How Political Correctness Fucked Us in the Ass
So, back in the day (2009) I remember reading an Ok Cupid blog post about how people were racist when it came to online dating. Perhaps no big surprises there. However, when they re-evaluated the data in 2014, they they found that fewer people in 2014 directly admitted to having racial preferences, but when it came to their messaging history, people’s behaviors in 2014 were just as racist (or even a little worse) than they were in 2009. Effectively, fewer people now claim to be racist, but the same number actually are.
That feels very “state of America in 2016” to me.
There has obviously been a big shift in the way people are talking about race, but something about the way we engage with race still feels shallow. White friends of mine will mindlessly pass on facebook articles about racism without engaging with them on an intellectual level.
If you disagree with any points the articles make, you get shot down quickly. Idea diversity: not tolerated. For instance, I once argued on facebook that Mia McKenzie (of Black Girl Dangerous) had no right to set identity politics for “white passing” mixed race people since she was not a member of that group. (McKenzie argued, in a post on allyship, that white passing mixed race people shouldn’t identify as people of color — now that point is hidden behind a paywall for her book.) Anyway, I got destroyed on facebook by another white woman.
Said white woman claimed that, because I was a member of the oppressive racist overclass, any disagreement I had with McKenzie was inherently racist and I was silencing justice with my disagreement. My role, as a “white ally” was to “shut up and listen.” I did the apology thing (because, that’s really all you can do when you’re accused of racism) and went away secretly hating that woman. I didn’t understand the complexity of the situation, or why McKenzie might be protective about who identifies as a person of color, until months later.
The key piece of information I didn’t have when I made that comment was how unsafe it feels for people of color when white people enter spaces designated for them. A friend told me about taking a class on race issues that was designated POC only, but had one white passing woman in it who regularly disagreed with the rest of the class. There were some things they couldn’t talk openly about because of her presence, and she felt this had really hampered the discussion in the class.
Anyhow, now I see a more complex situation. I’m not sure my original point was wrong, but I’m not sure it’s right anymore either. Probably it would be good for mixed race people to connect with each other and work with this complexity but I’m pretty unambiguously white myself, so I’ll leave it at that.
However, the role political correctness played in this situation was to shut down the conversation and shut down learning. By shaming me for doing the “wrong” thing, I wasn’t able to understand the lived experience of people of color, and I didn’t gain any empathy for anyone. I just hollowly conformed to the “correct” behavior without understanding, and secretly continued holding my original beliefs that I did not voice. This is very bad. The root of racism in America, on an emotional level, comes from white people having less empathy for people of color than they do for other white people. Any form of behavior control that does not fix this root problem will fail, as we are seeing now. Why hello, President Trump.
It is also notable that the woman who PC-shamed me was another white woman. I have noticed that my friends who are people of color will tend to go less hard on me for my racist slip ups than other white people will. This, I think, is because a) they’re more used to casual racism and b) they’re genuinely want to maintain a connection with me and change my viewpoint. White people, on the other hand, often seem to have agendas other than genuine racial justice.
Liberal whites act like political correctness is a game you can win. Each thinkpiece you can mindlessly paraphrase will earn you 1 point, but if you can call someone out hard you get 5 points, and a solid 10 points if you shame them into apologizing publicly. Once you’ve gotten someone to apologize, you’ve basically won the conversation and can go home and enjoy a victory persimmon.
More concerning than simple grabs at social status is that enterprising people have started using political correctness as a vehicle to further their own means (frequently capitalism.) The most obvious place you see this is in advertisement. San Francisco gay pride has become, essentially, a corporate event pushing out the very community that created it. Few people offered support to the gays when AIDS happened and more than 14,000 San Franciscans died in the first 15 years of the epidemic. But — now that it’s politically correct and trendy, we get shit like this:
That solidarity could have done a lot of people a lot of good during the Regan administration, but it was scary and risky to provide solidarity back then. So, people didn’t. Now, however, these motherfuckers are acting like they’re on the right side of history 10 years too late. And it’s pretty obvious what their real angle is — $$$.
Advertisement, annoying though it is, has a fairly transparent end game. Many people espousing political correctness are actually attempting something far more subtle; a larger exportation of liberal culture. And, conservatives know this, which is why they’re resisting.
Gay culture in San Francisco was, to some degree, born out of the hippie free love movement. This is because the hippies, unlike many conservative people in the 1960s, were experimenting with new relationship structures. Many partners? Communes? Sure, why not! Want to be gay? Ok! Come on in! And, before the internet, gay people had to congregate in areas with large numbers other gay people to find partners — so, the ideals of free love and the ideals of gay liberation mixed in this environment.
One thing free love promoted was sex with many different partners and — to this day — San Franciscans have more sex partners than people in any other American city. Gay liberation became tied to promiscuity culture (with institutions like bathhouses) partly due to the ideals of the city at the time. Additionally, California in general has a massive pornographic culture. San Francisco is a fairly porn friendly, especially for kink and BDSM, but not as much as LA. San Fernando Valley is called “the porn capitol of the world” — presumably because the Californian ideals of free love combined with the LA film industry was a perfect environment for porn.
And… not all of this is good. As capitalism reaches its greedy little hands into the remnants of the hippie movement, sex has become commercialized. Bodies have become objectified. Romanticism, and the desire for love, seems almost quaint and old fashioned. And we have lost, completely lost, the idea of romantic union as spiritual union, and I think that conservatives desperately don’t want to lose that. And, I agree with them frankly. We have cheapened our sexuality to sell cheeseburgers, and it’s sad.
I have a suspicion that, often, when people resist gay marriage they’re also trying to resist this commercialization and pornographication. They see that gay culture is often wrapped up with other cultures that they don’t want, and they reject the whole thing. But, liberals will argue gay marriage should be a human right, and maybe it should be, but a lot of these liberals (especially the straight ones) also have a secondary agenda of wanting to change the sexual culture of these conservative places so they can start selling strap ons in Utah. They want to get half naked women up on billboards and pride whoppers in the hands of teenagers.
Deep in the heart of the of the politically correct liberal culture is capitalism, and the liberals are attempting to culturally homogenize the US so they can expand their markets. And, they’re doing it under the loftiest goals of “equal rights” which shames people who oppose it, and that’s why they’re doing it. They’ve packaged their selfish agenda as something noble, something that only a basket of deplorables could possibly be against. But these liberals don’t really give a shit about actual equality. If they did, they wouldn’t have continued building systems that massively benefit white men.
And a bunch of America is saying, well, if I have to be a bigot to defend my way of life I guess I’ll be a fucking bigot. I’m not saying it’s right; I’m saying that’s the trade off they made. Now that they’re off leash, no amount of “that’s a terrible thing to say!” will reign them in because they will see it as part of the PC agenda that was trying to destroy their way of life. But, the liberal capitalist machine holds much of the blame because they forced that trade off. They did not export the ideals of equality in a way that was likely to succeed; they exported the ideals of equality in a way they thought would make them money. Now the backlash is many people rejecting the ideals of equality because they feel bamboozled. And that sucks.
The conservatives saw through the liberal capitalism; we didn’t. We still don’t. And, while I don’t agree with the way most of America chose to protest PC thought control culture, I agree that they should have protest it. I think one of the goals of the liberal capitalist agenda is to wipe out cultural diversity with coast to coast franchises.
And you know what? If the liberal capitalists succeed, no matter what a good game they talk and how perfectly they spout all the PC lines, we’ll still be stuck with all white men at the top.