Political Correctness - by Helen Alvarado

posted Jan 31, 2011, 2:06 PM by Tip Top   [ updated Feb 1, 2011, 8:42 AM ]

What is Political Correctness?

A few months ago, Political Correctness, or PC, was still a new social and cultural term for me.  One time I was searching for humorous stories on Amazon.com, a book called “Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: Modern Tales for Our Life & Times” showed up on the results list.  It was written by James Garner in 1994 when PC was a big controversial topic.  That is how I started learning about PC. 

At first I thought PC was kind of interesting.  Because it is about language; about the words you use.  As an immigrant, I should pay attention to what I say.  When I mentioned PC to my husband, he complained, "I tried so hard for so many years to become an engineer, but I have to call the person picking up trash a sanitation engineer?"  I responded, "Well, you don't lose anything by calling him an engineer and he probably feels good about it, so why not?" 

Then something happened to a friend of my husband.  My husband’s friend applied for a new position, but he lost to the woman competitor applying for the same position.  It was not because of his experience and ability, but because the company has a positive discrimination policy.  From there learned positive discrimination and know that positive discrimination and affirmative actions are only two forms of PC.  I started getting serious about PC.  Let’s think about some questions.

Do women in their early years have equal education opportunities?  YES!  Are women disadvantaged than men in merit and ability?  No!  Then why do we need positive discrimination?  This is double standards.  This is demanding equal results, but not equal rights!   This reminds me before in China, the government took away the properties from the rich, or so called bourgeoisie.  Similarly, here they take away quotas for admissions from white students to certain minority groups.  They take away promotion opportunities in a company from white males to women.  They take away contracts from white owned companies to a company owned by minorities.

Here is another example.  Don’t make me wrong.  I like Toastmasters.  For that, I have to be honest to our Toastmasters.  It is the worst cover design I have ever seen.  Randomly put 4 portraits together.  It doesn't reflect public speaking; nor teamwork and leadership.  But obviously it is politically correct because it is showing diversity.  However, can this cover please everybody?  No, at least it doesn’t include a native American.  Does this reduce discrimination?  No, I don’t think so.  This reminds me of Chairman Mao's era in China, in your paintings,  you'd better include a Chair Mao's portrait to show respect, otherwise you would be in trouble.

The language policing, the affirmative actions, the photos showing diversity...all these different styles of PC  seemed be to from the best intentions - to eliminate discrimination.  Is discrimination still a big issue today in the states?  Back then, this school was for whites and that was for Hispanics; this restroom is for whites and that one was for blacks.  That was real discrimination and that was shameful and we should never forget.  Now days, the laws and regulations are not discriminatory any more.  Now days the discrimination is only viewpoint based.  However, people are emotional, people have preferences, and people are biased.  I don’t think we can ever get rid of viewpoint based discriminations.  If there is real discrimination, I want to say that we still discriminate animals.  You can see many signs saying no pets or no dogs even in parks or recreation areas.

In summary, those politically correct policies and laws not only would fail to eliminate discrimination, but also take away our fundamental rights - the right to be treated equal, the right to  speak freely and express ourselves.  Remember I mentioned China?  Actually, the similarities are not accidental.  Many academics, like William Lind, concluded that PC in its nature is a heritage of communism.  It is a self-appointed group of vigilantes imposing their views on others.  It is the disease of ideology. 

Unfortunately, what I see is this disease is spreading.  In the end, I have two controversial questions for you:

1. hate crime: If an act is violent, it is illegal and it deserves punishment.  Do you think it is right to add additional punishment for a person just because he/she holds beliefs the government, or the majority of people do not believe?

2.minimum wage:  The intention is to protect the low-income workers, but it could destroy entry-level jobs.   Does it do more good or more harm?


Helen Alvarado

Tip Top Toastmasters

Oct. 2010

Tip Top,
Jan 31, 2011, 2:09 PM