional and conservative economic view of how things work and an awareness of who is getting stuck with the bill and the cost related to the direction we move.

1 comment:

  1. When you are overtly being insulting or being biased towards someone / something, it is not OK -- and that is exactly when PC is called for -- or, as someone pointed out to me (for saying what I shouldn't have to a Trumper) say nothing at all.