Without going into detail, I got myself into a spot of bother with a friend recently who described me as "racist". I was horrified about this as my dad had fought the Nazis. I find it difficult to have an open debate on awkward subjects with certain people. John Cleese describes such people in this interesting little film. I'm particularly drawn to the statement "If people can't control their own emotions, then they have to start trying to control other people's behaviour."
interesting. I've no real love for john cleese (I don't know why) but he makes a good point.
being politically correct is a good things, political correctness otoh can be nonsense.
now. I just wrote, then delete a comment in depth to illustrate what I mean. but then I realised I couldn't say what I mean. but in this world of everyones opinion counts, and social media meaning everyone can shout their opinion into the ether, mean theres a lot of nonsense (ahem) being put out there (ahem) with no contextual filter on. thus the offense.
of course you don't need facebook to offend or be offended, people have been gobshites since time began. lol.
(you add the lol, you see, to reduce offense intended. lol.)
Thanks confused. I personally think that racism is something which is done with malicious intent. I'm not offended for instance by Kanuck calling me a "Limey". It's harmless. Likewise, in Australia, I was often called a "Pom" (or worse) but it's just banter.
Under no circumstances would I say, call a black person by the N word. That's just plain wrong to me. It even makes my toes curl a bit when Elvis Costello sings it in Oliver's Army. In that context of course, he's just using it to illustrate the sort of language used by bigots.
The worst sort of people I find using PC badly are those whom I would call "Absolute Socialists". I'd just like to point out here that I voted Labour in the recent election. These people always speak as though they occupy the moral high ground when all they've done is make a choice in politics like everyone else.
As Cleese points out in the film, universities are no longer places for open debate. The idea of banning someone from a fancy dress party for going as a Mexican is just ridiculous. I can't say I'd be offended as a British person if someone turned up wearing a bowler hat, pin-striped suit, and carrying a briefcase. It's just sort of ironic stereotyping and harmless.
It's harmless. Likewise, in Australia, I was often called a "Pom" (or worse) but it's just banter.
Ditto. Except in my case it was in NZ and it wasn't always banter. Sometimes it was quite threatening. It's certainly given me an appreciation (even though very mild and limited) for what it feels like to be on the end of racist abuse. To be singled out, even hated, for something that is innate is quite a bewildering feeling. Yes, I was a "pom" but that was a fact, nothing I can do about it. However, one can change if one's a bigot!
I didn't know whether to type this here, or in the facebook/forums dying thread... here seems as good as anywhere.
I've just retired from a forum I was on because I was getting too much stick for being 'PC gone mad' I'm really quite a sensitive soul and can't take negative comments. I tend not to argue. If people don't see the point I'm trying to make (they don't have to agree with it btw) and continue to slag me, then I just walk away.
I am, broadly speaking, a defender of what is known as political correctness. I don't think it hurts anyone to think about their word choice and how it might offend someone. I personally don't wish to offend anyone so think nothing of changing the way I speak (when necessary) to avoid offending. As I said, I don't like arguments and will do pretty much anything to avoid them, my final option being to walk away.
Without rehashing the entire 'discussion' that was on the particular forum, I was suggesting that men ought be thinking about what they say as 'banter' because it might be offensive to some women. I thought that in the current climate (with Weinstein, #metoo, #timesup etc) that this would be relatively uncontroversial. How wrong I was! Boy, did I get derided! My point was largely being misinterpreted/ignored by some people who saw what they wanted to see. I became a PC pariah!
I do believe that our word choice does reflect how we see the world. What we genuinely believe to be innocent and complementary is not necessarily so to the person we are saying it to. I totally accept that people often do not mean to offend, that they mean something as a compliment, but if they took a moment to consider what they were saying then they would see why it might not be such a compliment after all.
I heard an example of what I mean last night on television, when watching Grand Designs. It's nothing too serious but it does make the point I think. A couple had bought a castle and were renovating it. The presenter - Kevin McCloud? - said to the young women, something like 'so you are going to be the princess of the castle'. She was visibly, momentarily outraged - and I could see why. She was project managing the renovation and was doing an excellent job. Kevin's comment was demeaning, and she understandably felt angered and perhaps belittled by it. She was far from the 'princess' of the analogy but an incredibly capable, intelligent, creative and hard working women.
Whilst Kevin McCloud meant no offence, indeed possibly even thought he was presenting a charming image, he was actually diminishing her. If he had thought about the image that his words depicted, he would have seen that it was both archaic and offensive to her.
Edit: sorry I went on a bit! I am kind of passionate about current issues regarding sexual discrimination, how they are seen at the core of many a male's beliefs and how there are reflected in their use of language. I even frown when I hear market traders shouting 'darling' or 'love' as if only women buy market produce! (No, I'm not THAT hardcore... but not far from it!)
I hesitate to respond to this thread as I am definitely not one to be 'politically correct' which is not to say I go out of my way to be offensive but neither do I edit speech just in case a phrase I may use could make someone uncomfortable. A good example occurs earlier in this thread in the comment by michophull "I personally think that racism is something which is done with malicious intent. I'm not offended for instance by Kanuck calling me a "Limey". It's harmless." It would not even occur to me that this is offensive, perhaps because I am a "limey" myself and to me its more an endearment than a slight. I do understand however that the use of 'slang' terms, particularly racial ones, can be both received and intended as putdowns and so it depends upon how it was intended and how it is perceived by the recipient. As I said above I never intend to offend with my words no matter how made and give others the same 'benefit of the doubt' (at least initially) but will either let the speaker know I am 'uncomfortable' or remove myself from the discussion if truly offended. Its a difficult subject and each of us has a different life experience and outlook on such things, we must be respectful of others points of view and deliberate offensive slurs are not acceptable but in many cases I feel that its political correctness gone mad. Its more the intent than the words that matter IMHO.
It is a difficult area kanuck, I agree. Intent is obviously part of it. As I said earlier, I got called 'pom' a great deal in New Zealand. Sometimes it was fine, other times less so. Personally I'd hesitate to call it racist as such, I saw it more as abuse, but I certainly got a mild dose of what it was like to be on the end of racist abuse. Friends often use derogatory terms for each other and that's just part of their relationship so fine in my book.
But, for me, it runs deeper than words. After all, we all make clumsy word choices sometimes. As I said, it's about a way of seeing the world that is reflected in your word choice. For instance, I'm thinking of the demeaning way some people can be spoken to in the work place - it suggests someone sees themselves as superior, sees the relationship in terms of power hierarchies or somesuch. I guess really I mean respect rather than political correctness as such, but I remain - in broad terms - sympathetic to the aims of political correctness.