Monday, February 11, 2008

Overheard Elsewhere

"Fuck the revolution.
It's not coming, and it never gave anyone shit."
by Trinity on Oh, Shut up, You just need saving!

Now if we are the same women from the same people in this barred room, we never notice it. That stuff stays wherever it is. It does not show up until somebody walks into the room who happens to be a woman but really is also somebody else. And then out comes who we really are. And at that point you are not a woman. You are Black or you are Chicana or you are Disabled or you are Racist or you are White. The fact that you are a woman is not important at all and it is not the governing factor to your existence at that moment. I am now talking about bigotry and everybody’s got it. I am talking about turning the century with some principles intact. Today wherever women gather together it is not necessarily nurturing. It is coalition building. And if you feel the strain, you may be doing some good work. (Applause) So don’t come to no women’s festival looking for comfort unless you brought it in your little tent. (Laughter) And then if you bring it in your tent don’t be inviting everybody in because everybody ain’t your company, and then you won’t be able to stand the festival. Am I confusing you? Yes, I am. If coalition is so bad, and so terrible, and so uncomfortable, why is it necessary? That’s what you’re asking. Because the barred rooms will not be allowed to exist. They will all be wiped out. That is the plan that we now have in front of us.
by Bernice Johnson Reagon on Coalition Politics: Turning the Century

As it's commonly used, "PC" is a deliberately imprecise expression (just try finding or writing a terse, precise definition) because its objective isn't to communicate a substantive idea, but simply to sneer and snivel about the linguistic and cultural burdens of treating all people with the respect and sensitivity with which they wish to be treated. Thus, the Herculean effort required to call me "Asian American" rather than "chink" is seen as a concession to "the PC police", an unsettling infringement on the free-wheeling conversation of, I suppose, "non-chinks". Having to refer to black folks as "African Americans" rather than various historically-prevalent epithets surely strikes some red-blooded blue-balled white-men as a form of cultural oppression. Having to refer to "women" rather than "bitches" lays a violent buzzkill on the bar-room banter of men preoccupied with beating on their chests and off other body parts.
by Kai Chang on The Greatest Cliché: The Unexamined Propaganda of "Political Correctness"

1 comment:

Matt --attorney, researcher, and (now) blogger said...

I was raised to address people as they would prefer to be addressed--it was simply called "manners."

There are no "PC Police" and there never were. People are free to use the terms they want to use--but some are rude, disrespectful, insulting, racist, sexist, and ignorant.

Which terms are insensitive changes as continuing discriminatory attitudes attach stigma to the term--resulting in the people 'labeled' that way to adopt a different term that they feel more accurately reflects and advances their cultural self-image. The evolving standards called "manners" will always be in flux, but if the complainers want to reduce the frequency with which terms change--they should get off their cans and help eliminate discrimination and the attitudes that support it.