Opinion

Political incorrectness is a burden on us all

Throughout my (very) brief history of writing columns, I’ve managed to strike a nerve with many conservative readers, which probably means that I’m doing my job well. However, I do have a gripe against my fellow liberals, and it comes in the form of “political correctness,” which is fellow liberal-speak for “social spinelessness.” Guys, we really need to tone down the whole PC-ness, because it’s really hurting us and for good reasons.

I can definitely understand instances when political correctness can, and should, be used-considering our record of treating minorities, I can see the usefulness that comes from the application of certain politically correct terms to certain demographic groups (“African-American,” “physically disabled,” “underprivileged,” and others come to mind). However, when we start calling garbage collectors “sanitation engineers,” it raises an eyebrow. And when Tecate (a Mexican beer brand) starts pitching its beer as “finally, an ice-cold Latina,” and Hispanic groups scream bloody murder, then it’s downright ridiculous.

And before all the politically correct crusaders start jumping on me, let it be known to them that I’m half-Mexican, and spent half of my life south of the border. Nice way to defuse the quandary I would have found myself in if I weren’t Hispanic, isn’t it? This is another reason I can’t stand political correctness: There’s a massive double standard to how it’s applied. Haven’t you noticed how it’s perfectly acceptable to privately insult and denigrate other demographics, but when your own comes under attack in such subtle ways such as a Taco Bell commercial, it’s suddenly a big deal worthy of national media attention?

That’s another problem I have with this whole deal: There are people starving in Africa and Asia, and yet we pay so much attention to whether or not the Taco Bell chihuahua is sensitive enough to Hispanic interests…am I the only one who sees something wrong with this? We’ve got food and shelter, for crying out loud-why are we worrying about how another group of people perceives us?

Let me guess-it’s because it’ll “harm the image of in this country?” Please! Considering our media-induced culture, with pre-programmed violence, indifference and prejudice so prevalent, do you really think a TV ad or show will make that much of a difference? No! The only way we’ll ever resolve the problem of racial and ethnic polarization in the U.S. is through honest, open dialogue. Why do you think TV shows like South Park and Family Guy are so popular? Not just because they’re funny, but also because they trespass the barriers posed by political correctness, and they tell us what we all think and want to say, but don’t have the guts to express for fear of crucifixion by the politically-correct crusaders. America, why do you think Peter Griffin and Eric Cartman are the most politically incorrect cartoon characters in television, and at the same time, the funniest and some of the most well liked in this country and abroad? By coincidence? No. The way I see it, political correctness is a big joke, without the comedy. The liberal school of thought (and the world in general) could, and should, do without it.

Jay Rooney can be contacted at j.rooney@umiami.edu.

February 8, 2005

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