This past semester, a student of mine wanted to write a research paper about the negative influence of political correctness on discourse. When he announced his intention, I was excited because I think it is an interesting topic.
The fact of the matter is, I can't STAND political correctness. The PC police have gotten OUT of CONTROL. Nobody wants to deal with harsh TRUTHS these days. A guy can't even say what he wants anymore. Equality is important, but so is FREE speech! Everyone has a RIGHT to voice their opinions and be heard. If people can't say what they want, NOBODY is free, and that's not a country I want to live in.
Freedom of speech is the foundation this country is BUILT on. We can't afford to lose that.
So when neo-nazis are given speaking engagements and security detail to spout off their beliefs, it's important that rational Americans can protest and speak out against those engagements. That is vital to the essence of being American. Yet when I call people nazis for supporting neo-nazi views, they cry like little babies! Politicians and pundits (even some who fancy themselves "politically incorrect") tell me how I need to stop calling them names and protesting their events and just listen to them. No need to get upset; nazis and white supremacists and bigots just have ideas that need to be heard, then we all can have a civil, polite discussion.
Sorry, but the first amendment doesn't require speech to be nice, or for me to listen to everybody's opinion. I'm gonna tell neo-nazis to shut up and call them assholes. What happened to MY freedom of speech? They don't care about that. These politically correct jerkoffs want nazis and white supremacists to simply flaunt their horrible views unchecked.
It's hypocritical and obnoxious. The people who complain most about "political correctness ruining free speech!" really just want the freedom to be assholes in public. When I call racists racist, they whine and say things like, "you can't call me that, my best friend's girlfriend is black!" Really? Ok, Officer Censorship. I thought freedom of speech was important to you, but I guess you just want to say hateful things without getting called out for them. I can't count how many times I've called someone a racist and been told "Not everything is about race, shut your mouth!" Political correctness is so bad you can't even call an obvious racist a racist anymore!
Bigots used to own their bigotry. Now they want to have bigoted views without getting labeled a bigot. They want to discriminate against gay people but god forbid you call them a homophobe, the exact word for their actions. They mask their bigotry in euphemisms; they'll claim they are not white supremacists, they are just, "Eurocentric." They don't hate immigrants, especially brown immigrants; they're just "putting America first." They don't hate gays, its just that they "don't approve of that lifestyle." And if you question that faulty logic, somehow you are discriminating against them! Apparently, to a lot of these people, religious freedom means freedom to discriminate against people you don't like.
These people want to shut down and shut up all opposition to their hateful views, labeling anyone who voices their regressive opinions a snowflake. They whine about safe spaces, yet they cancel events when students protest, scared to face the opposition. Or they go in the opposite direction; some PC Crybaby Warriors will attack reporters for doing their job! Instead of respecting freedom of the press, they want to shut down the press. Well, the press that they disagree with at least. They can't stand being questioned. They claim to like people and politicians who "speak their mind," but they don't like the ones who speak their mind and disagree with them. Usually, saying that someone "speaks their mind" just means that person says racist shit. People have every right to say racist shit, but it's not really a reason to vote for them.
In Iowa and North Carolina, legislators proposed bills to require universities to hire an equal number of Democrats and Republicans. These are the same people against Affirmative Action. Yet they literally want to dictate whose voice is heard in higher education. What happened to "pulling yourself up by the bootstraps?" What happened to "the best person for the job should get it"? I'm all for quotas for certain ethnicities and genders at higher universities and jobs because of historic and systemic racism and sexism, but now we're basing hiring practices on how someone thinks politically? These PC Mercenaries are so scared of the proliferation of opposing voices that they want to dictate who is hired to teach at Universities!
This political correctness has ruined our ability to think critically. Someone wants to be called Caitlyn instead of Bruce and people lose their minds! They cry, "I've been calling him Bruce for years, why should I have to change now!" You don't have to! That's the beauty of free speech, you get to say what you want! And then I get to say what I want, namely that you are a bigot! That's not being politically correct, that's being factually accurate!
When these bigoted PC Police hear new terms for old gender identities, they complain, loudly, to anyone who has the misfortune of being in their vicinity. "Why do I have to learn these new words!" they cry out from under their mama's tit through curdled breastmilk covered lips. These PC freaks don't want to broaden their horizons, they want to limit knowledge and acceptance. They want everyone to stick to old terms created by oppressors. "What the hell is genderqueer?" they scream, unable to comprehend any type of sexuality outside of vigorously jerking off into a sock. They want to sustain the same old power structures. "There's no real men anymore!" they shout, not realizing how right they are if applying their words to themselves and their own circle of acquaintances. Real men aren't threatened by someone else's sexual preferences or gender identity. These cowards, scared of any change or progress whatsoever, want to suppress creativity and the evolution of language and sexuality. Everything has to reflect Hetero-Christian values or they cry about persecution. Oh, someone from one of the largest, oldest religions on the planet wants to wear a customary head wrap? Let's lose our minds and chastise them and try to ban head scarves! Or is it burqas, because these idiots literally don't know the difference.
So anyways, all of this was on my mind after my student told me about the idea for his paper. The following week, we had a class discussion on students' progress with their papers. When we got to the student writing about political correctness, I was eager to hear how he was doing. I was going to offer up some of the examples I shared here.
Then he started out talking about how nobody can take a joke anymore. He recited an anecdote: recently he was out with a group of friends. He was wearing a t-shirt with a logo of some company that is typically worn by posh white people. This young man was half white, half Puerto Rican, but he didn't speak Spanish and he was very light skinned. When a friend asked him about his shirt, he said something to the effect of, "Yeah, I'm wearing my white privilege." Apparently, a stranger overheard the comment, took offense, and voiced their disagreement. This student of mine was outraged that he had to listen to this stranger's complaints. He was making a joke! Why was everyone so sensitive!
Then, another student, a white woman in her 30s, said, "I hate that! You can't say anything anymore. And you're a white male, you get it the worst!"
At this point, I realized that I had misjudged the intent of my student's paper. The fact of the matter is, he wasn't standing up against political correctness, he was standing up for his right to tell shitty jokes! I should have known, since that is the commonly held perception of "political correctness." It centers white comfort. I wanted to start calling him Bill Maher, instead I commented on the irony in what he said.
In defending his right to freely speak, he dismissed this stranger's right to call him out. He was in fact forcing political correctness on her: don't say anything negative to me about my shitty jokes or views. We didn't have much time left in class, or else I would have also pointed out how the real sensitive person in his story was, in fact, him. He was writing an entire paper because he was so incensed at this woman's comment from months earlier. Talk about a sensitive snowflake!
Strangely, this beleaguered white man was still allowed to express his thoughts freely in my class without getting arrested or harassed. Weird, since apparently white guys can't do that anymore. (The paper he eventually handed in was 2 pages short of the minimum, poorly sourced and full of typical "political correctness is harmful, nobody can joke around anymore" platitudes.)
The scary part is how common this mindset is. Straight white Christian men are under persecution! They can't say what they want! Extra weird, because we have a straight white "Christian" president that literally says whatever the fuck he wants and never faces any repercussions. The reality is that freedom of speech is just as strong as ever. It's just that all types of people have a voice now, and a lot of white people (and people in power) aren't too happy about that. Even though giving everyone a voice lifts us all up, many white people (and the punditry who make a living reinforcing the status quo) take it as an attack on their standing. The real attack on free speech is coming from the people quick to disparage "political correctness," and that's the scary part. When those in power shut down speech, we should all be worried, not when the gay woman at work asks you to stop making dyke jokes.
The typical rant against political correctness generally follows the same route as my student's. The talking heads at Fox and Jeffrey Shitlord at CNN want everyone to believe that calling out racists is political correctness run amok, but the truth is, they are forcing their own form of political correctness on everyone else. "Don't complain when I say racist vile shit! All opinions are equal!"
Well, no. But it's your right to have an opinion and voice it, and it's my Founding Father-given right to tell you that it sucks.
These sensitive bigots pass themselves off as Defenders of Free Speech yet they obscure their real thoughts with coded language because they're too scared to defend their own views. Then they chastise student protesters; they ridicule people who want to create their own labels for themselves or avoid labels all together; they shut down any substantial discourse on race or poverty with banal quips about black on black crime and bootstraps.
They think freedom of speech means freedom from criticism of their speech, but criticism of their speech is in fact free speech itself. Duh.
Let's drop the political correctness already. Call bigots bigots, and if you are a bigot, accept it. Then do better. And wipe the breastmilk off your chin. It's the CORRECT thing to do.
I Love You All...Class Dismissed