[personal profile] wingedbeast
Just recently, I heard the claim that political correctness was just about stifling white, Christian heterosexuals.

That is... I'll be nice and say "inaccurate".

Other "inaccurate" statements about political correctness have included the claim that it's intended as a replacement for Christian morality, that it's a punishment for thought-crime, or that it's entirely encapsulated within a concept of "word police".

"Politically Correct" refers to the values of the culture or audience you're dealing with. Specifically, what would they deem correct or in keeping with their beliefs, values, and identities.

Yes, this *can* be applied dishonestly or restrictively, in an effort to restrict the ideas that can be expressed without suffering consequences.

And, in case you're wondering, yes, this does mean that, in certain contexts, railing against political correctness is the cheapest and easiest way of being politically correct.

An example of political correctness used to score with an audience that hates political correctness. In a Christmas special, Jeff Dunham, in a conversation with one of his ventriloquist dummies, Walter, had this exchange.

Jeff Dunham: Hello, Walter. Happy Holidays
Walter: You know what? Screw you, it's Merry Christmas!
(applause)
Jeff Dunham: Walter, there are other religions.
Walter: But, their wro-ong (in a singsong tone of voice)
(HUGE WAVE OF APPLAUSE)

The reverse of that, of course, was the end of the Beetles, when they, said, on the Ed Sullivan Show, that they were bigger than Jesus. Note: They were referring to their popularity being larger than Christianity, but that's not how it sounded.

That's the concept and the example of right-leaning application thereof. Anybody reading this has likely either already come up with examples of left-leaning application or takes it as a given that the left wield political correctness.

That's the concept. Now, I became aware of this phrase around the same time I started becoming politically aware, that is in the 90s. But, there's a good amount of pre-dating relevant history.

In terms of political discourse in America, up until the past few decades, it's been politically possible and even advantageous to speak of people who weren't white, male, heterosexuals who conformed to gender-norms as though they were all mythological creatures. Sure, you mention them and other people would know what you're talking about. But, there was no need to couch your statements in the understanding that no population can be homogeneous. There was certainly no political risk in offending them.

If you really want to feel like a white, male, cis-gendered Christian before the PC movement became a thing, try talking in sweeping, not obviously derogatory terms, about pegasi. Discuss how you have no problem with harpies so long as they stay in their place. Don't just say that you're fine hiring a centaur, but not letting one date your daughter, but construct a mythology in which your statements are accurate. State that mythology without even considering the possibility that you might be contradicted, let alone pay any kind of political price. And don't forget that lycanthropy is a choice.

If that sounds funny to you, let's bring back the discomfort by saying that, once upon a time, a certain song sung on a certain bus, regarding the exclusion of certain people from a specific college organization, that included the statement that said specific people were okay to "swing from a tree", was Politically Correct.

With that history in mind, when people bring up political correctness today, what they're usually referring to is the fact that the people about whom one could make sweeping generalizations or otherwise dehumanize ACTUALLY FUCKING EXIST. That's right, they exist, they vote, they have money, they have allies. So, they're no longer the mythological creatures with all the same real-world importance of a goblin.

With all of that in mind, there are two lessons you should probably take from this.

Firstly, the current move for political correctness probably benefits you. That may seem shocking, but remember "white" didn't always refer to all European descent. It used to be limited to those who's ancestry was from England. And, no, Scottish or Irish didn't count.

That's right, if Benjamin Franklin were to be resurrected and shown the movie Harry and the Hendersons, he would find the Hendersons being generically white farther fetched than their meeting up with a Bigfoot. So, if your ancestry is German, be thankful that PC is protecting you, now.

Secondly, if you rail against political correctness, what I hear is you railing against having to admit that other people really exist. If you take pride and call for audience approval for being politically incorrect, I hear hypocrisy.

Re: Oh the difference a year makes

Date: 2016-06-25 02:10 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Should I be scared to see how you define tolerance?

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