10

Political Correctness and its Reluctant Role in Intolerance.

Political Correctness and its Reluctant Role in Race Intolerance

Hola mis amigos,

We just cannot seem to have it all, can we? Regardless of almost any positive decision you take, there will always be some sacrifice/opportunity cost or downside to it as well. You cannot enjoy the positives without considering the negatives as well. Such is the case with relationships, careers, products and in this case – political correctness (PC).

Political correctness, simply put, is avoiding the use of words that may offend or belittle certain groups of people. Despite the slightly damning title, political correctness has in all fairness, sensitized many people on the need to respect and sympathise with groups that are otherwise condescended or discriminated against. There is a new-found sensitivity and respect towards the struggles that various minority groups have to deal with on a daily basis. I really do believe that political correctness is doing its part in making this world a more sensitive and better place… up until a certain point, that is.

Political Correctness and its Reluctant Role in Race Intolerance

I’ve always tried to stress the difference between being sensitive and being delicate. Being sensitive is a sign of strength. Being delicate, on the other hand is not. I do believe that the very idea of political correctness comes from a very good place. But it is fast becoming responsible for an increasing number of very emotionally weak people – especially in some Western societies where PC keeps gaining ground. Today, people not only get quickly offended by certain expressions, but also by phrases they consider to be even slightly unpleasant to them. This is becoming quite ridiculous. As many of us have to filter every single word we say for fear of causing ‘remote’ offense.

As far as race is concerned, political correctness does not really affect me as much because I am a black man in Ireland. In this part of the globe, this means I am a member of at least one minority group. This also implies that, I can choose to abuse or wave my ‘minority card’ in your face if I feel remotely offended by your words. As such, the main victim of overboard PC in this case is the white majority.

Politically speaking, the idea of political correctness is very well embraced by the Liberal wing – both true liberals and fanatics alike. But hey, if I have to keep walking on pins and needles just to avoid saying something that might offend you, how is that liberating in any sense?  …   PC is good and all. But when you become so politically correct that you include a tomato in a fruit salad, then you know there’s a bloody problem😄.

Political Correctness and its Reluctant Role in Race Intolerance

So Derrick, what’s your play exactly?

Well, several minority groups exist in the Western world; race minorities, religious minorities, gender minorities etc. But for the sake of a short and concise article, I’ll just talk about political correctness and the race minority because it hits closer to home for me.

My biggest problem with PC is that it creates more labels to describe the exact same thing. More labels create more individual sub-groups. And more sub-groups means various people who identify with any of these new sub-groups tend to cluster together to ‘defend’ their values from oppression by other rival groups. As you guessed, this all creates further division between individuals that would otherwise identify themselves under a common group.

Before I came to Ireland in 2009, I had never imagined the word ‘black’ was considered offensive. To describe race in Cameroon, the words black and white are purely descriptive. That is it. Of course, how you say these words can betray sarcasm, patronizing behaviour or hate. But when I realised that a lot of good-natured people had to walk on egg-shells so they wouldn’t say the word ‘black’ around me, I kinda felt sorry for them. Sometimes it’s funny when you hear someone sing a song on the bus, and when the lyrics mention ‘black’ or ‘nigga’, they simply freeze for fear that I will strike upon them with great vengeance and furious anger.

Political Correctness and its Reluctant Role in Race Intolerance

Similarly, I’ve seen black people jump on the band wagon and attack just about anyone else that mentions the word ‘black’. And also consider some situations that do not particularly favour them as acts of racism. White or Asian guy describes someone as black in a conversation and he’s considered racist. As far as I am concerned, the word ‘black’ is considered racist only when the underlying tone is anger, hate or superiority. Not when it is being descriptive.

That said, there are non-black people that say some well-intentioned but ignorant shit. I have met a lot of people like these on random nights out, who in their attempt to socialize with me, end up saying some dumb things. They really don’t mean any offense. They are not racist, they just don’t have any tact. So sometimes I don’t even get irritated because it’s such a waste of emotion; especially when I know that a little 101 education on the matter is all they need.


Political Correctness and its Reluctant Role in Race Intolerance

Not too shabby. Do tell me more.

Personally, I do not take offense to being referred to as a black man. Many black people don’t like being referred to as ‘black’ for various reasons. And as a result, the word black (as a race description) has now been divided into African and African-American. Culturally speaking, there are big differences between the two groups. On the one hand, you have the African-Americans whose cultural identity revolves mostly around 400 years of injustice and being treated as second class citizens in a place they consider home. On the other hand, you have the Africans that only see slavery as a mere footnote in their thousands of years of history, and experience a different kind of invisible colonial injustice and tribalism from their very own. I’ll get into those in a different article…maybe.🤔

Understandably, a shared complexion does not equal a shared culture (Kofi Glover). And over the years, Africans and African-Americans have failed to forge relationships due to huge cultural differences. In this case, the distinct labels only serve to ensure that no lasting relationships are made. As an example, I always make sure to identify myself as an African- just so that I’m not put in the same box as the African-American. Truth be told, the media plays a massive role now more than ever, in feeding us these labels into our subconscious; not for any of the reasons I’ve stated in the previous paragraph, but simply to fit politically correct agenda. Even now, there is a strange social media trend that pits light-skinned blacks against dark-skinned blacks. It is usually tongue-in-cheek but you’d be surprised at just how many people take this seriously.

Still, I think to myself every now and then. What if both African and African-American groups were referred to simply as ‘black’? Would that in any way make both groups feel like they have something in common? Would that eventually give them at least one reason to come together to appreciate their cultural differences? I believe one label could work wonders instead of two.

 

Conclusion.

Political Correctness and its Reluctant Role in Race IntoleranceLooking back at this, I think it was a great idea to keep the topic of PC to just race. Going into my thoughts on PC and religion, gender, sexuality and other social topics would require a book – one I do not have the time to write at this point in time :).

That said, this article only touches a very small part of the greater effects of political correctness. But what’s more important is that I would now like to read your view on the matter. Is PC friend? Is it foe? Or am I just looking at the small issues and missing the larger underlying picture? Feel free to make your point heard and don’t forget to share with your friends :).

Also make sure to see my other articles on this website for great content and learning material from Wealthy Affiliate.

Thank you X

 

 

 

 

Derrick

10 Comments

  1. Very interesting and very true. We all are created by our heavenly father. We are all the same color on the inside. Love one another

  2. Political correctness often hides the facts. Many people who use the “correct” words do not really believe them. Honest speech at least allows you to know where you stand in the eyes of the speaker.
    It would be nice, however, to return to politeness and courtesy.

    • I’m a huge fan of love and politeness Sheila. But it’s a a pity that courtesy is mistaken for weakness these days. When it comes to issues like these, it also kinda becomes difficult to find the appropriate balance between honest and asshole. Thanks for the input x

  3. Hi Derrick, I really appreciated your viewpoints in this article, it shows independent thinking that we sorely need that in greater amounts today. As far as my views, I adopt the approach of “speak the truth”. To take your example of being called black, if someone calls me black and I look black .. did they lie? I don’t think so. The human condition does encourage us to differentiate based on appearance, so I can see why someone who is flesh colored could be offended when referred to as white, or a mixed race someone may be offended for being called brown.
    Is it possible that we as humans use color as a label to catalog that person in our minds?
    Jay

    • Thanks a lot for your constructive input Jay. As much as I dislike the new sub-labels, i’ll admit that using color to label people as a catalog is essential… at least from a linguistics/descriptive point of view. I believe that if I were to describe a black, white, Asian or Indian person, any of these words I’ve used would suffice. My only issue is the unnecessary invention of new synonyms. Maybe I’m just paranoid, but I’m convinced that these new labels only create further alienation. Thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *