About 'Alpha+Good'

Alpha+Good (sort of a bad wordplay on Orwell and machismo) is a side project that belongs to 'Onklare taal' ('Unclear language'), the umbrella of several of my literary projects in Dutch. This section is almost exclusively in English and comprises my ongoing thoughts on progress, gender, politics and various other social themes. Are you a little lost? This link will take you right back to my home page.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Can you be too politically correct?

Short answer: yes.

Long answer:

'Political correctness' is a term dreamed up by reactionaries. They mean to say that people will say (or not say) certain things out of fear of offending a certain group, while really, everyone is thinking something else. Someone who prides themselves on being 'politically incorrect' then tries to twist antiquated prejudice or ignorance into being some sort of free speech hero.

A good example: 'Oh please, don't be so politically correct. That guy over there is not 'challenged', he's a cripple.' For one, it's of course pretty dumb to think that you, as part of a dominant outgroup, gets to decide how someone from a minority gets to call themselves or wants to be addressed. Secondly, it assumes that everyone secretly thinks 'heh, a cripple' when they see someone in a wheelchair. It's something that resurfaces often in discussions with racists, sexists and rape apologists - they all seem to think that everyone believes what they do, but they just cover it up because it's not palatable to some imagined left-wing cabal of good political taste.

There is no such thing as 'political correctness'. The only people who force themselves to say things they don't believe are, indeed, the very same reactionaires who know their beliefs are not shared by the majority of people (but never realise why most people think they're wrong). Another instance is where people feel they want to be nice and inclusive to minorities but involuntarily offend them by being as inoffensive as possible. Like, for example 'I love gay culture, it's so colourful and feminine!'.

So, being too 'politically correct' comes from the same misguided beliefs and ignorance that the term itself originated from. Interestingly, there's also a considerable overlap between the desperate wish not to offend anyone and what's been identified as the 'geek social fallacies'. Trying to be inoffensive is not what respect is all about. Respect is trying to understand someone else.