Political correctness

Discussion in 'Community' started by alex_ant, Aug 17, 2002.

  1. alex_ant macrumors 68020

    alex_ant

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    #1
    What do you think about it? You don't have to be P.C. in your answers. :)
     
  2. Ifeelbloated macrumors regular

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    #2
    It mucks up everything. I hate it. Keeps people standoffish.
     
  3. mcrain macrumors 68000

    mcrain

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    #3
    It is a necessary evil. I personally don't like it, but because there are so many idiots out there who don't think before opening their mouth (or just plain lack the brainpower to understand what they are saying), we have to have it.

    I mean, PC was designed to shut up people who didn't understand that derogatory descriptions are just that, derogatory.

    If people weren't so stupid and were nicer to each other, we wouldn't need PC.
     
  4. bigsteve3 macrumors member

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    #4
    I agree that to a certain extent P.C. is necessary. However, it lends itself to being abused by people that want to play the role of some sort of victim of discrimination. I mean, I personally am very offended that I am considered a MacRumors newbie (see profile). It unjustly implies that I lack experience or some sort of knowledge, and I consider it a derogatory term ;)
     
  5. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #5
    Nothing wrong with political correctness, and basically shaming people into altering their behavior.

    But when lawyers become involved, I think it's time to eliminate the victim and their lawyer from the equation. Because if someone is in a job an does not like their boss' speech pattern, switch/transfer jobs - you're likely not going to get the person to change.

    But when people suffer for 20 years without complaining then file a lawsuit for mental suffering - it's time to wonder.

    And in the real world, sometimes it's fun to torture the pc activists. :D
     
  6. alex_ant thread starter macrumors 68020

    alex_ant

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    #6
  7. macktheknife macrumors 6502a

    macktheknife

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    #7
    The concept of "political correctness" and the lawsuits you hear about in the media are two distinct subjects. As one post previously pointed out, P.C. is a form of discourse that sets a standard for "acceptable" words and phrases that avoid derogatory connotations that certain individuals might find offensive. The term "Orientals", once used to describe all East Asians, is now considered to be an offensive term due to the connotations the word contains. That is, the word "orient" basically means anything and anyone non-European. P.C. has more or less served its purpose (after all, no one can get away with the n-word anymore), and the appearance of *overt* racism or sexism in public discourse has mostly disappeared.

    Lawsuits, on the other hand, are a completely different type of animal. Americans are sick and tired of hearing so-and-so sue for this and that and wonder why everyone can't get along. Well, the truth is that laws by themselves are inert. That is, they don't work unless they are applied. America has so many lawsuits simply because it has a solid legal system that allows individuals or groups to address their grievances. Of course, one can argue that such a system has been abused (shareholder lawsuits come to mind), but the alternatives in other parts of the world are definitely less palatable. In other countries, an individual would have no recourse if his or her property or civil rights were violated.

    Just something to think about . . .
     
  8. AlphaTech macrumors 601

    AlphaTech

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    #8
    Being P.C. is an unnecessary evil, which I refuse to subscribe to. :p

    If you don't like my reply, TFB. :p
     
  9. alex_ant thread starter macrumors 68020

    alex_ant

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    #9

    Where should the line be drawn? I think most people will agree that racial slurs are bad, but should political correctness extend to every possible situation in which any conceivable group or individual feels oppressed?

    Is that the real reason, though? I've always attributed the massive U.S. legal system to opportunism and lack of personal responsibility. If you're "lucky" enough to trip on someone else's property, for example, you might as well have just won the lottery. Then again, you're probably right about there being less lawsuits in other parts of the world as a result of less opportunity for recourse. Perhaps there is no single cause of the large number of lawsuits in the U.S. Or perhaps it's only an illusion and there aren't that many semi-trivial lawsuits after all...

    Alex
     
  10. macktheknife macrumors 6502a

    macktheknife

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    #10
    The so-called frivolous "lawsuits" you hear on the news are mostly sensationalized stories designed to maximize attention and ratings. Few news clips actually explain why the lawsuits were filed in the first place, let alone how those lawsuits were eventually resolved.

    Take the infamous case of the lady who sued McDonald's for the hot coffee that burned her lap after she purchased it at a drive through. People screamed at how this was the "perfect" example of tort abuse. However, lawsuits involving complex legal issues are hardly ever black or white but shades of gray. The lady sued on the grounds that McDonald's used extremely hot and dangerous temperature to squeeze flavor out of every last coffee bean and was thus reckless. McDonald's countered that the lady was irresponsibly handling her coffee by placing it in her lap and contended that the temperature of its coffee was within legal limits. Both sides' arguments have merit, and both went to court as the arbiter of sorts for their grievances.

    The jury eventually awarded the lady somewhere in the $2 million dollar range--the one-day amount of profits generated by McDonald's coffee. The judge, however, eventually reduced the award to some $200k.

    In any case, both sides went to court after neither side was able to convince or coerce the other side. In other countries, the objections of the lady would have been ignored, or if the lady was a politically-connected individual, McDonald's would have been coerced to surrender more of its profits.

    That said, I *do* believe that lawsuits are being used by a number of lawyers as glorified and legal extortion. The example of the class-action lawsuit on the asbestos industry is an excellent example:

    http://www.fortune.com/indexw.jhtml?channel=artcol.jhtml&doc_id=206477
     
  11. Hemingray macrumors 68030

    Hemingray

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    #11
    AMEN! :D

    There's a big difference between a truly derogatory term, like a racial slur, and other terms like "handicapped" or "fat". The extent that they try to take it to is just ridiculous.

    Oh, and I'll always refer to "flight attendants" as stewards or stewardesses, whether they like it or not. And postman/postwoman, NOT "postal worker". And policeman/policewoman, NOT "police officer". That's the part of PC that I dislike the most: trying to combine male and female titles into one name. Like it's supposed to be "sexist" or something. :rolleyes: PCers would have a hay-day in countries speaking the romantic languages, where every noun is either masculine or feminine.
     
  12. alex_ant thread starter macrumors 68020

    alex_ant

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    #12
    And indeed they do. :D
     
  13. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

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    #13
    i think political correctness is okay, to a certain degree. If a group of people doesn't like a word used to describe them, they have the right not to be called that. They don't have the right to *change* that word every 10 minutes. My black friends don't buy into that "african-american" stuff, they're just black, which is OK with me-- but if they wanted to be called something else, why should it bother me? I'm a white (caucasion for those PCers) male, so I don't have a lot to say about the matter, but obviously i'm gay... i don't mind being called that, or hell even fag in a friendly meaning, but i don't like people (Westboro) chanting about the evil faggots... and to some gay people, ****** is equivilant to a particular "N" word with two g's in it... my personal opinion, is that if we ban the word, we give it power. that's why i accept the fact that black people can use the "n" word, but not white-- they've reclaimed it. i don't suppose that makes much sense, ah well. i don't see why people are so anti-PC, it's not like it means hours of work to accomplish, it just means you're willing to change with the times--

    :)
    pnw
     
  14. awrc macrumors regular

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    #14


    Except oriental technically describes anyone who lives in the east (vs occidental for the west). East or west of where isn't actually specified.

    Still, I agree that it's an inappropriate term to use since it lumps together a whole slew of different cultures as though there was no distinction between them, purely because they live in a particular geographical area.

    Sort of like the term "European", when you think about it :D

    The problem with banning terms that people find offensive is that you'll always be able to find some word that somebody finds offensive, and always have groups claiming that refusing them the right to use an offensive word is depriving them of some aspect of their proud historical heritage and/or ignoring the the suffering inherent in their proud historical heritage.

    It's everywhere, too. My ex-wife found the atmosphere in the UK very oppressive, where as the office American she was personally blamed for everything from McDonalds to the A-Bomb. I initially was sure she was over-reacting, but after a few weeks I started noticing it too, there was a definite anti-American streak in both the media and just in the general mindset of most people.

    Of course, once we moved to the US, and I found that there's similar US stereotypes both about the British and the Scottish, she insisted that I was imagining it, and completely refused to even consider the possibility that it was there. One of the reasons she's my ex-wife, I think :D

    However, as a Scot living in the US I routinely get subjected to the sorts of ludicrous stereotypes that nobody's allowed to subject more numerous minorities to anymore. Still, at least for *this* minority of one it's only words, and nobody's trying to dictate where I can/can't go, or hang me from trees.

    Besides, as a Scot who lived in Virginia long enough to pick up some of the local speech quirks, then moved to Wisconsin and have been here long enough to pick up some of the local speech quirks here, I'm not sure what I should consider myself. The accent's still primarily Scots (i.e. most people automatically assume I'm Irish) but the language is some sort of hybrid of Scots, Southerner and Mid-Western, which confuses the hell out of people.
     
  15. alex_ant thread starter macrumors 68020

    alex_ant

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    #15
    Does their right not to be called whatever word outweigh the right of the user of that word to use the word?
     
  16. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #16
    My mother was Japanese, my father was white--American, English, Australian--I don't know.

    When I left Japan, I was too white. We moved to San Jose, CA and things were fine. We even had a Japanese woman in my neighbourhood. We moved to Norfolk, VA which was also very integrated and it was fine.

    When we moved to Indiana, I learned words like enemy and murderer and got a daily beating after school. People were definitely not politically correct. In Richmond, if you were Italian, Hungarian, or German, you were normal.

    Anyway, if someone wants to call me Jap, it's not okay. I have the right, other Japanese have the right to use it, but it shouldn't be used full stop.

    My adoptive parents are white and my mum grew up with all the slurs that you might imagine from an area which originated the KKK. My aunt's husband said at her birthday "All blacks are handicapped" and I got up from the table upset and walked away. I can't teach him but I can avoid him. As people his age, 60ish, die off, things will get better and being P.C. will be less of a necessity simply because people will have more respect for each other.

    Each of us has unique and good qualities to be our best and make the world better. Okay, I'm done--please do not sing Kumbayah. :D
     
  17. alex_ant thread starter macrumors 68020

    alex_ant

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    #17
    Hello, fellow sort-of-Wisconsinite, :)

    What if lumping together a whole slew of different cultures is what the user of the word intends to do... Could "oriental" be used as a generic label for someone who is obviously from somewhere in the Far East, but where exactly is unknown? I understand that's what we have the word "Asian" for, but why is "oriental" a dirtier word, if all it means is "from the East?"

    Also on the subject of lumping cultures together - is that a bad thing, really? I mean, the nice thing about using geographic location as criteria for grouping is that it's absolute and hierarchial. I can refer to every single person on the continent of Africa with one word - African - whereas if I were using culture to define the group of all Africans, I would be surprised if I could fit it in under 1000 words. Actually, instead of using all those words, I would probably just find a word with a proper connotation... like... "African"... meant not in the geographic but the cultural sense. I think that's what throws me off - geographic adjectives used as cultural adjectives for lack of anything better to use. Then, when somebody refers to an African (geographic) outside the cultural norm of Africans (cultural) as African (geographic), the **** really hits the fan, because the African person sees the label as an affront to his/her culture.

    (Maybe this whole P.C. thing is rooted not so much in the way different groups behave towards each other, but in the way we use language.)

    Which is not to say that geography is the "superior" method of grouping; if I were dealing with cultures and not geographical location, I would want to use culture as my criteria. It's a lot easier to define a group of 100 Christians as "Christian" than defining each individual person in the group by their geographical origin.

    This is one of the big confusions of P.C. to me. Why are many blacks called African Americans when their great-grandparents or perhaps even more distant ancestors were the last of their lineage to set foot in Africa, whereas a resident of the U.S., born in Germany, whose parents hail from Russia, is called a German-American? I suppose it's a matter of different methods of grouping. There was this rally for slavery reparations on C-SPAN a few minutes ago which got me thinking about the subject, and I came to the rather quick conclusion that whether or not slavery reparations is a good idea probably hinges on what terms one uses to define the groups involved. Those who use only the groups "white race" and "black race" will likely come out in favor of reparations, whereas those who add a temporal dimension to these like "current white race," "past white race," "current black race," "past black race" will likely have a harder time deciding whether reparations are a good idea.

    I am thoroughly disappointed by the dearth of flaming so far in this thread - could we have some uncivilized discussion, please?

    Alex
     
  18. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #18
    Political correctness is a bunch bullsh*t brought on by
    over-sensitive whinners. Instead of the small percentage of whinners getting a thicker skin (up to a normal level) society has forced *everyone* to dumb down and cater to the lowest common denominator. Instead of encouraging everyone to do there best, and achieve great things. We are telling people to be average because not everyone can be great (and we don't wanna hurt anyone's feelings...) WTF? Case in point, (and I'll dig up the link if asked), a grade school in Santa Monica CA (gotta love SoCal) banned the game of tag because someone has to be "it." And since the slower kids will usually be "it" they might develop self esteem issues. :rolleyes:

    Calling some one a ******, kike, spic, wetback, jap, stupid slut etc.,. goes beyond "not PC" it is racist and/or sexist (depending on the terms used and who they are directed at). There is a difference between political correctness and racism/sexism.

    And I'm not even gonna touch the lack of personal acountability that is shooting thru this country like a disease (that's a whole other rant).

    Lethal
     
  19. macktheknife macrumors 6502a

    macktheknife

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    #19
    The reason why the word "Oriental" is considered an anathema by some (but not me) is that it is a term coined by Europeans who wanted to lump every non-westerner into a group. It also a bit connotative since it was frequently used in the old days of European imperialism to describe the colonized. Just as the n-word could, technically speaking, refer to an African-American, it is an emotionally charged word. Granted, "Oriental" is definitely not on the same level as the n-word, but some people take offense nonetheless.

    You won't get any uncivilized rantings here. I actually enjoy a calm and reasoned debate, but that just my preference. :p
     
  20. macsurfer macrumors regular

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    #20
    Political Correctness NEEDS TO DIE!!!!!

    Like those STUPID F*CKING Asian students at Stanford University had nothing better to do with their time but to protest Abercrombie and Fitch T-Shirts like the one that had the Chinese Laundry on it; the one that said "Wong Brothers Laundry: Two Wongs will make it white" LOL I thought that was HILARIOUS, because it IS F*CKING HILARIOUS. OH, and by the way, I AM 25% CHINESE, MY MOTHER IS 50%, MY GRANDMOTHER IS 100%. BUT NOOOO, some stupid Asian Student group at Stanford gets all offended and protests and AF gives in and PULLS THE T-SHIRTS. You know, in Hawaii (where I was born and grew up, but no longer live, though my mothers family is still there) people would LAUGH THEIR ASSES off at that shirt and no one would care. In Hawaii everybody makes fun of everyone else and everyone laughs, but in California, the over sensitive Asian Student Group goes f*cking bananas. What studpid idiots.
     
  21. awrc macrumors regular

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    #21
    Negative connotations - wily orientals, terms like DWO and so forth.

    Actually, DWO doesn't get used up here in Wisconsin, probably due to the very different ethnic mix. I heard it used a lot in Virginia though - the combination of a lot of recent immigration from various Asian countries to the region and Virginia's incredibly easy-to-pass driving test (it's where I got my license, after all) resulted in the situation where there was an, uh, disproportionate number of people who were a) extremely inexperienced drivers and b) Asian. This gave rise to the term Driving While Oriental which was, most definitely meant in a negative way.

    The Wisconsin variation is FIB, I guess, and since it's not race-specific but state-specific, I guess it's not considered as offensive.

    Oh, and finally with the whole oriental/occidental thing, there's the issue of who the people are who're deciding where the line that marks the start of the orient is. It usually isn't the people who live there.

    Relative to my current physical location and the original meaning of oriental, someone living in Virginia is oriental. Although I'm technically occidental to the Virginian, I'm much more likely to be stereotyped as someone who wears a Green Bay Packers sweatshirt and cheesehead, is 50lbs overweight, and lives in flyover country.

    Only the 50lbs bit is accurate.

    It can be, depending on context. "Asian" as a geographical term is pretty accurate - it's pretty clearly marked out on the globe. As a cultural term, though? Take two random Asian cultures - Korea and Japan. There's a lot of people in both countries who wouldn't like being lumped together with the other. We're not just talking war atrocities either, we're talking very different cultures.

    On a slightly smaller but equally virulent scale, go into a pub in Edinburgh and start referring to the clientele as English. Later, when you've been released from hospital, you'll make a mental note on the distinction between the two :D

    It's a mix of stuff - pride in heritage, the matter of whether their ancestors came over here by choice or not, whether other names for the group have been used in a negative way in the past.

    I'm happy to call people whatever they want to be called. The problem is that you're guaranteed to eventually find someone who finds whatever term you're using offensive. African-American is a safe term most of the time. It's not over-PC (like "people of color", which I can't stand, it implies that I'm transparent or something) but doesn't really have negative connotations.

    Of course, you can overuse the term - some people use African-American to refer to anyone of African ancestry. I've heard people refer to the African-American community in the UK, which really makes very little sense unless applied specifically to a subset of US airmen stationed in the UK. Standard UK term used to be Afro-Caribbean, which wasn't very nice - most of the black population of the UK were immigrants from the Caribbean, and their ancestors were in turn slaves from Africa, but leaving out the country they were actually born in/living in was pretty bad. Not sure what the current favored term is, maybe one of our UK posters knows.

    I knew two black people when I was growing up in Scotland. Both were Scottish, no other label. Both had parents who were immigrants, from Kenya and Nigeria respectively, but they considered themselves Scottish, so everyone else did too (well, apart from the usual pond scum you'll apparently find everywhere...)

    I know at least one of them got great pleasure in freaking people out completely with his accent when he visited the US.

    Oh, and on a related-ish note, when people ask about my accent and hear I'm Scottish they're all "hey, I'm Scottish too!". Then they tell you that their great-great-great-grandmother was a McDonald. You have to humor them, since they're only trying to be friendly, but when you know for a fact that all of your ancestors bar one as far back as the records go were peasants who lived within a ten mile radius of a small town outside Edinburgh, you tend to be aware of the difference in degree of Scottishness.

    Ironically, the one ancestor who wasn't a Scottish peasant was about five generations back and moved to Scotland from the US. Does that make me American?

    Maybe we need to deal with some of the more extreme cases of PC? The race issue is pretty dead - even amongst those who're strongly anti-PC you'll generally find the old, offensive racial terms are in rapid retreat.

    Maybe we need to concentrate on sex or disability-related PC? Or maybe those bizarre forms of political correctness that arise where the "oppressed" don't actually give a damn and the only people going around inventing new terms are those who're basically "professional PC activists".

    How about negative geek stereotypes? I'm reading the "Foundation Actionscripting For Flash MX" book right now, which appears to be primarily targetted at those coming from a graphic arts background who want to learn Actionscript. Plenty of little anti-programmer jibes about poor hygiene, never seeing daylight and Star Trek being thrown around in that book. Help, help, I'm being oppressed! I'd complain except there's Star Trek on right now and it might involve having to go outside to post a letter.

    They could have at least thrown in some graphic arts stereotypes about wearing black turtlenecks (and black everything, for that matter) and those rectangular glasses with the thick rims to even it out a bit :D

    Actually, I'm surprised a thread on the subject of PC has lasted so long on MacRumors without someone making a bad Bill Gates joke.
     
  22. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #22
    Well, then there's also how Chinese call Japanese Orientals. You would never want to call Chinese that because they will take offence.
     
  23. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

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    #23
    Well for the most part, I think two conditions have to be met; first the word has to have some negative connotations in it's origin, and second it has to be used as a slur, at least part of the time. Part of the fun thing about a civilized world is that the rights of the few are as important as the rights of the many. After all, the few, when added with other groups of few, eventually outnumber the "many"... case in point, try telling a white male that they are the *minority* worldwide.

    :)
    pnw
     
  24. vniow macrumors G4

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    #24
    I think PC started off as guilt. It started to surface after all the women's and civil rights acts that were happening in the 60's and 70's, and was a guilty backlash to all that. It started out sorta good, but lately it's gotten way out of hand and here in America it's either you do or you don't, so I can see it getting so overdone and bloated that we eventually drop it altogether, but I don't see a reduced version which would be preferable, but not perfect. I mean, those words and phrases that aren't PC only have power if you give it too them. A real solution would be to somehow take those words and phrases and strip the power away, but I don't see this happening anytime soon either.


    What is forgiveness?
    Just a dream
    What is forgiveness?
    It's just a dream
    What is forgiveness?
    It's everything
     
  25. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #25
    Where does p.c. leave us ...

    mental -> emotionally challenged
    blind -> visually challenged
    handicapped -> physically challenged
    fat -> calorically challenged
    poor -> fiscally challenged
    race -> racially challenged
    gay -> sexually challenged
     

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