Political Correctness

The art of replacing one offensive term with an vague, often more offensive term.

If your brain hurts right now, you understand what the problem is.

Just The Facts

  1. Political correctness started with the radical idea that insulting people based on ethnicity, gender/ sexual orientation, or medical conditions is kind of a dick move and should be frowned upon.
  2. Insulting people based on their height, weight, age, hometown, economic status, and whether or not they believe in God is still completely acceptable.
  3. People should complain about how Politically Correct terms are often offensive in their own right.
  4. Unfortunately, most of the people who do complain about Political Correctness are old white men who wish they could be bigots openly again.

Key Figure #1: George Carlin

Go fuck yourself, everyone else!

George Carlin was a comedian who often focused his social commentary on the use of language in our society. His main argument concerning Political Correctness was that words can't be "bad," but people and intentions can. In other words, he argued that offensiveness depends not on the words used, but rather on who is speaking them and for what purpose. Pretty radical idea right?

He also pointed out that referring to people who inhabited this continent before Columbus as "Native Americans" is kind of dickish, since none of them ever used the word 'America' until after they were invaded. This is kind of like your neighbor taking a dump in your garden and then devoting lots of time and effort to finding the most pleasant-sounding slang term for the dump.

Key Figure #2: Don Imus

Don Imus is a radio personality who managed to redefine his entire career when he referred to the Rutgers University Women's Basketball team as "nappy-headed ho's." People who spoke out on the issue seemed to believe either that Imus had done nothing wrong at all, or that he was Grand Wizard of the KKK. The possibility that he's just a cranky, penis-neck old bastard who said something really mean but isn't actually a racist was never brought up.

In hindsight, his mistake was probably not insulting the Rutgers Women's team as much as it was using language with racist and sexist undertones. If he had pointed out, for instance, that they looked like they could be dock workers in Mos Eisley, he'd probably still be remembered for his decades of philanthropy, instead of being internet shorthand for 'racist old white guy.'

No, but seriously we're sure they're really classy ladies.

Key Figure #3: Rev. Al Sharpton, and the N-Word

"How the hell am I still relevant?"

Al Sharpton was a key figure in the campaign against Don Imus, but before that he made a name for himself doing a whole lot of what he thinks is good for the Black community in America. He gets an 'A' for effort, since he seems to miraculously appear whenever and wherever a White cop does something suspicious to a Black citizen. He gets an 'F' for understanding how parables work, especially that of the boy who cried 'wolf.' Someone should probably explain to him that crying 'institutional racism' every time a Black person gets arrested might be deleterious to the fight against actual institutional racism.

Reverend Al has been at the forefront of a movement to discourage rappers from using the N-word, arguing that it makes other people think the word is okay. Most rappers listened calmly to his position, considered his arguments, and then cordially told him to fuck off.

"You wanna get your teeth knocked the fuck out?!"

Some white people claim not to understand why black musicians can use the word but they can't. This is like not understanding why Mel Brooks can make Jewish jokes but Leni Riefenstahl can't. These people are racists. Please ignore them.

But while we're on the subject of rappers...

Special Topic: "Urban Contemporary"

In recent years, radio stations which play a mix of Hip-Hop, R&B, and Soul have begun billing themselves as 'Urban Contemporary' for marketing purposes, even though it's pretty obvious that 'Urban' should be read here as 'Black.' This suggests that radio station executives believe calling it 'Black Music' would decrease listenership, either because the term is offensive or because white people don't want to listen to black music if it's openly called that.

As for the former possibility, you'll want to keep in mind that James Brown had a huge hit with a song called "Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud." So that's probably not it.

We should definitely take our cues on integrity from this guy.

As for the latter, if that were true, it would mean that Political Correctness went from an attempt to discourage racism to a tool for concealing it.

But that couldn't be true. Right?

Just kidding, Godfather. You know we love you.