How Both Conservatives and Progressives Created PC Culture
Let’s start with you Progressives.
Progressives, just because you are offended, doesn’t mean that what was said was offensive. It’s easier to protest and block what you disagree with than to take any action that would actually make things better.
You think the problem is coming from outside of you, someone else’s bigotry, someone else’s injustice, but that’s not completely true. The problem is inside of you, in the way you handle problems, stress, and confrontation.
Is what I’m complaining about really the most important issue of this story?
Why can’t I keep myself from getting upset at something as simple as a few words?
And in cases where what was said or done was truly bigoted, you’re still only basing your labels and judgment off of one or two data points. Often times with something as small as an article, Facebook post, or even one sentence.
If someone said something that you disagree with, even if it is in fact objectively offensive, what good does it do to then take away everything that person has? If you succeed, you’ve made it practically impossible for them to do anything of value for society.
And when you’re wrong (read: overreaching) in your accusations, you’ve completely shut down any chance for dialogue.
When Pittsburgh Anchor Wendy Bell got fired for a presumptive Facebook post about a black suburb shooting, where did the focus go?
Here is what she said, in part.
“You needn’t be a criminal profiler to draw a mental sketch of the killers who broke so many hearts two weeks ago Wednesday. They are young black men, likely in their teens or in their early 20s. They have multiple siblings from multiple fathers and their mothers work multiple jobs. These boys have been in the system before. They’ve grown up there. They know the police. They’ve been arrested.”
This brings us to the most important point about PC Culture, if you actually care about what you claim, that is, left or right leaning policy that helps people, then you would be more concerned about the issue itself versus who said what and how they said it.
With Wendy Bell, if your number one goal was to save lives, then the Facebook post wouldn’t be your primary concern. Sure you could be upset about the way she said these things. But you would care more that she uploaded that post before any evidence was released. You would care more about the six people who were killed, or about the high rate of crime in this country, regardless of the race.
Was there a bit of racism in that post? Sure. But more so than that, was genuine sorrow and frustration over the actual crime that occurred.
(Please note that I myself am a dark-skinned person, because for some reason, that makes my previous criticism more credible. Apparently white people aren’t allowed to care about black deaths as much as black people. How fitting.)
The left’s overreaching outcries over the years allow Conservatives to dismiss real problems out of hand.
Which brings us to you conservatives.
Not every policy you disagree with is a sign of political correctness tainting our democracy.
Imagine you’re back in school taking a test, or one of those cute online quizzes. Here’s your question.
The president’s lack of use of the phrase ‘radical Islam’…
a) Makes us weak
b) ISIS’s whole goal is to become the leader of Islam in a religious war against the West. So saying that they are in fact ‘Islam’ seems counterproductive.
c) Considering we’ve spent trillions dollars in the past 15 years fighting radicals, and have dropped so many bombs that the Air Force is literally running out. Which two words we use to name them seems kind of irrelevant.
The conservative brand of PC culture involves a distinct lack of personal responsibility both for themselves and people they support. While with progressives, every little thing is to be scrutinized, conservatives go the opposite direction, making sweeping statements about groups of people under the guise of “we have to figure out these problems folks.”
For conservatives, a cop, company, or veteran can never be wrong. And if they are, than the system certainty can’t be wrong.
Just like with Progressives, if conservatives wanted the best chance to move the country towards their values, this isn’t the way to do it.
Take the Transexual Bathroom laws for example. If Republicans really supported these laws, they would stand up before the country, preferably with a Transgender person by their side and say something like this.
“Transgender community, most of us don’t agree with your choices, but we respect your constitutional right to make them. You’re Americans just like we are. We’re sorry you think these laws are meant to discriminate against you, they’re not, their about keeping our girls safe from liars and predators. Let’s work together to look for different solutions.”
Maybe someone says something close to that once in a blue moon, but mostly what you hear are off-hand comments about how you’re not really a man or women if you switch genders.
And the conservative’s calls against political correctness are seldom courageous. Instead of being part of an attempt to raise our discourse, it’s used as a slander to fight ideas and people they disagree with.
Conservatives will use “PC” as a synonym for weak, unintelligent, or as Fox news analyst Ralph Peters put it live on air “this guy (President Obama) is such a total pussy. It’s stunning.”
Ben Carson: “to give away American values and principles for the sake of political correctness.”
Chris Christie: “Some people believe that borders have become outdated, they don’t believe in nation-states. They believe in a post-American world… We have to speak out against it even when it becomes politically incorrect to do so.”
Let’s begin the shift to saner dialogue with some new definitions.
Bigoteer — Someone who is childishly quick to label others as racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. based off very limited evidence.
Credit to Tim Ferriss for this name. Synonym: Rage Profiteers
PC Hiders — Those who shun Political Correctness, not as a means to open dialogue, but to avoid responsibility for what you say.
Someone who uses the term “Politically Correct” as a slander to score political points against people or ideas they disagree with.
But to be clear, adding new names won’t solve all our problems. The real key is being able to handle people who we disagree with in a way that is solutions-first.
Social Censorship and Embracing Stupidity
Let’s recap. Progressives, getting someone fired because one questionable comment or act is not social justice, it’s social censorship. You can hold someone accountable without ruining their career. And without losing focus of the real issues.
Conservatives, As Republican Senator Lindsey Graham puts it “Claiming every Muslim hates America is not rejecting political correctness, it’s embracing stupidity.” If you present an idea that seems to work against the least powerful in this country, critics who call you out are not being “PC.” And to say they are is cowardly.
The truth is, any productive conversation about touchy issues requires some amount of tough talk and political correctness.