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.