Posts Tagged ‘Political Correctness’


“I’m a white guy. I’m a well-educated intellectual who enjoys small arthouse movies, coffeehouses and classic blues. If you didn’t know any better, you’d probably mistake me for a lefty urban hipster.

“And yet. I find some of the alt-right stuff exerts a pull even on me. Even though I’m smart and informed enough to see through it. It’s seductive because I am not a person with any power or privilege, and yet I am constantly bombarded with messages telling me that I’m a cancer, I’m a problem, everything is my fault.

“I am very lower middle class. I’ve never owned a new car, and do my own home repairs as much as I can to save money. I cut my own grass, wash my own dishes, buy my clothes from Walmart. I have no clue how I will ever be able to retire. But oh, brother, to hear the media tell it, I am just drowning in unearned power and privilege, and America will be a much brighter, more loving, more peaceful nation when I finally just keel over and die.

“Trust me: After all that, some of the alt-right stuff feels like a warm, soothing bath. A “safe space,” if you will. I recoil from the uglier stuff, but some of it— the “hey, white guys are actually okay, you know! Be proud of yourself, white man!” stuff is really VERY seductive, and it is only with some intellectual effort that I can resist the pull … If it’s a struggle for someone like me to resist the pull, I imagine it’s probably impossible for someone with less education or cultural exposure.”

— Blog post on “American Conservative,” quoted by Amy Chua in her upcoming Political Tribes; a portion of the book has been excerpted by The Guardian as “How America’s Identity Politics Went from Inclusion to Division.” The excerpt is well worth reading. It’s the best analysis of the identity politics phenomenon I’ve ever seen.


One of the main mocking points of the right is the language of the left, especially PC terms such as the mandatory “people of.”

Here’s a hint as to why using such language is a really dumb thing to do: It’s artificial. In real life — at least around here — No one talks like that.

My neighborhood is about 80% nonwhite, and over the last quarter century while talking with my Mexican, black, and poor white neighbors, I have never heard the words “people of color.”  Never. The black people refer to themselves as black people or African-Americans. The Mexicans refer to themselves as Mexicans or Mexican-Americans, very occasionally chicanos. Not “people of color” — that’s a term for guilty white folks and identity-politics types of any color, who care more about using the correct PC terms than about reaching the people around them (more accurately, reaching the people in poor and working class neighborhoods).

After that disastrous usage and similar off-putting PC terms, things get even worse — totally divorced from reality, totally divorced from daily life.

Let’s take a prime example: “Smash US Imperialism.” What the hell does that mean? “Smash”? Does it have any concrete meaning? No. It’s just metaphorical.

What about “U.S. Imperialism”? That might have some meaning (varying) in hardcore leftist circles, though one suspects it’s close to a ritual incantation. Most of my neighbors would have at best a foggy idea of what that term means.

The point is that “Smash U.S. Imperialism” is just empty political sloganeering. It has nothing to do with daily life.

After such empty rhetoric, incredibly enough, things get even worse.

Condescending identity-politics types will happily lecture people about how they’re woman-haters for refusing to vote for authoritarian warmonger and corporate lapdog Hillary Clinton, and how having a woman in charge will be a huge step forward. (Yep, having Margaret Thatcher and Indira Gandhi at the top of the heap in the UK and India changed everything, didn’t it?)

Even more obnoxiously, holier-than-thou identity politics types will lecture people about how they’re racists just because they’re white. Some of the more dishonest, disrespectful PC types even have the nerve to ask other white people “Are you a racist” in order to manipulate them into being lectured about how all white people are racists.

This type of patronizing PC b.s. does far more harm than good. It unnecessarily alienates people and plays into the stereotype that everyone on the left side of the political spectrum is a condescending jerk.

So, what to do?

If you want to talk with people and actually move them, talk to them about their daily lives. Talk with them about how lacking healthcare means they might die, how their kids might die; talk to them about the shitty schools in the neighborhood; talk to them about the insane cost of higher education; talk to them about how the 1% pay lower taxes than they do, and how they’ll never get ahead as long as that continues.

Talk about daily life, what we’re all going through, and we might even get to hardcore Trump worshippers. When we point out how government and corporate policies play out in daily life, how they affect all of our families, we might get through to people.

Let’s point out why, in concrete terms, our shared pain exists, and we might get somewhere.

Using abstract, PC language and slogans almost guarantees that we won’t.

Talking about daily life is the best, and arguably the only, way to reach people.

 

 

 


Alt-country player Al Perry’s song and video, “Jukebox Jihad,” has evidently fallen victim to the PC police — outraged by, what else?, “islamophobia” — and has been taken down by Youtube. (We put “censored” in quotes in the headline, because it’s within Youtube’s rights to only host what they want; but the political intent, the desire to restrict political speech, is obvious.)

Here’s the takedown notice:

If you haven’t heard the song, “Jukebox Jihad” is a rockabilly tune, light, funny mockery (admittedly in questionable taste) of the murderous religious fanatics who have slaughtered and enslaved tens, probably hundreds, of thousands of people, most of whom were/are their fellow Muslims.

We loathe attacks on free speech. We loathe anything smacking of censorship. And we loathe those who think they know what others should be allowed to see and hear.

So, we’ve just put up the “Jukebox Jihad” video on the See Sharp Press web site. I spoke with Al earlier this evening, and he encourages others to download “Jukebox Jihad” and put it up on their own sites.

Without further ado, here’s the link to “Jukebox Jihad.”


“A critical but overlooked aspect of the human dimensions of glaciers and global change research is the relationship between gender and glaciers. While there has been relatively little research on gender and global environmental change in general (Moosa and Tuana, 2014; Arora-Jonsson, 2011), there is even less from a feminist perspective that focuses on gender (understood here not as a male/female binary, but as a range of personal and social possibilities) and also on power, justice, inequality, and knowledge production in the context of ice, glacier change, and glaciology [citations].”
(This gem is from the second page. This paper is not, I repeat not, a deliberate joke. If I ever get the time, I’ll mine this PC gold mine for more nuggets.)

Anarchist Cookbook front coverby Chaz Bufe, co-author The Anerchist Cookbook

If you’ve ever doubted that the PC left is more of a hindrance than a help to those trying to make the world a better place, consider this: Alternet, a prominent leftist news/opinion site, ran a piece on December 22nd (subsequently reposted by salon.com) titled “White men must be stopped: the very future of mankind depends on it,” by Frank Joyce, a frequent Alternet contributor.  (Interestingly, Alternet has apparently taken down the piece–I couldn’t find it there today with a cursory search; perhaps they were embarrassed by the blatant bigotry of the title, or perhaps they took it down for another reason.)

Subsequently, the extreme right-wing web site, Infowars, gleefully seized upon the Joyce article, with a piece that quoted the Alternet title in its headline and then added as a subhead, “The left declare open war on White Americans.”

This is the best example I’ve seen recently of the left’s stupidly playing into the hands of the right. If you wanted to drive one class of people, based purely on race and gender, into the arms of their oppressors, it’s difficult to think of a more effective tactic than attacking them and identifying them with their oppressors. (Believe it or not, corporate capitalism oppresses white men, too.)

You see this sort of crap all the time on leftist sites: white men, or men period, are the problem. Those making such reductionistic, counterproductive assertions seem never to think of the consequences. They seem not to realize that not only are they driving those they attack into the arms of the right, but they’re also diverting attention away from the real problems of economic inequality, militarism, erosion of civil liberties, mass surveillance, and racism-related problems such as police brutality . (It’s quite possible to talk about that problem without going out of your way to alienate people because of their race.)

If you think that the people who are attacked because of their race and gender will read on after a bigoted headline, think again. If you read a headline stating that you were the problem simply because of your race or gender, how would you react? My hunch is that you wouldn’t be receptive to anything the author had to say, if you even bothered to read another word, and you’d come away feeling that the author (and those allied with him or her) was your enemy.

So, why do PC leftists attack people because of their gender and/or race? They apparently do care about social justice issues, so why do they act so stupidly? Why do they engage in worse-than-useless bigotry based on gender and race? It’s a reasonable guess that some people acting in such a  way are guilt-ridden white liberals, and others are so angry that rather than attack all of the interlocking systems of oppression, they attack convenient scapegoats. It matters not a whit that these particular scapegoats are in some ways less oppressed than they are. The end result is that they drive their targets to the right, and that they divert attention away from the real problems.

The PC left is playing the game of its (and our) oppressors: Divide and Conquer.


MULTICULTURESE, n. The native tongue of cultural studies, women’s studies, and sociology departments in the fetid swamps and snake-infested wilds of the Ivy League. Though nearly incomprehensible to speakers of standard English, a number of Multiculturese terms—recognizable because of their awkwardness and imprecision—have become standard in the politically correct subculture, where failure to use them is considered a dark sign of political backwardness and latent racism. The use of these cringe-inducing terms by liberal politicians, journalists, and political activists is, of course, a sign of political and social enlightenment, and not, as some low-minded people of cynicism claim, craven conformity.

* * *

–from the revised and expanded edition of The American Heretic’s Dictionary, the best modern successor to Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary

 


by Chaz Bufe, publisher See Sharp Press

Alternet, the leftist opinion site, has chosen for some inexplicable reason to run a very poorly argued piece by Richard Chu attacking atheist Richard Dawkins for being “racist” because he opposes Islam. Here are the first two paragraphs from Chu’s piece:

One of the most obnoxious refrains you hear when you complain about Islamophobia in the United States being a form of racism is “Islam isn’t a race, it’s a religion.” It’s a nasty derailing technique that’s endorsed by luminaries such as Richard Dawkins.

And it’s wrong for transparent reasons. You don’t need to look far for other examples where religion and ethnicity are conflated within the logic of prejudice. You only need to look as far as the Holocaust, the single bloodiest genocidal campaign in history, which targeted anyone of Jewish ethnic descent regardless of what religious beliefs they professed, based on stereotypes that explicitly invoked biological, racial difference.

The entire thing continues at length in this vein.

First, notice that Chu nowhere attempts to prove that Islam is not a religion and is, rather, a race of people. (Follow the link to Chu’s piece to confirm this.) Next, notice that he nowhere shows any racial animus on Dawkins’ part. Instead, he relies on the weakest form of argument: argument by analogy. This form of “argument” doesn’t even attempt to prove its points. Rather, it relies on naked emotional appeal.

Further in his piece, Chu states:

But the sheer hypocrisy of saying that anti-Muslim prejudice is a consequence of rational disagreement with the tenets of Islam rather than xenophobic distrust of people who look different from “normal” Americans becomes most obvious when you see how much of it falls on Sikhs…..

What this has to do with Dawkins is anybody’s guess.

The point Chu is trying–and failing–to make is that because some who oppose Islam are racists, all who oppose Islam are racists. This is a major, and vile, contention, and Chu doesn’t even attempt to prove it. He just asserts it. One could just as well argue that because some people who believe the Earth revolves around the sun are racists, all who believe the Earth revolves around the sun are racists.

Chu simply equates Dawkins’ principled opposition to all forms of religion (including Islam) with the racism of some American conservatives. He doesn’t even try to prove that Dawkins’ reasons for oppositing Islam are the same as those of racist conservatives who oppose Islam, because he can’t. So he asserts that they are, relying on argument by analogy, much as some American right-wingers once argued that liberals were identical to Communists.

Chu apparently doesn’t realize that people oppose Islam for very different reasons. Or he’s deliberately ignoring that obvious fact in order to slander all who oppose Islam.

Chu is engaging in McCarthyism, in character assassination. Chu should be ashamed of himself for writing his piece, and the editors of Alternet should be even more ashamed of themselves for running it.