01 Dec 2005 PC is PU, by Christopher Arps
Political correctness, or PC, is defined by the Internet’s Wikipedia reference web site as the effort to remove “prejudicial terms from common usage.” It is an often-misguided attempt to ensure that individuals are not offended due to their race, gender, sexual orientation or religious persuasion.
PC has its origins in the “progressive” student movements of the 1960s. Those activists are now tenured professors, journalists, entertainers and politicians, and they have successfully implanted political correctness into our lexicon and mainstream culture. As with most leftist ideas, however, their quest to create a sensible form of behavior designed to respect diversity has run amok. It has also exposed the empty rhetoric and hypocrisy of those who advocate it.
Berkeley, California – the birthplace and bastion of modern-day liberalism – poignantly illustrates the fallibility and duplicity of PC. Earlier this year, parents and teachers at Jefferson Elementary School presented the school board with a petition to change the school’s name to Sequoia Elementary. They asserted that it was unconscionable to have their children attend a school named after the former president because he once owned slaves. They suggested the school be named after Chief Sequoia.
But the overly eager group of PC proponents hadn’t done its research.
Chief Sequoia is said to have owned almost 100 times as many slaves as Thomas Jefferson! To mask their embarrassment over this fact, the group then claimed they were renaming the school to honor the Sequoia tree. Of course, this tree was named after the same famous Indian chief. Fortunately in this case, common sense prevailed and the board defeated the proposed name change by a vote of three-to-two.
Berkeley citizens’ sudden desire to rename their institutions makes one wonder whether they’ve considered renaming the city itself. Berkeley is named after George Berkeley, an 18th century Irish philosopher, theologian and slaveowner.
The isolation that the country club and limousine liberals have from African-Americans and other minorities – the people they claim to care so much about – has resulted in very public slips of the tongue that give an insightful view into what may be their true feelings. To make matters worse, the PC overseers commonly look the other way at such transgressions.
Where were the PC police, for instance, when former Ku Klux Klansman and now liberal West Virgina senator Robert Byrd said in a 2001 television interview that he’s known “white n—–s?” Why was it apparently acceptable for then-California Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante to use the same word in a speech that same year to union members, ironically during an event celebrating Black History Month? How politically correct was it for former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe to call blacks “colored people” as he did in a 2001 speech to party leaders?
Earlier this year, current Democratic leader Howard Dean cracked this insulting, humorless and politically incorrect joke: “You think the Republican National Committee could get this many people of color in a single room? Only if they had the hotel staff in here.”
Just a few months ago, liberal icon Ralph Nader said he felt like a “n—-r” because he believed the Democratic Party was intentionally keeping him off state ballots in last year’s elections.
Liberals have had 40 years to convince the public – and, apparently, themselves – that they are the sole champions of minority rights. This overconfidence seems to have created a complacency which has given rise to outward expressions of thoughts and feelings that used to be heard only behind closed doors and among themselves. Worse still are the black “leaders” who make excuses for their allies’ faux pas, while excoriating conservatives for every perceived slight.
For this reason alone, although there are many others, political correctness should be buried in the graveyard of bad ideas.
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Christopher Arps, a member of the black leadership network Project 21, is a talk show host in St. Louis and the runs the New Leadership Blog that can be found on-line at www.newleadershipblog.com. Comments may be sent to [email protected].
Published by The National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21 or the National Center for Public Policy Research.