||[Sep. 19th, 2005|09:54 am]
They were talking about "political incorrectness" on Sky last night. It was really just an excuse to show otherwise unshowable clips of people telling racist, sexist and homophobic jokes. I didn't stick with it.|
I hate the phrase. It's one of those Orwellian things like Ministry of Peace. It gives victim status to the oppressor. Hey, the political establishment disapproves of me so I must be some sort of rebel. No. Political incorrectness is always about kicking down. It's the strong having a go at the weak. It's white guys with fat faces defending their castle.
No it isn't. Sometimes it's about -- to continue with race here -- people of color enjoying the chance to kick Whitey, and Whitey mentioning that it's not nice.
Did you ever read about the Water Buffalo incident at the University of Pennsylvania. It was political correctness with a hey nonny nonny.
You'll have to tell me about the water buffalo....
I'm not saying black people can't be racist. Anyone can be racist.
Short form: Some African American sorority sisters were practicing their dance steps for Founders Day (Ben Franklin's b'day) under the windows of a dorm at midnight on a weekday. Loudly, with great stompings and singings and chantings and handclappings. (Having heard some of these practices, this makes sense to me.) Some irritated dorm residents (white males) opened their windows and hurled insults including racial epithets.
One such resident was a freshmen, an Orthodox Jew fresh from the yeshiva, who opened his window asked them to be quiet. When they didn't quiet down after a while he opened his window again and shouted, "Go away you silly water buffalo." When they continued singing about going to a party, he shouted, "If you want to party, there's a zoo down the road."
The sisters called the campus cops, who came in and interrogated the residents. The ones who actually hurled the epithets denied having said anything, but the young Jew freely acknowledged having said something. Sooner than you can say "I've been disrespected," he was hauled up before some university tribunal. The young women felt they'd been subjected to racial harassment, because everyone knows that water buffalo are "large, dark animals from Africa."
Except they aren't; they're Asian. And except for the fact that there's a Yiddish word for water buffalo, meaning "silly person," used as an insult.
But our young Jew was given a choice like sensitivity training and abject apology or expulsion, despite his offer to meet with the students in question and explain his own cultural referents.
Google "University of Pennsylvania water buffalo" and you'll find plenty on the incident. The powers that be at the University have averred that there is nuance to this story that doesn't meet the eye, but it sounds to me like an innocent sacrificed for the real or imagined transgressions of others.
(Having recently lived through a similar experience when I made a reference to a "crackerjack staff," I can believe it.)
It is difficult! I made reference on Friday, in my post about Constitution Day, to the fact that I had been told calling the place where the Native Americans reside a little bit south of the city here a 'reservation' was politically incorrect. I linked to Oren Lyons' website.
Spoke with suzilem
on Saturday and she told me that he calls it the reservation throughout the site. And he referred to his people as 'Indians' throughout his talk on Friday.
I think one of the problems is that when underlying bias (real or perceived) against a population group exists, there's a sort of pejorative drift. The "neutral" term becomes a pejorative and a new neutral term is sought.
Hence folks of African origin or descent were called "Africans" in the eighteenth century in America. Then Negros, then colored, then Negros again, then blacks, then Afro-Americans, and currently African Americans.
There's a similar pejorative drift in labeling folks with disabilities: crippled, handicapped, disabled, differently abled.
Yes- and it's silly.
Ailz is registered disabled and makes a point of referring to herself as a "cripple" or "crip". Reclaiming the perjorative is empowering.
Sounds like those girls were just spoiling for a fight.
And the Jewish guy was too honest (and innocent) for his own good.
The irony here is that the girls were able to exploit their presumed victim status to gain the upper hand.
Obviously I'm going to have to Google to find out more.
I actually think it's an issue of courtesy. In this case at least, manners and morals are not that far apart and what you describe sounds like licenced rudeness.
I was brought up to believe that "manners maketh man." And that it was the mark of a gentleman that he never gave offence- unintentionally.
I don't think there are any hard and fast rules. It's all about context and who's doing the talking. It's one thing for Chris Rock to crack on about "niggers", quite another if it's some smarmy white guy.
"It's white guys with fat faces defending their castle."
"fat" is politically incorrect!!
No, it is not. At least not in MY world, and I'm FAT. I'm not 'heavy' I'm not 'portly' and I'm not 'substantial', I am FAT, and I'd rather be called FAT than all those silly euphamisms. And so would most of the FAT people I know.