bugboy’s comment (see previous post):
If similar generalizations were made about another race here it would be considered a racist site. Imagine “Stuff Black People Like”, followed by a bunch of idiotic plaitudes and the like. Cool?
that’s true, bugboy. and yes, i think there’s so many things that are messed up in our culture. me personally, i think there’s a happy medium in being politically correct. It can actually be progressive in some senses but so many things are taken too far.
“PC” in Race
Like bugboy said and Mel later commented, something is deemed “acceptable” or not, depending on what race was saying the jokes. Many blacks use “the n word” amongst themselves, but for a non-black to mention it? Taboo. Any argument I’ve heard defending this nonsense comes up short for me. if it’s offensive for one to say it, how is it not for another?. There’s a lack of consistency here. And no white man alive today had anything to do with slavery from a few generations ago. I quote from this blog:
You have no right to be proud, unless you did it yourself. That goes for anything from racial pride to patriotism. Your race, gender and nationality are fucking accidents of birth. Being proud of something you got stuck with when mamma squeezed you out is stupid. You have a right to be proud of your own personal accomplishments, and perhaps those of your children (if you were actually a good parent, and your kids didn’t succeed by sheer bloody-mindedness alone). That’s it. Your parents fucked, Mom got knocked up, and ~9 months later, there you were. Race, gender and nationality handed to you out of some cosmic lottery machine. Fuck your white pride, black pride, national pride, and all the horseshit that goes along with it.
…and what about someone who’s half-black? Can they use the word? How about a quarter? Where is the line drawn? Is it decided simply by the hue of the speaker’s skin? If so that’s bullshit. It’s offensive to many, and that’s why I won’t use the word, but that’s the same reason I won’t swear around older people or swear really loud in public (this is where I disagree with Penn and Teller)- simply because it’s offensive to some people and I like people and want the best for them (golden rule, anyone)? By the way, another discussion on this topic can be found here: http://skepchick.org/blog/?p=1157
to better express/exhibit this strange cultural thing we have about the N word, is a white comedian (or “white bread”), talking about “the N word”, and the caucasion’s own “C word” (see video below, starting at 4:27):
i actually like stereo-typical humor (like Dave Chapell’s material) and non politically correct humor (like Southpark’s “Timmy” and “Jimmy” caracters). i don’t use the term “african-american” because all of my black friends would find that odd. if i knew of someone who preferred to be called “african-american” than i would oblige, obviously. the funny thing is, all americans are “african-americans” in the scientific sense.
I have close friends from all the colors of the rainbow, and ends of the earth so when i laugh at a race joke or a stereotype joke, it’s not like i am some hillbilly in the south who really sees myself as better then others (see the stereotyping again).
i once did see myself as being a little better than others, at a time when i accepted the old outdated/updated mormon doctrine of blacks and the priesthood. blacks were “fence-sitters in the pre-existence” (not hot, not cold) and whites were the more valient. by accepting that doctrine, like it or not you’re a wee bit rascist. evolution and science shows that all races are basically the same, though.
playing Halo online you get so many ignorant hateful and rascist people playing it’s crazy. it’s one thing to joke with your friend about his culture/race knowing them, but it’s another when you’re doing it to a stranger you don’t know without doing it a playful way. one time on Halo there was a guy, with a thick southern accent (again, not that that means anything, i’m just saying…), and he was telling off a guy with a mexican gamertag- how he shouldn’t be in our country, how “you and your bean family need to take your whole burrito back home”, how they’re stupid, how this and that. i ended up defending the mexican and clowning on the hillbilly for 15 straight minutes of game time. the mexican was thankful and disappointed, as well. he said it’s a common thing online for that to happen. he told the hillbilly that he actually didn’t even live in the U.S., but was playing online from Mexico. the hillbilly replied, “well you’re the good kind of mexican, then.”
“PC” in Sexism and Language
Taking “man” out of the English language and putting in “person” doesn’t do much for society, i think. i think that those who take offense are those who are looking into “a word” too much. i may be wrong but that’s how i see things now.
so i think that there is a happy medium to being “PC”. i’ve heard a discussion on the Skeptic’s Guide expressing the same sentiment- that many are taking things too far: (what difference does it make to call humanity “mankind” or something else; salesman/salesperson, actors are all actors now, no “actresses”). i admit, though that i tend to say “salesperson” now and anything else that sounds logically more correct but some things don’t really need to change. we’re speaking a very old language and there are probably a lot of words that if we looked into them enough we’d find reason to want to cause an uproar and have them changed as well.
i don’t know though. xJane could probably set me str8 😉
but that’s just language. a word is just a word- consanantes and sounds, so i don’t see anything wrong with profanity (see Penn & Teller on Profanity, part one below)
(Also great is this video by Steven Pinker, author of the Stuff of thought- an example is given in this video where the power of words is actually enormous though at times!)
“PC”: South Park and the Disabled
Sometimes I squirm a little at the South Park’s humor towards the disabled and handicapped. Take Timmy and Jimmy for example. My last point about the whole PC thing though is about the disabled. Or as the media sometimes would have it: “those whom we don’t speak of” (how many leading roles by disabled have you seen since Mask?) Many may think that SP goes too far here- and they’re definitely not being PC. But I think that their non-PC’ness is actually very progressive here. To make my point here I will tell a story.
Last December I went to Hawaii with the whole family- including my parents. My parents paid for the airfare and condo for all of us, so we looked for ways to save money while on the trip. We didn’t rent a car, so we used the local bus system (which is very good on Oahu). As anyone who has used public transportation in the past will tell you, many disabled people ride the bus. One night we were heading back to our condo, riding the bus. As the driver progressed through her route in the city, more and more people got on. Eventually, my father and I gave up our seats for elderly people and stood up holding onto the leather straps above our heads. At another stop, a woman with her daughter got on. A special machine on the side of the bus was needed to help her daughter get on- she was paraplegic and in a wheelchair.
It was obvious that the young woman had almost no use of her body from the neck down. Her speech was severely impaired as well. She could hardly manage the wheelchair’s electronic driving system with her crooked arms and fingers. Many on the bus, including me, took a quick glance at her and then immediately looked down or out the window. Personally, I felt uncomfortable and sorry for her and her mother. As the mother strapped her daughter’s wheelchair securely to the handicap space inside the bus, everyone kept to themselves as it’s not customary to strike up a conversation with the disabled (those whom we don’t speak of, or to).
One man, however, started complimenting the daughter on her wheelchair. “Wow, fancy ride! i bet you can go really fast in that! do you ever race it around your house?”
I instantly felt horrible. I was embarrassed. “Dad, what are you doing,” i thought to myself. “What is her mother going to say? She’s going to be livid!”.
I felt like they would feel offended for sure. The daughter, it turns out, couldn’t talk. But she started to giggle and laugh. the mother got into it too and started saying to her daughter “yeah you’ve got the coolest wheels around, huh! nobody can beat you in a race”. i quickly learned that this was unusual for the two. normally they were not a part of the conversation or “a part of the group”. but now they felt included!
the daughter continued to smile really big and laughed and laughed. other people around us started to smile and laugh as well. my father used to be a psychologist at the local state mental institute, and that night he helped a lot of us to see this daughter as just another person riding the bus. you could see how proud and happy her mother was in her face.
i think that south park does the same thing: nothing is too sacred to criticize, and nobody is so different that they can’t be a part of our culture that loves to laugh at each other so much. this inclusiveness- even in joking and making fun, to me is progress.