PO­LIT­I­CAL COR­RECT­NESS HAS NOT ‘GONE MAD’

It’s be­come a dirty word, but PC re­mains vi­tal to pro­tect­ing those whose voices are so of­ten si­lenced

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - OPINION - ANN WASON MOORE ann.wa­son­moore@news.com.au

THIS is to­tally not PC … but I’m in favour of po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness.

Which is some­what ironic, given one of my nick­names is No Fil­ter.

But see, when I hu­mil­i­ate, den­i­grate or make fun of some­one - it’s pretty much al­ways me (okay, or my hus­band). And I can take it (and he’s will­ing to live with it).

It’s one thing to shame your­self (my hus­band is my other half, right?), an­other to shame oth­ers. It’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween un­couth and un-PC.

But if you’re mak­ing oth­ers your punch­line, you don’t get to de­cide who gets of­fended. PC has be­come a dirty word, but lest we for­get: it’s there to pro­tect those whose voices are so of­ten si­lenced – the mi­nori­ties.

The pre­cise def­i­ni­tion of po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness is: “the avoid­ance of forms of ex­pres­sion or ac­tion that are per­ceived to ex­clude, marginalise, or in­sult groups of peo­ple who are so­cially dis­ad­van­taged or dis­crim­i­nated against.”

So po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness need not ap­ply to me as a sub­ject be­cause I’m pretty well pro­tected, po­lit­i­cally speak­ing. You know: white, mid­dle-class, straight and em­ployed. I’m blonde, blueeyed and the mother of one girl and one boy – heck, I even have one dog and one cat plus an SUV. There’s barely a ma­jor­ity I don’t be­long to.

So how on Earth is it my right – or that of any other hang­ing out with me in the ma­jor­ity – to be­moan po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness?

Of course, many of the in­stances which fuel our ha­tred of the PC move­ment are also BS.

For ex­am­ple, the re­nam­ing of the black­board to the more in­clu­sive ‘chalk­board’. Ridicu­lous, yes. Pri­mar­ily be­cause who even uses a black­board any­more?

Ridicu­lous also be­cause it’s not ac­tu­ally true. It’s an ur­ban myth that we love to share to get our blood boil­ing against the “PC bri­gade”.

How­ever I’m sure both you and I can think of a thou­sand real and re­ally an­noy­ing ex­am­ples where good in­ten­tions have gone bad.

Can­celling Christ­mas cel­e­bra­tions in favour of “end-of-year” or “hol­i­day” par­ties gets many an eye rolling. But not an eye cry­ing.

Be­cause do you know what’s worse than an­noy­ing? Hav­ing your dis­abled – hell, men­tally or phys­i­cally chal­lenged if you pre­fer – child called “re­tarded”. Or your black friend called the N word. Or your ho­mo­sex­ual brother called the F word.

What baf­fles me is that many of the same peo­ple who bang on about de­fend­ing free­dom of speech – any speech, hate­ful or not – si­mul­ta­ne­ously want oth­ers to shut up when it comes to sub­jects with which they dis­agree.

Let’s take the whole Same Sex Marriage de­bate as an ex­am­ple.

The ‘No’ cam­paign has ar­gued that they are be­ing si­lenced by moral fas­cists and shamed for shar­ing their opin­ion.

Yet part of their ar­gu­ment against a ‘Yes’ vote is that chil­dren might be taught “rad­i­cal gen­der pro­grams” in schools. You know, pro­grams that might help the mi­nor­ity.

I’m pretty sure that no pro­gram could con­vince the ma­jor­ity to switch sexes.

But I’m also pretty sure that such a pro­gram could help more than a few chil­dren who feel alone, os­tracised and ab­nor­mal. It’s the ones on the fringes we need to pro­tect.

I’m not say­ing Safe Schools as it stands is some­thing we should im­ple­ment, it’s been too well tar­nished to be­gin with. But teach­ing kids that dif­fer­ent hap­pens and that’s ok, could be a literal life­saver.

And let’s not for­get that not so long ago any sort of sex ed­u­ca­tion was seen as a rad­i­cal pro­gram. Un­til, of course, it be­came PC.

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