# Has society become too politically correct?

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Zantra
Nowadays everything has to be PC. You're not retarded, you're "mentally impaired". You're not black, you're "african american". You're not fat, you're "Metabollically challenged". I recall a lawsuit where a black(yes I'm not being PC) woman sued an airline because a stewardess was telling everyone to sit down, and innocently recited an old children's rhyme- Ennie Meenie, miny, mo. Suing based on it's roots, which originally involved the use of the "N" word. Then there's affirmative action. Now suddenly it doesn't matter if you have the grades, determination, and dedication to education. Now race becomes a factor, which to me is simply a way of masking reverse racism.

So have we become so overly concerned with equality that we've crossed the line? Have we become so intent on giving everyone equal opportunity that our overzealous approach as resulting in simply tippng the scales the other way instead of balancing them out? Comments please.

Originally posted by Zantra
Nowadays everything has to be PC. You're not retarded, you're "mentally impaired". You're not black, you're "african american". You're not fat, you're "Metabollically challenged". I recall a lawsuit where a black(yes I'm not being PC) woman sued an airline because a stewardess was telling everyone to sit down, and innocently recited an old children's rhyme- Ennie Meenie, miny, mo. Suing based on it's roots, which originally involved the use of the "N" word. Then there's affirmative action. Now suddenly it doesn't matter if you have the grades, determination, and dedication to education. Now race becomes a factor, which to me is simply a way of masking reverse racism.

So have we become so overly concerned with equality that we've crossed the line? Have we become so intent on giving everyone equal opportunity that our overzealous approach as resulting in simply tippng the scales the other way instead of balancing them out? Comments please.
I think that most people who complain about so-called political correctness are racist or sexist. There is a need in this country to be inclusive, and the absurd abuses of the idea do not invalidate the idea. Being anti-PC allows you to tell huge lies, as far as I can see. For instance, to my knowledge, no white student with a 4.0 GPA has been refused a college education so that a minority student with a 1.0 GPA can get in, but this is how the anti-PC crowd paints the situation.

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Jonathan
Yes, PC has gone too far, but it's not as bad as you're always hearing. This is really a result of human nature though, when we try and cause a change in society, if it happens it will overshoot the equilibrium and go the other way, so let's hope it's a damped oscillation so that it doesn't start to suck to be a white christian male and also hope that it eventually settles down on the correct point (whatever that is).

This brings up the point that while Christian males have such a hugfe sense of entitlement, that they feel threatened when anyone else starts to get a fair shot.

Zantra

Originally posted by Zero
I think that most people who complain about so-called political correctness are racist or sexist. There is a need in this country to be inclusive, and the absurd abuses of the idea do not invalidate the idea. Being anti-PC allows you to tell huge lies, as far as I can see. For instance, to my knowledge, no white student with a 4.0 GPA has been refused a college education so that a minority student with a 1.0 GPA can get in, but this is how the anti-PC crowd paints the situation.

I'm niether racist or sexist. I wasn't saying that the idea was a bad one. I was simply saying that perhaps we should be more selective in the application of it. I never said that affirmative action was causing white students to loose their chances. But the overall IDEA of a affirmative action is self reinforcing. Race is not supposed to be a biased, yet affirmative action is doing just that- pointing out race and saying "oh so and so is disadvantaged because they are a certain race". Well that is racism! And befor you go off on me, I have more non-white friends than white friends, so I'm not insensitive to the issues that plague minorities. But by making something an issue, you're adding to the problem, not takin away from it.

Originally posted by Zantra
I'm niether racist or sexist. I wasn't saying that the idea was a bad one. I was simply saying that perhaps we should be more selective in the application of it. I never said that affirmative action was causing white students to loose their chances. But the overall IDEA of a affirmative action is self reinforcing. Race is not supposed to be a biased, yet affirmative action is doing just that- pointing out race and saying "oh so and so is disadvantaged because they are a certain race". Well that is racism! And befor you go off on me, I have more non-white friends than white friends, so I'm not insensitive to the issues that plague minorities. But by making something an issue, you're adding to the problem, not takin away from it.
The problem with your thinking is the assumption that race isn't ALREADY an issue, which it is. Affirmative action doesn't create racial differences, it simply puts them out in the open, and attempts to rectify the inequality. Inequality isn't reinforced by affirmative action, but it sure does point out the bias and blindness in certain people.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
The problem with your thinking is the assumption that race IS an issue.

The big drawback to AA, and PC in general, is that it forces awareness upon those who would otherwise not give one's race, gender, handicap, or whatever a second thought... and I know on more than one occasion that I have treated those in various minorities differently than I would everybody else simply because I was afraid my actions would be interpreted as a prejudice.

For example, the elevator I usually took to my previous office tends to be slow, so I would usually move on to the set of main elevators if I saw someone was waiting to go up. One day I stepped into the alcove, saw the up arrow lit up, and stepped out to go on to the main elevators, and as I turned the corner, I realized the person waiting was in a wheelchair, and I was worried the rest of the morning that my actions might have been misinterpreted as a reluctance to be around a handicapped person.

I doubt that I am the only person affected in this way.

And, of course, AA seems to be encouraging the notion that "reverse discrimination" is occurring, which leads to a lot of bitter feelings among some.

AA, and PC in general, is not a wholly good thing... and given my state of knowledge, I'm inclined to agree that they have outlived their usefulness.

Uh huh...spoken like an unconscious racist...which is my point. Minorities get treated differently anyways, and will continue to do so if we sweep all official awaerness under the rug. There is an institutional racism that exists in the country, and not talking about it won't make it go away. Again, I see plenty of teh white entitelment going on here, that you shouldn't be forced to deal with the reality of race.

Then there's affirmative action. Now suddenly it doesn't matter if you have the grades, determination, and dedication to education. Now race becomes a factor, which to me is simply a way of masking reverse racism.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/race/fish.htm

FZ+
So have we become so overly concerned with equality that we've crossed the line?
No. We aren't overly concerned, but that the whole civil rights movement has been turned from a movement towards reason to a general phobia - better to x and y or the black peril would come to get you. Meanwhile, many sectors have been little affected at all, and discrimination persists. (Consider that Fundamentalism movements have been growing unnoticed of late.) In short, we are seeing one big mess of radical views, and in some cases, the actions of society are only serving to push people towards the extremes. Maybe it will eventually settle down. But what would really help is not quick fix solutions but to openly address the divisions, with understanding than reflex actions.

Whether the public is up for that is another question.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Again, I see plenty of teh white entitelment going on here, that you shouldn't be forced to deal with the reality of race.

[?]

Are you saying people of different races should be treated differently?

The only entitlement I'm looking for is the right to form my opinion about people based on who they are, rather than society telling me what I should think based on what they are.

Chemicalsuperfreak
Originally posted by Hurkyl
[?]

Are you saying people of different races should be treated differently?

Of course they should be treated equally. That's what affirmitive action is all about. Do you think that white males are better qualified than black people? Then why do they have all the good jobs, if not for racism?

It's been shown that people with white sounding names get hired over people with black sounding names, given equal credentials. So how can affirmitive action be reverse discrimination if white people are still getting an unfair advantage.

Gale
you're typical white person has more opportunities to be successful, and so they are. That's why cacausion males fill the workplace. AA is to try and spread the opportunities to minorities. I think it may have gone too far in some instances, but just like pleanty of other things the idea was 'good in theory.'

There are cases where a white man with a 4.0 gpa won't be accepted over a black or asian with a 3.0. Colleges want the diversity so they make it easier for minorities to get in. It's not really wrong, it's just politics and bussiness. They look better when they look diverse, so it's just a marketing decision. Same with the workplace, they do what's best to make money, get workers, or whatever. Diversity and appealing to minorities helps bring the in bacon.

Mentor
Yes.
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Off topic:

For instance, to my knowledge, no white student with a 4.0 GPA has been refused a college education so that a minority student with a 1.0 GPA can get in, but this is how the anti-PC crowd paints the situation.
Not really relevant to the topic of the thread, but while your example is artificial, similar such things HAVE actually happened and the courts have ruled on them.
The problem with your thinking is the assumption that race isn't ALREADY an issue, which it is. Affirmative action doesn't create racial differences, it simply puts them out in the open, and attempts to rectify the inequality.
Fight fire with fire, fight racism with racism. Sorry, our Constitution does not allow that.
Of course they should be treated equally. That's what affirmitive action is all about. Do you think that white males are better qualified than black people? Then why do they have all the good jobs, if not for racism?
Economic status maybe? Culture? Demographic data shows conclusively that socioeconomic status is the determining factor there - not race. And you're swinging a double-edged sword there - others have used the same point you brought up to conclude blacks are genetically inferior to whites.

So tell me, Zero and Chemical - should we keep or remove racial preferences in situations where the selection system can truly be blind. A college application process for example doesn't tell the admissions office anything at all about a person's race (or sex) unless it is set up to. It IS possible to be color blind. Should we do it when it is possible?

I would also like to point out that there isn't a box on the sign-up page for this forum listing race. Should there be?

Guys, we CAN attain a color-blind society, but it won't happen without removing racial discrimination. The Constitution is color blind and when challeneged before the Constitution, all forms of racial discrimination including AA are struck-down.

As a side note, being a reasonably successful person, most of the blacks I come into contact with are also reasonably successful people. Almost without exception they are INSULTED by the concept of affirmative action. As well they should be.

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Originally posted by Hurkyl
[?]

Are you saying people of different races should be treated differently?

The only entitlement I'm looking for is the right to form my opinion about people based on who they are, rather than society telling me what I should think based on what they are.
Unfortunately, in many cases society has already told people that minorities are inferior, and any attempt at equality is reverse racism.

Russ, you are persuasive, and wrong, as usual! Your error is treating people outside the context of their relative history. The parents of almost everyone on PF lived in the era of segregation...do you think the historical and social ramifications disappeared in the 60s, and American culture suddenly became colorblind?

*edit*

Actually, you come close to being right on the issue of economics...but economic hardship seems to fall on minorities in greater percentages, a holdover from the historical inequality that exists. Then again, what do you care about poor people, you are conservative!

Dissident Dan
Affirmative Action on the basis of race, I think, is not helping. Affirmative Action on the basis of socioeconomic status, however, would be a good thing.

I think that at times, people can be too PC, but it's not as bad as some reactionaries like to think. I remember be slightly reprimanded by someone for saying "retarded" instead of "mentally challenged" or whatever a few days ago. I think that such PC-ness is rather silly, but it's not to the point of absurdity that some people calim.

Originally posted by Dissident Dan
Affirmative Action on the basis of race, I think, is not helping. Affirmative Action on the basis of socioeconomic status, however, would be a good thing.

I think that at times, people can be too PC, but it's not as bad as some reactionaries like to think. I remember be slightly reprimanded by someone for saying "retarded" instead of "mentally challenged" or whatever a few days ago. I think that such PC-ness is rather silly, but it's not to the point of absurdity that some people calim.
Yeah, there are individual silly examples of this, but the emphasis is on silly. No one is getting hurt by some of the silly new language, and we all have a good laugh about it.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Unfortunately, in many cases society has already told people that minorities are inferior, and any attempt at equality is reverse racism.

Equality = reverse racism[?]

Yeah, there are individual silly examples of this, but the emphasis is on silly. No one is getting hurt by some of the silly new language, and we all have a good laugh about it.

It's not the language but the mind-set we're supposed to have with it; that the feelings of those in the minority matter more than everyone else's feelings.

Originally posted by Hurkyl
Equality = reverse racism[?]

It's not the language but the mind-set we're supposed to have with it; that the feelings of those in the minority matter more than everyone else's feelings.
That attitude is full of poo...and a good example of what I mean by white entitlement. There is the unspoken assumption that the standard American is a WASP male, and everyone who doesn't fit that bill is 'other'. And any time the 'other' seeks equality, they are asking to be treated 'special'. Its BS, and you are smart enough to know better.

Chemicalsuperfreak
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."Economic status maybe? Culture? Demographic data shows conclusively that socioeconomic status is the determining factor there - not race. And you're swinging a double-edged sword there - others have used the same point you brought up to conclude blacks are genetically inferior to whites."

Well there you go. If it is economic status and the culture (assuming you mean a racist society, and not implying that black culture is inferior) than what better way to correct that than making sure economically disenfranchisted and minorities get the same advantages that white people do.

"So tell me, Zero and Chemical - should we keep or remove racial preferences in situations where the selection system can truly be blind. A college application process for example doesn't tell the admissions office anything at all about a person's race (or sex) unless it is set up to. It IS possible to be color blind. Should we do it when it is possible?"

Sure it's possible to be color blind. But people on college admission boards and HR departments are more likely to hire Dan Smith than Tamika Freeman, given the same qualifications. If they were color blind, than you would see more minorities on campus and good jobs. But things are dispurportionately white. And the rather obvious reason is because of racism. Given that the idea that blacks are inheritally economically, genetically, and culturally inferior to whites is racist and untrue.

Chemicalsuperfreak
Originally posted by Dissident Dan
Affirmative Action on the basis of race, I think, is not helping. Affirmative Action on the basis of socioeconomic status, however, would be a good thing.

I think that at times, people can be too PC, but it's not as bad as some reactionaries like to think. I remember be slightly reprimanded by someone for saying "retarded" instead of "mentally challenged" or whatever a few days ago. I think that such PC-ness is rather silly, but it's not to the point of absurdity that some people calim.

Imagine you have a little brother with Downs Syndrome. He's a good kid, tries his damndest at school, and never hurt anybody. Now consider if somebody came up to him and told him he's mentally retarded. Not very tactful is it? I used to use "mentally retarded" too. But now that I'm married to a special education teacher I do realize that it's pretty insensitive.

And I agree that there should be greater emphasis on creating opportunities for the poor. But straight racial discrimination still happens. Doctors still give worse treatment to black patients, even if they have the same income as white patients, for example.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Originally posted by Chemicalsuperfreak
Sure it's possible to be color blind. But people on college admission boards and HR departments are more likely to hire Dan Smith than Tamika Freeman, given the same qualifications.

Rather than consider race in this situation, couldn't a college admission board be set up such that even the name of a candidate for enrollment is unknown? For instance, rather than try to offset any possible discrimination against Tamika as opposed to Dan by taking Tamika's listed race into account, why not present the the two applications to the admissions board as application #QXZY6739 vs application #JLWV0287, without any explicit mention of name or race in the first place?

I agree with Dissident Dan (Dissident Tamika? ) that socioeconomic status should be taken into account, but not race explicitly. There needn't be any reason for something like an admission board to even name-related clues as to race. Of course this approach can't work for face-to-face situations such as interviews and the like (unless we do some sort of Turing inspired teletype conversation... but then, of course the interviewer can't be sure that s/he isn't hiring a computer! ). But there can be measures taken in at least certain situations to make race a non-issue altogether, as opposed to applying ah hoc patch-ups to try to make up for whatever 'actual' discrimination that might be taking place.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
That attitude is full of poo...and a good example of what I mean by white entitlement. There is the unspoken assumption that the standard American is a WASP male, and everyone who doesn't fit that bill is 'other'. And any time the 'other' seeks equality, they are asking to be treated 'special'. Its BS, and you are smart enough to know better.

That statement was indeed unspoken, but not because it was an assumption...

This is an exemplary example of my point that political correctness makes people see discrimination where it doesn't exist. Equality isn't good enough for people like you; either I'm treating minorities like kings or I'm discriminatory. You're smart enough to know better.

This is also a nice example of reverse discrimination; you're falsely accusing me of all sorts of things, but it's okay for you to do so because I'm a WASP.

Chemicalsuperfreak
Originally posted by hypnagogue
Rather than consider race in this situation, couldn't a college admission board be set up such that even the name of a candidate for enrollment is unknown? For instance, rather than try to offset any possible discrimination against Tamika as opposed to Dan by taking Tamika's listed race into account, why not present the the two applications to the admissions board as application #QXZY6739 vs application #JLWV0287, without any explicit mention of name or race in the first place?

Now that would solveone problem. And could work in large universities were names aren't needed. But there's still other problems.

Consider this.

I've heard on several different occasions educators say things like, "black people just don't do well in my class." Now this is a clear example of stupidity, racism, and self-fulfilling prophecizing. And I use this to illustrate that even educators can be just as bigotted as the guy who won't hire Tamika because of her name.

Now consider Tamika's education. She's black, and likely more poor than average. So she's probably gone to a school that 's not as good. But let's say she's from an average household. So Tamika goes to school, and sometime within her high school career she is going to have a teacher who thinks that black people just don't do well in her class. Or at least some Tamikas somewhere are going to have those teachers. And as a result, Tamika is going to get a C+ instead of the A- she would have gotten if she were Dan Smith. It's just one grade, sure. But it counts as GPA. And that's the most important qualification for college admission.

Now when you think about it, is the person with the 3.86 GPA REALLY more qualified to go to college then the student with a 3.68 GPA? Is 0.18 GPAs a significant difference that should be considered? Be honest.

Originally posted by Hurkyl
That statement was indeed unspoken, but not because it was an assumption...

This is an exemplary example of my point that political correctness makes people see discrimination where it doesn't exist. Equality isn't good enough for people like you; either I'm treating minorities like kings or I'm discriminatory. You're smart enough to know better.

This is also a nice example of reverse discrimination; you're falsely accusing me of all sorts of things, but it's okay for you to do so because I'm a WASP.
No, I am accusing you of it because it is apparent in your post. Sorry that you are blind to it, I'm sure you mean well.

I generally see that people who are against 'political correctness' are really afraid of things like fair play, and giving up their preconcieved notions about people. I like the example that some folks use: in teh race of life, people who come from upper class white families start out with a 50 yard head start that they did nothing to earn. They are so used to always having that head start, that whenever a program is created to close the gap, they believe it is unfair.

Another area in which my ideas bear out is with religion. America is not a Christian nation, although most Christians think it is. Any attempt to avoid government endorcement of religion is seen as an attack on Christianity. However, you know as well as I do that the mere mention of Islam in a school has Christians in a frenzy. The best way to be fair is to avoid entanglement, and any attempt to be fair is seen by teh majority to be unfair.

Zantra
Originally posted by Zero
I generally see that people who are against 'political correctness' are really afraid of things like fair play, and giving up their preconcieved notions about people. I like the example that some folks use: in teh race of life, people who come from upper class white families start out with a 50 yard head start that they did nothing to earn. They are so used to always having that head start, that whenever a program is created to close the gap, they believe it is unfair.

See now to me you're going to the opposite end of the spectrum instead of balancing out. I agree that society is still largely unbalanced in regards to race. We've swept it under the carpet, but every once in a while it fluffs up when the carpet gets russeled.

Should we now then fault all upper middle class while people for being born? the laws and the government may be color blind, but people still aren't. However you saying that all upper middle class people get a head start is no better than if I said all black people are disadvantaged. If you think that's the case, I happen to know a half dozen black engineers who would vehemenently disagree.

Does discrimination still exist? undoubtedly. But at times it's abused and this leads to a back and forth between racial discrimination and abuse of the claim. both sides have cried wolf so many times that it's impossible at times to tell who's in the right.
We still have a long way to go.

Zantra
I started this discussion, so I just want to be clear on my stance. First, I do agree that racism still exists just under the surface of society, and at times valid concerns are raised. However on the flip side of the coin, there is clamour from the other side were instances of fabricated racism are played against racism for gain. I've personally seen the race card played in instances where it was absolutely obvious that there was no racist intent. And because of the subject, the object of said accusations was overly scrutinized. And even though they were cleared, there was such a stigma attached to the incident as to have long lasting reprecussions for the accusee.
It's the same situation with sexual discrimination. If you work with women, don't you dare make an innocent sexist joke, or flirt with anyone, because you could end up in HR. And don't compliment anyone because of the same reason. And if you're accused of sexual harrassment, even if you're name is cleared- you're career is affectively over. These are the instances I was pointing out. Does sexual harassment exist? Sure, but otherwise normal interaction is considered taboo because of those incidences.

I don't believe in white entitlement, and to assume that everyone who decries PCness is, is a biased inof itsself- see we can label just about anything discriminatory, can't we? And this is the extremity that we need to avoid as a society. Socioeconomics should be the only true seperator. Hynogague had an excellent idea of blind review of college applications. This would ensure completely non-biased selection. Then people could be selected based on their merits alone, and AA would be unecessary.

Zantra
To play devils advocated against AA, let's use an example. Let's say student A is white, middle class, and has an overall 3.9 GPA. While student B is black, middle class also, and has an overall 3.4 GPA. But because of AA student B is selected. Now both had equal opportunities in life, but student A had the better grades. This is the flaw with AA. The inferred assumption is that minorities are auotmatically disadvantaged regardless of socioeconomic status. This is not always the case, as you see by my example. Again I don't believe in white entitlement. I believe in a person being judge individually on their merits alone. If we were a truly equalitarian, unbiased society, we would not give special treatment to someone based on their race. It's simple, it's called white guilt. We are atoning for the sins of our forefathers, which is really wrong(note the "reperations" movement). While american history was fraught with mistakes, those mistakes are being corrected. However, giving someone special treatment for something that they did not experience is inherently misguided. The people truly deserving of that treatment are unfortunately passed on for the most part, and minorities today are growing up in a very free society(comparative to their ancestors). Two wrongs don't make a right. We've swung from one end of the spectrum, right over the middle and to the other side. Overcompensations doesn't change what happened. We are all human beings. And if you grow up in america, you have the same opportunities as everyone else. Being black does not automatically exclude priveledge, just as being white doesn't automatically merit entititlement. If you are economically challenged, it's not because of your race, it's because of your economic status. Period.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
No, I am accusing you of it because it is apparent in your post. Sorry that you are blind to it, I'm sure you mean well.

I have no problem being unable to see things that aren't there. I'm sorry you are too much of a bigot to believe someone else might not be.

I'm curious what an example of fair play' (according to you) looks like...

I guess most white people can't see beyond maintaining their favored status. I'm not going to argue with you folks...maybe the next generation will make further strides, but I think you folks have gone as far as you are able.

Chemicalsuperfreak
Originally posted by Hurkyl
I have no problem being unable to see things that aren't there. I'm sorry you are too much of a bigot to believe someone else might not be.

I'm curious what an example of fair play' (according to you) looks like...

Maybe he's just judging you based on the content of your character?

Chemicalsuperfreak
Originally posted by Zantra
To play devils advocated against AA, let's use an example. Let's say student A is white, middle class, and has an overall 3.9 GPA. While student B is black, middle class also, and has an overall 3.4 GPA. But because of AA student B is selected. Now both had equal opportunities in life, but student A had the better grades.

You are assuming both had equal opportunities in life. I'm saying that this is a terrible assumption to make. Do you think that racism is so rare that the black students never get racist teachers and their by poorer grades. Also, do you really believe that a 0.5 difference in GPA is accurate enough to judge an applicant by?