On Political Correctness - A Rambling Thought

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YippySkippy
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13 Nov 2013, 11:59 am

I saw a news article today about a sixth-grade girl who died of cancer. The next day, some of her classmates wore t-shirts to school that were decorated with her name, glitter, etc. These t-shirts did not violate the school's dress code, but the students were nonetheless asked to cover the deceased girl's name with duct tape, turn the shirts inside out, or go home and change. When the irate parents questioned why this was done, the school quoted rules against "permanent memorials" and glorifying suicide. The reason for those rules, the school said, was to keep students from fixating on death and possible committing suicide.
Clearly, the school's rules didn't apply in this situation, but they tried to MAKE them apply. Why? Because they had done something wrong; their actions had increased the grief of their students, incurred the wrath of the community, and offended the deceased girl's family. So why did they make such a bad decision in the first place?
I think the school administrators were uncomfortable themselves with the idea of death. They wanted to "sanitize" the school by keeping reminders of death out of the building. It was entirely selfish on their part, as I'm sure the students would have been thinking about their classmate regardless of whether some students wore t-shirts with her name on them. They were insensitive as well, giving no consideration to how their impromptu decision would affect others. So, selfishness and insensitivity disguised as well-meaning rule-following.
It seems to me that this is often the case with political correctness. That is, political correctness does not really have it's own set of morals or ethics. Rather, it is a tactic that can be used to justify ANY position or course of action. A person using this tactic will explain why their position is beneficial to everyone and is fair and impartial, even though it may not actually be any of those things. To be against their position, the person argues, is to be ignorant, backwards, or even hateful.
Political correctness is being used today in the same way that the Bible was used in America more than a century ago. Abolitionists and proponents of slavery alike both quoted the Bible as a means of justifying their positions. That is to say, they used religion to justify whatever ideas they already supported, rather than looking to the Bible to form their positions. The same, I think, is true of political correctness. No one forms their views of the world based on what is politically correct. Rather, they form their opinions and then construct politically correct arguments to support them.
What do you think?



Moviefan2k4
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13 Nov 2013, 3:28 pm

I think you pretty much hit the nail on the head. The underlying message of the PC mindset is "never, ever do anything to suggest that one thing is inherently better than the other". Evan Sayet wrote a book called "Kindergarten of Eden", to show that "modern liberalism" requires people to never accept any ideological diversity. Here's a short interview he did about it.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Um-YCGMM9U[/youtube]


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The_Walrus
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14 Nov 2013, 8:04 am

Political correctness is:
the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.

Pardon my ignorance, but I don't see how avoiding mistreating the disadvantaged could be used to justify, for example, segregation, or removing access to birth control, or stopping children wearing their dead friend's name.

It seems like a very clear moral system. Yes, there are going to be grey areas. Yes, people are going to misuse it. But that is the case with any moral system. Deontological systems fail when a situation without a rule is encountered, or their rules are shown to be stupid. Teleological and virtue based systems require an element of grey where using your judgement is important.

(I am amused by Moviefan "agreeing" that political correctness is arbitary and then stating the complete opposite)



naturalplastic
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14 Nov 2013, 8:18 am

I agree that the school distorted and miss applied its own rule.

But what did that rule (in either its true,or in its distorted form) have to do with 'political correctness'?



YippySkippy
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14 Nov 2013, 10:17 am

Quote:
Pardon my ignorance, but I don't see how avoiding mistreating the disadvantaged could be used to justify, for example, segregation, or removing access to birth control, or stopping children wearing their dead friend's name.


Segregation - In recent years, black-only schools have sprung up once again. This time, they are being marketed as beneficial to black students. They allow students thrive in an environment free of racism. All student leadership positions are held by black students (since there aren't any other students). There is more concentration on African and African-American history. The students feel more comfortable at school, and thus are better able to concentrate. These are the politically-correct arguments for segregation.

Removing access to birth control - I don't know of any groups (other than fringe minorities) that are attempting to prevent access to birth control by adult men and women in America. In schools, political correct arguments are used as justification for refusing to provide condoms to students. If condoms are available, students will be more likely to have sex, the argument goes. Access to birth control promotes promiscuity and erodes students' morals, they say. Administrators claim to be protecting girls/women, but are actually refusing to help them protect themselves. They are not actually interested in protecting anyone, but in imposing their version of morality on others.



naturalplastic
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14 Nov 2013, 11:16 am

"The Devil can cite scripture" as Mark Twain said.

Any creed, or concept, can be twisted to any end.

Nothing new about that.



The_Walrus
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14 Nov 2013, 2:06 pm

YippySkippy wrote:
In schools, political correct arguments are used as justification for refusing to provide condoms to students. If condoms are available, students will be more likely to have sex, the argument goes. Access to birth control promotes promiscuity and erodes students' morals, they say.

I'll give you segregation, but this has no basis in political correctness. It does not prevent the exclusion or marginalisation of groups which suffer discrimination. It seems closer to virtue ethics.