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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Politically correct and proud


Politically correct: conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated.
                  -- Merriam Webster

I’m sick to death of the now decades-old charge that political correctness is ruining everyone’s fun. Can’t say this, can’t joke about that, woe is me.

SHUT THE FUCK UP, WORLD OF WHITE MALE PRIVILEGE.

Without the courageous, unrelenting tenacity of civil rights advocates, feminists, gay rights advocates, etc., insisting that it’s not okay to use certain terms, make certain jokes, or turn a blind eye to certain behaviors, nothing would ever change. And you know why nothing would ever change? Because Big Evil worms its way into the very fabric of our society, our most established institutions, the agencies that are supposed to serve our citizenry and protect our vulnerable - right in the heart of the supposedly civilized Western world.

We learned a lot about societally sanctioned racism in the 60s and 70s. Now we’re finding out about another Big Evil - sexual misconduct, up to and including extreme sexual brutality against children.

The Catholic Church.
Penn State.
The BBC.
The NYPD.
The Boy Scouts.
The US military.
The IMF.
Horace Mann.
The Secret Service.

We would not have learned about any of this had it not been for activists who insist on drawing a clear line in the sand that must never be crossed. You don’t uncover the complicity in heinous crimes of institutions like these by being wishy-washy. Political correctness refocuses people’s attention to notice what they had previously overlooked; to acknowledge the existence of what they had previously refused to acknowledge; and to stop implicitly condoning that which is indefensible.

Let’s be real clear here. Political correctness does not include banning Huckleberry Finn because it contains the word nigger. Or suspending a kid from school for hugging. Saying that those things prove political correctness is bad is akin to saying that Sarah Palin proves democracy is bad. Do not let stupidity ruin everything for the rest of us.

And another point: Political correctness doesn’t mean you can’t ever joke about certain topics. It means you can’t joke about those topics in certain ways. And if you think that’s too nebulous a standard - tough. When in doubt, shut up. (Daniel Tosh, I’m looking at you.)

Given the horrible stuff that’s come to light lately, I hope people will begin to recognize that what has come to be derided as political correctness has made these revelations possible. And those revelations, in turn, make real change possible.

And Daniel Tosh can kiss my politically correct ass.

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