Political Correctness – What a Fallacy

Someone else blogged about clothing and appearance forming our judgments of our fellow humans.  The color of your skin and texture of your hair is far more basic than
your clothing.  Unlike your clothing, you can’t change your race.  Just
ask Michael Jackson.    I was talking to someone I know who’s into marketing about the “segmentation” that goes in his field.  Segmentation is a polite word for profiling.  That means you take data about someone and start making assumptions.  The example he offered up is another friend of his. 

“So,” he asks me, “We have a person who eats organic yogurt and granola for breakfast.  What do you think they are?”  My immediate answer, “A hippie.”  Then he asks me, “What kind of car do they drive?”  “A Prius,” I reply smartly.  “And what party do they vote for,” he goes on.  “Democrat of course,” I say.  “And you’re so wrong,” he grins, “The man I’m talking about is card carrying Republican who drives an SUV.  He just likes to eat healthy.  You really can’t make assumptions like that about people.” 

So I’m blogging about political correctness or in short, racial profiling.  This is my rant about what a fallacy it is.  You’ve still just attached a label to someone.  You’ve just
conveniently cubby-holed them.  Now that they have their label, you’re
free to start making assumptions, attaching stereotypes, and
discriminating.  All because you have that one peice of data.  The trick is that now you’ve made it sound better so
that the person being labled accepts the label.  In many cases they
pick it up and wave it like a banner.

Since LULAC has been particularly vociferous of late, we’ll take them as an example.  The fact that they’ve been in the press lately means they just happen to occur to me as a handy case in point.  It doesn’t really matter if you call someone a beaner or a hispanic or a latino. Let’s take stereotypes about hispanics.  They steal.  They’re lazy.  They have big families.  They drive slow.  They’re not here legally.  It doesn’t really matter what the stereotype is.  It’s attached to the label.  Once you get the label, you get the baggage. 

The only difference is you said something that sounds more polite than “beaner” so the hispanics among us don’t protest it.  If you said “beaner” to a hispanic, the person in question would probably call you down on it.  They would reject the label of “beaner” and it’s attached stereotypes.  They would also probably be quite offended by being labled in such a manner.  However, because you said “hispanic” or “latino”, they accept that, even though its got exactly the same baggage as the less polite label.

My point with all this is that it’s the labels themselves that are divisive.  Instead of coming together as a community and being “Americans”, we’re this or that or the other thing.  IMHO, the only place where race belongs in a physical description.  “Car 42, this is dispatch.  The suspect is 6 foot tall white male wearing jeans, a black tshirt, white sneakers….”  Other than that, we should try to get away from labeling each other at all.  Educators stopped lableing kids because they found that this lowered the teacher’s expectations.  The “learning disabled” label meant that the kids got graded differently, treated differently in class, and many were just flat out written off as a “lost cause.” 

We stopped labeling the mentally ill for very similar reasons.  In many cases, the label became a self-fuflling prophecy.  Once the label was attached, people began to alter their perceptions of the labeled person’s actions.  They changed the way people interacted with the labeld person, often causing them to alter their behavior so that they would begin to mesh with the label and it’s attendant expectations. 

We’ve found over and over again that labeling is inaccurate and counter productive.  I just don’t understand why we keep lableling.  We know that it doesn’t work. 

More Skewed Political Incorrectness

In yet another example of the hypocrisy that it is political correctness, I’d like to introduce you to the Jena 6.  These are six black high school students who ambushed, knocked out, and then stomped a white high school student to death.  Oddly, none of the kids is being charged with murder, even though they set out, quite deliberately, to ambush and kill another student.  The nature of the crime makes it quite clear that this was total cold blooded premeditation. 

Because these are black kids who killed stomped a white student to death, they’re being proclaimed as martyrs and subjects of “Jim Crow” justice.  Having read about the nature of the crime, I can’t see it.  What I see is the fact that 6 cold blooded murders got to walk with a slap on the wrist, some probation, some juvie charges that will be sealed when they become adults, and not a lot of repercussions for jumping up and down on another student’s head until he died. 

Before you get all riled up, let’s turn this around.  Let’s say it was 6 white students who planned out where and how to hide and wait to trap a black student.  Then they planned out and practiced how to knock him out.  They they got a box to practice with so they could practice jumping up and down on him to kill him.  Then they go and actually go and do it.  Do you think that white boys in these circumstances would be charged with a hate crime?  Do you think that white boys who did this to a black student would be charged with murder? 

Now let’s try this a different way.  If it were 6 white students who did this to another white student, do you think that the they ought be charged with murder?  If it were 6 black students who did this to another black student, do you think they should be charged with murder? 

If you answer yes to even one of those questions, then the system is broken.  The rules are supposed to be the same for everyone.  There aren’t supposed be different rules for different groups of people.  We’re all supposed to be *equal*.  That doesn’t mean that some people get a pass on premeditated murder because they happen to be black folks killing white folks. 

Political Correctness, The Witch Hunt

Unfortunately, in this country, we’ve developed the concept of something called “political correctness”.  Now, this is the biggest bunch of bull I think I’ve ever seen in my life.   First off, if you calls someone a beaner, a gook, or any other offensive racial term, they will reject both the term and it’s attached  stereotypes.  If you call someone a Hispanic, Latino, or Asian-American, they suck that right up even though it still has the same attached stereotypes.

All that’s been done is that instead of getting people to reject offensive labels (race-based and otherwise), they now accept them and are usually happy to have them.  They actually start labeling themselves, which is far more divisive than the original offensive labels. Since the negativity has been glossed over, they just suck right up to the stereotypes.  The only true political correctness lies in *not* describing or cubby-holing people by race unless it’s necessary for a physical description.  Our race should be *human* and our nationality should be *American*.  Nothing should be hyphenated on to that and the color of skin, sexual orientation, religion, etc. shouldn’t automatically generate a label.

We’re also a country that’s founded on the concept that all men are created equal and that we have freedom of speech.  Hold on to that last sentence while I lead you through my logic on this. Why are black folks the only ones allowed to use the N-word?  Why are gays the only ones allowed to call each other fag?  Why are Hispanics the only ones allowed to call each other “beaner”?   Why is everyone allowed to call white people names with impunity?  I’ve yet to see a big protest about the words “Cracker”, “Honky”, “Wedo,” or “Howli” or any of the other racist terms for white people. 

If we’re all really and truly equal, either everyone should be able to
use those terms or no one can use them.  Equal means that the same rules apply to everyone.  Either way, the rules need to
be same for *all* people.  No special rules for special groups.  Anything else isn’t fair because then it’s not equal.  My personal vote goes to no one using them but that’s me. 

Furthermore, freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom of inoffensive speech.  It means that we are *all* free to say what we think which pretty much guarantees that we’re going to offend each other at some point.  I’m not saying that we should all run out and join the Aryan Nation or anything else stupid.  But, the same laws that protect them (offensive as they are) also protect me when I want to drag out my little soap box and gripe about all manner of things.  H. L. Mencken said it best, “The
trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of
one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that
oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the
beginning if it is to be stopped at all.

Worst still, we have developed a “witch hunt” mentality for anyone who says anything that might be even remotely racist – but only as long as they’re white.  Carlos Mencia can say anything he likes about anyone but he’s not a white a guy.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Carlos Mencia.  Think about this though. If it was a white guy dressed up as an Arab, doing a skit where he runs a convience store that makes fun of his customers based on racial stereotypes, he wouldn’t have a show.  Which is kinda sad because the only way that stereotypes die is for them be laughed out of existence.  They have to be poked fun of until they finally drop out of our collective concious. 

The things that offend people often leave me confused and scratching my head.  Don Imus fell victim to this when he called some girls on a basketball team “nappy headed hos”.  Instead of being offended for being called a “ho” which implies loose morals and possible disease transmission, they were offended by the term “nappy headed” which genreally refers to having messy, tangled hair.  While I agree that the comment is somehwhat offensive, I’d be far more upset over being called a “ho” than being told I have messy hair. 

Dog the Bounty hunter is the latest victim of this.  He’s in a rough profession where he deals with all sorts of people who refer to themselves using the N-word.  It is his job to go fetch people who have jumped bail and I’m sure that some of them are career criminals, gang members, and others who would be prone to referring to themselves in this manner.   I’ve seen people that have the N-word tattooed on them.  I can easily see where these things might come up in discussion of identifying and arresting such a person.

In order to avoid the witch hunt of political correctness, he says on
tape that he’s worked too hard to loose everything because someone
catches him or one of his employees in a bad time or out of context. 
Sadly, this appears to be exactly what has happened.  Worse still is
that it was done by his own son.  The media has played this up as
“racist diatribe” but the only statement that could be remotely
construed as racist is the fact that he admits that they use the N-word
but there is no mention in what context it is used.  If that part of
the conversation was taped, National Equirer certainly hasn’t released
it because it would pretty much deflate the senseational value of the
part that they have released.

He admits in the tape that they use the N-word, but does not say in
what context that it is done in.  Given the rough nature of his clientele, I’m
sure that these statements could easily be taken totally out of the correct
context.  It would be hard to tape someone, anyone – even you, at home 24x7x365 and not
find some statements that could be taken out of context to make the
person appear in the worst possible light.

The supposedly racist tape begins in the middle of a conversation that consists mostly of him complaining to his own son, who has been dating a black girl for several months.  He told the son that he couldn’t work with him anymore because this girl had been threatening his wife, the boy’s mother, with phyiscal violence.   He specifically says that it has nothing to do with her being black.  That’s a situation that is simply unacceptable in any family.

He goes on to say that he knows that people, including the son’s girlfriend,
have been trying to bug his office or trap him into saying something on
tape that can be taken out of context and misused.  He says in the tape that he’s afraid of having what should be private conversations taped and sold to the National Enquirer (who incidentally published the tape).

Frankly, I’m surpised at the trial by media.  There’s another American cornerstone here – it’s called Innocent until Proven Guilty in a court of law.  Since there is no real law involved here, it’s simply mob justice, just like the Salem witch trials.  There’s been no court and he’s certainly not being considered innocent or given chance to defend himself.