By E.F Nicholson
It may be just me, but every time I hear someone rave on about how political correctness has gone overboard and is now curtailing freedom of speech, there seem to be common characteristics that person holds; namely, they are white, male, middle-class and exhume white privilege. (“I am colour blind; I just don’t see people as black or white. They are just people in my eyes,” is another both male or female phenomenon of white privilege.) The irony lies in how those claiming political correctness is encroaching on their freedom of speech seem to make this claim in the outright expression of their freedom of speech.
Basically, the people who moan and complain about not being able to say what they really think are the ones constantly saying what they really think. Nick Cohen, a writer for The Guardian, is an example of this type of mindset. In a recent article about terrorism, he is complaining that in Britain no one is able to point to the elephant in the room, which basically boils down to how terrorism is an actual Islamic problem. Invading Muslim countries, killing millions of Muslim men, women and children, upholding tyrants and generally seeing the Middle East as our colonial property, for Nick Cohen, is somehow secondary. He writes these opinions whilst saying what he claims can’t be said, pitting himself as the rouge and rebel willing to stand up for the truth when, in fact, his position on Islam is shared by pretty much most of the mainstream media, and we hear it over and over. Even Rupert Murdoch sent out a tweet saying pretty much the same thing Cohen had to say.
Another aspect of how political correctness is rallied against is more crude. White privileged individuals get all uppity when even the slightness social incursion intrudes on their ability to do and say whatever they want. On the other hand, one aspect of value of political correctness is how, overall, it has made it socially unacceptable to be a nasty bigot. There are instances that may seem daft, where “manhole” needs to be changed to “person hole,” yet even those have their own logic. Having a daughter who’s black caused me to take notice of how her teacher used white dots against a child’s name on the board when they were good and black dots when they were bad. Being a white man myself, this never would have caught my attention had my daughter not asked me why black equates to bad. Now, in 2015, words like faggot, bitch, nigger, chink, spas, and paki are now looked down upon, and rightfully so. So are those battling against the PC police trying to defend their right to call a homosexual a pillow biting fairy, or laugh and mock at whatever minority is close whom they feel threatened by? When you hear someone mutter, “It’s not PC to say this, but…” brace yourself for something offensive. It’s like when you hear, “This isn’t a judgement, but…” you know you’re about to be judged.
It seems it’s never an African American lesbian moaning about how bad political correctness has become. There are a lot of messed up things in the world, yet one positive progression in Western democracies overall is increased rights and acceptance of minorities, be they LGBT, racial, ethnic or disabled. There is still a long way to go, as you see with the massive support recently surrounding the government clerk Kim Davis in the US breaking the law by not allowing gay couples to register their marriage. She seems genuinely proud of the fact that she is petty and narrow-minded. She is basically martyring herself in her right to be a bigot and imposing her belief system on others. Still, progress has been made. The fact that taunting, teasing and shaming minorities is now socially frowned upon is good sign. It’s a sign that at least we are maturing as a people and certainly heading in the right direction. There is not a lot going in the world right now when it comes to justice overcoming injustice, but the increase in minority rights is at least one point on our score board. Hopefully there will be more to come.
10 thoughts on “Why it is always white middle class men that have issues with political correctness?”
yup, it’s just you
It may well just be me. If you think political correctness is a problem and your not a white, middle class male, then I may need to change it from “is it just me” to ” my experience has been up to this point”.Is there anything in particular in the article you disagreed with?
I wrote some stuff that’s my own, kinda white opinion below, but if you only read one thing, read this article by Adolph Reed Jr, not because he’s Black and has major issues with political correctness, but because he’s a rarity these days, an actual left voice in American politics, like Bernie Sanders, except not running for president so he can keep it way more real.
Political correctness is part of academic culture and most people that practice it and are even aware of it are middle class or upper class and in the majority white. I work in a multiracial environment where the majority of workers are Black and literally no one is politically correct walking around on eggshells. People pretty much say what they feel in a direct way and there is plenty of flirting that goes on that PC feminists would probably consider to be “sexual harassment”. My feeling is that it’s really up to people to speak up and decide whether something is offensive to them or not, it’s not the job of a bunch of “enlightened” perpetual grad students to tell us what we can and cannot say. It’s mainly uptight white people that are big on political correctness, because that’s how uptight white people deal with things that make them uncomfortable. There is also a relatively small layer of usually very class privileged people of color who get jobs in academia, government and nonprofits in the role of basically managing and mitigating racial problems for the benefit of the system. In what way does the campus word policing and scathing pop culture critiques of the social justice warriors benefit Jamal who is risking his life operating an ancient trash compactor at the football stadium long after the fans have all gone home, picking up their trash for minimum wage, no benefits, no breaks. He won’t eat until he gets his $46.50 paper check the next day and cashes is for a three dollar fee. Like 3/4 of young African American men in his home town Jamal has a criminal record and this is the only job he can get. Explain to me how Jamal benefited from all the hubbub about the Oscars or how a callout session amongst some environmental activists meeting on an island somehow improved Jamal’s plight. Will Jamal get one of those jobs in the “diversity center” at Mizzou? I am certainly not in the same category as Kim Davis and war mongering Islamophobes. I just question whether this PC stuff isn’t just a bunch of self absorbed lifestyle activism or even a way to channel potential dissent in a safe direction that doesn’t threaten any of the really rich white people’s bottom line. We can talk about identity politics and microaggressions, just don’t talk about capitalism, that’s off limits. If you think every random white male is “the man” than you simply don’t understand how the system really works.
Thanks Bryce for you in-depth and insightful feedback. I agree and understand a lot of what you are saying, it makes sense. I guess the article was more rebuff towards the objection of political correctness that I often come up against. That is often white heterosexual men that feel threated and more and more powerless are the ones objecting about how bad the PC police have become. As if their right to be asshole is basically under threat. I do understand some extent compared to structural violence, income inequality and just whole nature of global capitalism and its impact on the world, these issues are less threatening and can serve a diversion to what actually matters. At the same time general speaking people being more tolerant, say LGBT rights I think is good thing. It’s true isn’t doesn’t address systemic issues of injustice that are far more pervasive and do go unquestioned but its a start. The fact my brother who is gay and can be open about his sexuality in his work environment and not expect to be bullied, bashed or ridiculed (which he just couldn’t have done 50 years ago) I think is some measure of progress. Now if some guy he worked with made a joke about him being “queen” said in good humour, then it got taken the wrong way , he got reported and then fired for it, I could see how he could go away feeling aggrieved that the PC police had fuck his life up. Thankfully my brother is pretty good humoured and I agree with you it’s very personally thing and very grey line between genuine humour and some being nasty and demeaning. Anyway thanks for the link and input. Ewan
This is another more satirical article I wrote on the same subject. It’s pretty much auto-biographical from growing up in rural Australia and now there some people I went to school with that I can see on the Facebook posts, that they still can’t let go of these kind of attitudes feel aggrieved for being shamed into the sidelines http://www.sosotrue.com/2015/11/17/how-political-correctness-is-trying-to-ban-childrens-laughter/
Is this a joke? Why is it that when a white male voices an opinion that differs from the general narrative of the hysterical left the assumption is that he is doing so due to some sort of all pervasive and intrinsic racism or sexism? Are white men even allowed an opinion at all? Many non white people don’t support the regressive leftist hysteria either. Does their opinion count? The beef against political correctness is a beef against those who wish to stifle free speech because their feelings may get hurt or their theories challenged. Being politically correct doesn’t mean that you are automatically right and being offended never automatically makes you right. All people regardless of who they are should not be afraid of truth no matter who is offended but be prepared to be offended yourself in open discourse. That is freedom of speech and that is your constitutional right.
Hi Mannon, Thanks for your feedback. The point of the article was to highlight, more than often than not, people most bemoaning the how terrible political correctness has become, are rarley from the group people that benefit from it. I don’t think its bad thing that it’s now frowned upon to call black person a “nigger” or homosexual “faggot” ect.. White privilege is a thing and you don’t see it and acknowledge doesn’t make it any less of thing.
Regarding freedom of speech I would like to know how you think yours or others is being curtailed? There are plenty of white men making commentary the right and left and are giving their views constantly. From Bill O’Reilly to Noam Chomsky, I don’t see on either side of the political fence being bullied into silence. Here are you on this blog, exercising your freedom of speech. If someone takes offense at your views and they express that, then that is them exercising their freedom of speech. You have the right to think they full of shit or have a valid point. Large groups of people have to right to decided that don’t like a tone, a type of speech, see certain views offence or obscene, as you have the right to think they PC morons. Why are you objecting to their objections? You are allowed to object to their views, but they can’t yours?
Then to decry the poor persecuted white majority, please give me a break. White people do get persecuted but not because of their race more due to their socio-economic class. Income inequality, debt peonage, a two-tier justice system ect.. are all structural and systemic issues cutting across all gender, cultural and racial lines. So if you going to get up in arms about something at least make something real.
“Are white men even allowed an opinion at all?”
Really? You think white men are being silenced and gagged in the media that don’t conform to left wing bias? Have you watched Fox news recently? Bill O’Reily, Glenn Beck, Rush Limburg, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson? Are you telling me that they are not right wing pundits? Are you telling me they are not allowed to speak. They are unheard voices in the media? America most popular and watched news network being Fox news, is coy and timid in its right wings views? Jesus what planet are you on?
Oh yes it’s great that taunting teasing and shaming of minorities is frowned upon. But taunting teasing and shaming of the majority is pretty well mainstream.
Who really benefits from political correctness? It’s interesting how we fantasize that it must have come from the most marginalized. White liberals and the Democrats always love to pretend their ideas are the ideas of people of color and the disadvantaged. Political correctness originates in big corporations and government agencies that wanted to maintain their hierarchies and avoid trouble, avoid lawsuits.
They don’t want a white middle manager saying something stupid and losing the company a bunch of money. That is the real point of political correctness. That and individualizing politics and erasing class struggle, to promote an attitude of war of all against all, to get the 99 percent pointing fingers at each other and fighting over the crumbs. If your idea of fighting the good fight for racial justice or women’s liberation is shaming a random white guy any white guy will do. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet kind of have a lot of security so they’re pretty much immune. It’s basically against the law to have empathy in extreme identity politics circles but how fun is it to be blamed for literally everything wrong with the world and oppressing everyone when you were just born a white guy with no signifcant access to power or control over what’s going on? That’s my theory on why a lot, but certainly not all critics of this PC stuff are white. I think you would find that a lot of working class people of color are turned off by it too, a lot of working people are simply not exposed to PC culture at all though, they don’t live in the Portlandiaesque bubble world.