Political Correctness/Walking on Eggshells

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  • DrStrangelove 7 Sep 2013 21:15:40 3,741 posts
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    I have the impression that these days, political correctness is growing even more extreme in Britain, Australia, America, than it is here in Germany, which we Germans think is already dangerous terrain to voice anything on that might be in any way critical of other peoples, nations, cultures.

    I mean, of course it is tasteless to defame Jews as powermongering exchange gamblers, Gypsies as pathological criminals, Italians as eternal mafiosi, Russians as hopeless communist drunkards.

    But does that disallow us from voicing our anger against some Jewish settler, some Gypsy ponce, some Russian oligarch? Some American evangelist warmonger, some French art critic, some Indian upper-caste supremacist?

    I am aware of all the rightist fucks who'd just like to kill them all, I am well aware that those people don't represent all of their peoples.

    But what good is there in just being silent? Never saying anything because it could be offensive? Doesn't that actually increase the anger, including racist anger? "I can't even ask, because that's forbidden. If I disagree with Jewish settlements in Palestine, I am an anti-semite obviously. Well, seems like me and most people are anti-semites."

    What I'm trying to say/ask is: can wrong political correctness hurt? And since the answer to that is obviously yes: how much does it hurt? Is it a minor problem or a really big one? Does hiding actual problems do more good or more harm?

    I have great confidence in this becoming a constructive and not at all polemical debate. Discuss.
  • X201 7 Sep 2013 21:19:32 15,273 posts
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    "POPCORN! GET YOUR POPCORN"

    / deckchairs also available.
  • Bremenacht 7 Sep 2013 21:19:57 17,843 posts
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    A thread made for revan!
  • Inertia 7 Sep 2013 21:25:10 677 posts
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    But why do you need to state the race? It's the behaviour that bothers you right? So criticise the behaviour, By saying the race you are also insinuating that it is common behaviour in this social group.
  • El_MUERkO 7 Sep 2013 21:29:57 16,978 posts
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    Language, if you want to complain about a person or persons actions or beliefs then make damn sure you're doing it using the correct terms and with evidence rather than hearsay.

    Also expect some people to misread your comments either because you didn't phrase it correctly, because they didn't read it correctly or because they willfully choose to misread your comments rather than argue with you on the merits of your statement.

    You mentions 'Jews', but you might mean Israelis or Zionists, or Orthodox, or Radical, or Right-wing, or simply 'some' Jews. Specificity, if you're going to complain about someones actions be sure to correctly identify and complain about them, not a wider group to which they belong.

    Don't walk into a bar and call out "You're all cunts!" because that one guy in the corner scratched your car.
  • El_MUERkO 7 Sep 2013 21:35:58 16,978 posts
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    sajasanman wrote:
    True. But you do have organizations like the anti-defametion league set up just to attack any one that's anti-israel.
    Umm, I think you'd be a tad concerned if millions of followers of your religion were killed just because they followed that religion. And again, they didn't have a 'whole religion whip-round' to fund Anti-Anti-Israel groups, specific people, with their own motivations set up specific groups. Just as Oswald Mosley set up the British Union of Facists but no one said "English! Bunch of Nazis".
  • Mr-Brett 7 Sep 2013 22:04:27 12,774 posts
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    I totally agree with El_MUERkO's post, it's about using the right terms and not being lazy and tarring groups with the same brush.

    I hate the term 'political correctness' because most of the time it seems to be used by people wanting to be assholes and claiming some sort of oppression. Now there seems to be a weird back-lash against supposed political correctness, see the pictures thread a few days ago. I expect the pendulum will swing back and forth for a while until it loses momentum and we end up something close to not being dicks to be people on the basis of race/culture/creed.

    Portable view - Never forget.

  • DrStrangelove 7 Sep 2013 22:10:46 3,741 posts
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    Inertia wrote:
    But why do you need to state the race? It's the behaviour that bothers you right? So criticise the behaviour, By saying the race you are also insinuating that it is common behaviour in this social group.
    But petty crime is an issue that is more prevalent with Gypsies than with others. Mafia is an issue more problematic with Italians than with others. Suppression of women a greater issue within muslim communities than others.

    I'd like to put great emphasis on not declaring this racial issues. It is absolutely alien to me to think of that as genetic issues or whatever. But there are cultural problems from our point of view, or more neutrally spoken, cultural differences that may strain the tolerance of the general public.
  • SparkyMarky81 7 Sep 2013 22:30:35 565 posts
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    @sajasanman

    Re gypsies. You'd be rather surprised by how much money a lot of gypsies have.
  • DrStrangelove 7 Sep 2013 22:36:25 3,741 posts
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    El_MUERkO wrote:
    Language, if you want to complain about a person or persons actions or beliefs then make damn sure you're doing it using the correct terms and with evidence rather than hearsay.

    Also expect some people to misread your comments either because you didn't phrase it correctly, because they didn't read it correctly or because they willfully choose to misread your comments rather than argue with you on the merits of your statement.
    I didn't post this thinking I wouldn't be condemned ;)

    You mentions 'Jews', but you might mean Israelis or Zionists, or Orthodox, or Radical, or Right-wing, or simply 'some' Jews. Specificity, if you're going to complain about someones actions be sure to correctly identify and complain about them, not a wider group to which they belong.

    Don't walk into a bar and call out "You're all cunts!" because that one guy in the corner scratched your car.
    But that's exactly what I meant. Many people here, not without reason, feel they'll be condemned as Nazis if they criticise Israeli settlement policy. I am absolutely aware that that policy doesn't represent "the Jews". I don't know if it's more or less than 50% of Jews who support the settlement policy, I suspect it's less, but the problem is: you voice your anger, you risk being defamed yourself as anti-semite. That's what some (not all!) pro-Israeli interest groups claim. You criticise Jewish settlements, you're a nazi. You can ignore those extremists of course, but they do have influence on public opinion.

    Same with the Muslim/headscarf thing. Great dilemma. On one hand you want to respect other cultures, on the other you disagree with disfranchisment and degradation of women. If you're against that degradation, you're getting in danger of being called a racist/nazi/whatever. Because you tell another culture off.

    That's all great, and there's reason to fight all the fucks who consider other cultures dirty trash swinefests, but what if you're just concerned about thosee women? And their (in our belief) right to live an independent dignified life? That's not a general culture-less problem. It is a problem of some particular muslim societies, some particular Indian societies, whatever. But you can't separate it from a certain culture they're coming from.

    So can't you say that you find that certain aspect of a certain culture disgusting? Can't you say that you believe that your own (western) culture is superior in that regard?
  • Rodney 7 Sep 2013 22:45:44 1,872 posts
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    I think some cultures are better than others according to my own values. I think cultures that treat women and minorities equally, that are secular, democratic and have freedom of speech are superior to cultures that don't. There is a strong correlation between different cultures and different races. This can sometimes be a bit awkward
  • Dangerous_Dan 7 Sep 2013 22:47:25 2,380 posts
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    But those are generalization that could be refuted
    For example, it's a generalization to say that birds can fly but what about the ostrich?

    One could make the generalization that women have boobs and mestruate once a month. Yet I'm sure that there are individual exceptions to that generalization. You can always find one.

    Interestingly enough there are advertisments which are directed at women to buy tampons - a generalization which someone made to be more efficient with the ads.

    When it comes to groups of people it's the current narrative, politically correct opinion or whatever one wants to call it, that it's unacceptable to make such generalizations.

    The reason for that lies in the economic reality that at the time it's advantageous to be inclusive of everybody into a big community called humanity. When that reality changes it will be a new paradigm, whichever will be more successful. Then the morality will change accordingly.

    Or in short -
    Walking on eggshells happens due to the current moral climate - And that climate is what it is, due to the environment (technology, resources, demographics...) in which we live in.
  • RedSparrows 7 Sep 2013 22:51:49 22,326 posts
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    Political correctness isn't a very helpful term, really.

    There have been efforts to do away with negative representations of certain groups. Considering the way blacks (for example), have been represented in mainstream culture in the UK over the past 50 years, shows why, and why the effort was worth it.

    Sometimes this goes 'too far', in the sense of limiting freedom (of a sort, in a minor way) to provide protection for a person or group deemed vulnerable. I honestly think that most of the time this is the result of people not really knowing what to do, rather than doing so at the behest of some liberal cabal. Sometimes, in business or otherwise, it might also go too far for some. Things like affirmative action are seen as 'political correctness', for example.

    However, do I think it actually really effects society negatively? Not really, in the long run. There's still plenty of obscene, hateful language around. There's still comedians sticking the knife in, for example. And so there should be. There's still plenty of people angry at Jewish settlers, Gypsies, Russian oligarchs. The issue comes, when 'political correctness' is concerned, with how those people are represented and portrayed. The problem arises when criticism of the act is conflated with criticism of the race/gender/group of the actor. That happens on both sides of the 'political correctness' coin - both the 'woolies' and the 'reactionaries' are guilty of fudging their words or being twats, at points.

    What I see it more as is the combination of a (fairly normal, given history) shifting of values (don't hate blacks, hate Muslims!), usual Mail-esque hypocrisy ('you can't say anything offensive anymore!'/'I like Michael Macintyre because he's not like this horrible sweary comedians') and yes, a conscious effort on the part of some people to curb negative representations of people. But none of that really touches at the 'real' issues: Israel/Palestine, settler vs traveller, rich & poor, exploiter and exploited. It's become more of a pathetic social game, running almost under its own rules.

    What needs to happen is a more sensible discussion of the issues (obv), and also the way these issues are talked about. The way people discuss 'freedom of speech' is pathetic, in the sense that it often fails to recognise many basic points: there is never total freedom, all freedom is bought at the expense of someone else, to some extent, freedom of speech =/= right to be heard in all arenas, freedom of speech =/= freedom to be listened to, etc. Similarly, any gut-reaction that leaps to judge criticism of the act as criticism of the group without merit is entirely self-defeating, and only strengthens the morons who ARE racist et al.

    In regards the specifics:

    Jewish settlers - are you really saying nobody is angry at them? That's kinda half the issue there.
    Gypsies - forever maligned, forever half-understood, for good or ill. I think the gypsy 'paradigm' is a really interesting one to look at, because of the way it foregrounds certain fundamental issues: land use, for example. It's not wrong to criticism bad behaviour, but to ascribe it to some essential characteristic is the work of a cunt, tbh. See South Africa, for a clearer example: whites were rich, blacks were poor. Blacks also larger proportion of country. Black crime rate is higher = blacks are savages, Whites are 'European civilised' (apartheid being the hallmark of civilisation, of course).
    Russian oligarchs - who actually defends them? I'd love to know.

    I mean, when was the last time you didn't hear certain groups of people being smashed about in the media, the pub, the workplace?

    /ramble

    Edited by RedSparrows at 22:52:22 07-09-2013

    Edited by RedSparrows at 22:59:48 07-09-2013

    Edited by RedSparrows at 23:00:00 07-09-2013
  • RedSparrows 7 Sep 2013 22:55:24 22,326 posts
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    DrStrangelove wrote:


    Same with the Muslim/headscarf thing. Great dilemma. On one hand you want to respect other cultures, on the other you disagree with disfranchisment and degradation of women. If you're against that degradation, you're getting in danger of being called a racist/nazi/whatever. Because you tell another culture off.

    See here, it feels to me as though the 'game' is distracting from the real issue.

    You do want to respect other cultures, but not at the expense of your ethical judgement.

    Someone calls you a racist for saying so (wrongly, imo, but dependent on your argument, of course). Or perhaps not, but you feel like someone might. But they don't. Either way, the impression is there.

    The argument then goes on along slightly different lines, ones that don't really grapple with the issue at hand, and instead runs along the tack of freedom of speech/'society today' - wider issues where things can be more easily conflated, things can be equated that shouldn't be, and so on. That is a negative of the issue of political correctness, but the party who is accused of being a racist could be very un-PC in that argument - the thought police won't grab them for it. I can't really articulate it fully.

    Edited by RedSparrows at 22:57:57 07-09-2013
  • skuzzbag 7 Sep 2013 23:09:48 5,638 posts
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    arials101 wrote:
    Inertia wrote:
    But why do you need to state the race? It's the behaviour that bothers you right? So criticise the behaviour, By saying the race you are also insinuating that it is common behaviour in this social group.
    So people shouldn't mention someone's race when criticising their actions because it's bad to generalise about their behaviour in such a way, but at the same time you seem to define races as distinct social groups. Not sure you're helping your own point there.

    Although, If you're saying behavioural problems are primarily social not racial, I agree.
    I think your argument just shit itself.
  • wayneh 7 Sep 2013 23:24:45 2,314 posts
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    Rodney wrote:
    I think some cultures are better than others according to my own values. I think cultures that treat women and minorities equally, that are secular, democratic and have freedom of speech are superior to cultures that don't. There is a strong correlation between different cultures and different races. This can sometimes be a bit awkward
    If you ever find a culture like this please let me know so I can join!

    Act like a dumbshit and they will treat you as an equal

  • DrStrangelove 7 Sep 2013 23:46:31 3,741 posts
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    Mr-Brett wrote:

    I hate the term 'political correctness' because most of the time it seems to be used by people wanting to be assholes and claiming some sort of oppression.
    That's one central thing I was trying to get at. Political Correctness is a term abused by rightists to no end. Sadly, they're not entirely wrong about that matter. There is a political correctness that ignores problems. Problems, sometimes unreal but sometimes real, felt by people but are only voiced by right-wing extremists.

    I am concerned about the people behind the stereotypes, the actual humans. And I believe we don't do them any favour by denying actual problems, instead insisting on that there were no problems. That's not true, and people feel that. I believe that to solve problems, you have to realise them. Not just claim they didn't exist. Which is what our politically correct politicians do.

    My concern is that a) there's no solving of actual problems and b) people are driven to racist wingnuts because everyone else claims there were no problems.
  • Armoured_Bear 8 Sep 2013 00:04:03 10,585 posts
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    It's political correctness gone mad I tell ye...

    XBL : ecosse011172
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  • Sid-Nice 8 Sep 2013 00:15:02 15,852 posts
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    It's a sad state of affair when all we have left is gingerism.

    NNID Sid-Nice

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