[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!
Jeff Dunham: Walter, there are other religions.
Walter: But, their wro-ong (in a singsong tone of voice)

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.

Date: 2015-03-12 05:39 am (UTC)
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai

Date: 2015-03-12 06:00 am (UTC)
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai

Heh, true that.

Date: 2015-05-23 11:43 pm (UTC)
amarie24: (Default)
From: [personal profile] amarie24
Holy freakin' shit, I've been meaning to get to this one post of yours for a good, long while now. Lawdeh!

I'm going to go a little deeper here and say that it's not just that our existence is actually, well...real. But more so that, particularly nowadays, our voices exist. They not only exist, but they are amplified to higher and higher degrees.

Now, you're absolutely right in the first case: a huge, huge, huge part of being privileged is not having to recognize, much less respect, the existence of marginalized people. White people don't have to do it for people of color. Cis people don't have to do it for transgender people. Able-bodied people don't have to do it for disabled people and so on and so forth. And there are many, many more instances of privilege that intersect where that willful and comfortable ignorance is allowed.

And with being able to ignore our marginalized existences, comes the privilege of being able to ignore everything that makes up our marginalized existences. The racism, sexism, ableism, and everything else that we face...privileged people can ignore it all they want.

But now? Now with the incredible power of technology, particularly social media? Now our voices are prominent. And our voices are shouting about our existences, loud and clear.

Now Jewish people point out antisemitism. Now black people call out anti-blackness. Now bisexual people call out biphobia. And they do it from platforms that are now nigh impossible to ignore-Twitter, Tumblr, Dreamwidth, Facebook, etc.

We're not telling lies and we're often not mincing words. We are talking about our very real, lived experiences without an iota of a fuck given to the feelings of privileged people (and it's quite common that they think their feelings is even remotely on the same level of consideration as our very lives).

So what are privileged people supposed to do? When marginalized people are not wrong, when we're not mincing, when we're organizing, when we're talking so loudly and truthfully? What are privileged people to do when they still do not want to listen after centuries of oppressing us?

They have to re-create (because oppressive narratives evolve to what currently acceptable) dismissive and silencing tactics.

Thus, the term "political correctness".

Black women speak about why it's harmful that white gay (often cis) men appropriate our identities? Political correctness! Black people in general speak about why white people have no say over the N-word (uh no, Louis C.K...no forever). Political correctness! Middle Eastern & African people speak about U.S imperialism? Political correctness!

Silence those voices! Be quiet! Be quiet! Be quiet!

It's not just our existences; it's our voices making known our existences.

Date: 2015-05-24 02:54 pm (UTC)
amarie24: (Default)
From: [personal profile] amarie24
Actually, thank YOU for being so patient with me, haha!

And yes, a large part of checking and re-checking your privilege as your worldview grows is accepting those inconvenient truths and the actual timeline of those truths. Yep, yep, yep. And I didn't know you have Scottish and German in there! :D

Oh the difference a year makes

Date: 2016-06-24 02:21 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] dosmastr
Sir, I'm not sure you are using the same definition of "political correctness" that I have observed or the one Google brings up.

Your fourth sentence is a main concern.
po·lit·i·cal cor·rect·ness
the avoidance, often considered as taken to extremes, of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.

Stores say Happy Holidays BECAUSE it is PC -- we don't want to offend the non-religious!(A minority until more recent times) Dunham is railing **AGAINST** PC-- cater to the present majority (even at the exclusion of the atheist minority): "MERRRYYY CHRISSSTMASSS!!!"
Funny thing is most atheists have better things to worry about than how a store bids them good day.

Moving on,
When I rail against PC, I am railing against:
A. people being childishly easily offended by somebody who doesn't think 100% like they do.
B. Against the suppression of ideas which for the sole reason that a small group might not like it.

I would never say a people group doesn't exist, I haven't met somebody who does take this stand when talking about PC... but I haven't met many of the fox news hosts either...

Regarding A: I might say they have flawed reasoning behind the views they hold, but wouldn't get uppity about it until they freaked out that somebody might be pointing out real or perceived gaps in the reasoning (See also, christians who get super upset "at being attacked" when an atheist merely asked them to explain why they hold a given view) That type of PC I take issue with.

B: Nobody should be insulated from explaining why they hold the views they hold just because they are a small club which holds them. No large group should be forbidden from discussing where they feel a smaller group may be mistaken in thinking just because it is a big group vs a smaller group. This is not to say that the larger group should be allowed to openly malign or misrepresent the small group. No, the ideas themselves should be the discussion regardless of the quantity of people who hold them.
And I say this as a Christian who is aware that before the end of my lifetime the Gay population (4% ?) will likely outnumber Christians by a large margin, by some counts they already do.

This all said. looking at the whole "Tip" format of these posts.

I'm not sure I see political correctness benefiting people who disagree with secularism but I'm glad that you do -- in that maybe it IS making the marketplace merely about ideas.

and I;ll take extra effort to explain (as I feel I have above) that my problem with PC is that just because it is a small group holding the idea doesn't mean it should be isolated from discussion or **respectful** criticism. And that criticism must be focused squarely at the ideas, not in any way at the persons of those who hold them.

Edited Date: 2016-06-24 02:30 pm (UTC)

Re: Oh the difference a year makes

Date: 2016-06-25 02:10 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
If you aren't using the same definitions as everyone else I'm not sure you can have a meaningful conversation.

See also Mormans vs christians.

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?

Date: 2016-06-25 02:13 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
GAH!!!! I freakin missed this line:
political correctness [b] used to score with an audience that hates political correctness.[/b]

dude i suck at this game....



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