Correcting Political Correctness

Putting these words down on the keyboard puts me in a dangerous position. Judging from society the job of defending “Political Correctness” is only beaten in the unpopularity stakes by Joseph Fritzl’s lawyer, just edging ahead of Robert Mugabe’s public image consultant. Most red-top newspaper readers have probably already been filled with rage at someone defending this vicious attack by minority groups to rule over us, as the poor, white middle-classes are destroyed by the fascist state who give all the power to the minorities who are feared so much etc. etc.

First of all it is important to understand what “Political Correctness” is. In the mind (sic.) of your stereotypical Daily Mail reader it is the transfer of power from white middle-classes to minority groups, especially the immigrants who come over here taking our jobs yadda yadda yadda.  These disgusting crimes committed against us have a general rule of reporting. Step one – Find a story at any cost. The favoured tactic here is the oldest trick in the media book; take a story horribly out of context. Take for example the “Baa Baa Black Sheep” story. One of the most infamous stories of “Political Correctness Gone Mad™”, the Express commented on this story by saying “One nursery school in Oxfordshire made children sing ‘Baa Baa Rainbow Sheep’ in the name of ‘equal opportunities’.” The story was covered by the usual crowd of shit stirring papers, the Mail, the Sun and the Mirror and soon the story passed into folk law. However one article from Private Eye seems to have gone unnoticed at the time, and I quote from the people behind the “offending” song “They sing happy, sad, bouncing, hopping, pink, blue, black and white sheep etc. This encourages the children to extend their vocabulary.” Strangely enough the papers failed to mention this, but why let the facts get in the way of a good story? The other way of inventing a story is to hear of a word being used to describe something in a different way. The best example of this is the use of the word chalkboard instead of blackboard. The papers heard about this change and jumped to the conclusion that it was changed to appease black people. In reality the change is in the language, with chalkboard being the American way of saying blackboard (as chalk is used on them…), fitting in with the rise of American phrases in our language, nothing to do with race but it fits in with the right’s agenda to pretend it is, and low and behold, ZOMG ITS POLITICAL CORRECTNESS GONE MAD™!!!!111!!! Next thing you know they’ll be banning our right to firebomb Muslims!!! In a previous edition of the magazine the “story” of Christmas being changed to Winter fest in Birmingham to appease minorities is taken out of context, as Winter Fest is just an advertising campaign. Its closer to Capitalism gone mad than “Political Correctness”. Add to the list of made-up stories the “you can’t say brainstorm because it’s offensive to epileptic” bullshit and it seems the four most famous examples of “Political Correctness Gone Mad™” are about as true as the rumour David Cameron is the father of his new child. So it turns out the story are non-entity, the first example being a method of improving children’s vocabulary and yet it was transformed into a story of hate, clear evidence of the media’s crusade to invent stories of “Political Correctness”. “You couldn’t make it up” the newspapers spout, well you can. And you have.

Abusing “Political Correctness” has become so commonplace that it has become a form of “Political Correctness” itself. Let’s actually face facts; “Political Correctness” doesn’t affect our lives in anyway, except idiots who claim to hate it enforcing it themselves. I’ll give an example: you’re in a lesson when you refer to “Brainstorming”. Apparently this is not allowed because of “Political Correctness”, yet I’ve never once been told by a figure of authority I can’t say it. I’ve sat in governmental meetings when it is used and no-one blinks an eye. But if you do it in a class, you are picked up on it. By your fellow students! “You can’t say that, it’s not Politically Correct”, “err, yes I can and no it isn’t. Fuck off.” The fact that the term is going to be published in ink here is evidence enough of the fact that you are allowed to say it. If people shut up about it for once it doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference. Yet the people who claim to get riled up about the topic, become the very people they claim to hate. That is the real “Political Correctness”, criticising “Political Correctness”.

While inventing stories of “Political Correctness” is always a good way of selling papers, it is worth noting how the term is used to discredit actual attempts at equality. The Daily Mail and similar papers are some of the last bastions of white, middle-class hegemony, and will viciously attack any attempts to break this hegemony. Any legislation brought in to give equal (key word here) rights to minorities receives the same screaming response of “Political Correctness Gone Mad™,” “Government gives power to minorities” and the like. Being white and middle-class is one of the most prosperous positions anyone can be in, it is quite obviously easier to get jobs, education, and money if you are in this section of society, and yet people will complain when there are attempts to reduce the social divide. Anyone who seriously thinks that minorities have it easier than the white, middle classes is an idiot. Some attempts of positive discrimination may be misguided but ultimately they are designed to give equal rights to minorities, not for them to rule over us. The fight against “Political Correctness” is in essence the fight to retain the hegemony of the white middle class.

Ultimately decisions will be made by any party that will confound and bewilder people, but that’s life, deal with it. When it comes down to the crunch, “Political Correctness” does not affect your life, at least as long as you don’t let it. Getting worked up over tiny and insignificant details is ultimately pointless, and frankly there are far more important things in the world than this. And maybe, just maybe, people might find getting rid of racism is actually a good thing.

A version of this article was originally published in Caterham School’s Preview magazine.

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