PC World

Jan. 7th, 2012 05:12 pm
tablesaw: Benito Juarez holds up a neon sign that says "GET OUTTA MY COUNTRY ARCHDICK" (Archdick)
I was talking with [personal profile] trinker about political correctness and being "honest" about racism. It was inspired by her post in which she made this response to someone suggesting that they'd rather people expressed bigotry more openly.
Strongly disagree. (So strongly that I don't have enough words to express my vitriol toward the concept, and rely on words of calm and reason.)

Allowing expression in the name of "not being PC" defangs the entire structure of being able to confront the problem of -ism from its roots.

It puts the disprivileged in the position of swallowing the -ism "unless it's bad enough".

And "bad enough" tends to be a standard that becomes harder and harder to meet as one grasps for proof that it *is* -ism and not just some random ass being a random ass, such that the only thing one can complain about is if someone is dead and the body is marked in large clear letters with "I KILLED THIS PERSON BECAUSE THEY WERE $category".

I do not think this is what you intend.
I was thinking about a response, but then Trinker cornered me on IM, and I dumped out a lot of what I was thinking. With her permission:

I was just thinking that one of the main functions of "political correctness" as invoked by social conservatives, is to nullify the evidence of social change.

expand pls.

It's very similar to the color-blind narrative of affirmitive action. When we start to see non-white, non-male people hired into positions of power, the narrative becomes that they were hired because of "affirmitive action."

Since people take cues from social situations, this narrative tells people to discount this evidence because it has been coerced.

None of those people are getting these positions because they deserve them, or (heaven forbid) because they were more qualified than other applicants. There is always a white man who deserved it more, who's been deprived of his due because people are scared.

The same with "political correctness" and language.

ah. I am going to start a new counter-narrative, of the incompetent white guy who got in by nepotism...and suggest that people consider seeding those, to see if it helps the "PoC affirmative action" card.

You don't need to change anything about what your or thinking. Because even though everyone around you is changing the way the act, they only do it because of political correctness. They're scared of the PC police. They're obviously not saying what they really feel.

Or they're pandering to those people so that they can get something.

Either way, it's dishonest.

..but a person in that headspace is little inclined to believe that racist thoughts are no longer in vogue...

Well, I was mostly looking at the effect it had on other listeners.

But it's also a crucial step toward POC are the real racists, just like affirmative action is the real cause of inequality in the workplace.

so...kind of left stuck at what's possible.

In what sense?

is the only answer to encourage blatancy? is preferring "PC" constructions harmful?

There will never be true honesty in communications like this. I usually see "obvious racism" as a wish for the main ideology of racism to revert from color-blind racism back to Jim Crow racism. I don't think that's possible without a similar structural reversal. I think the nostalgia for that is either because of the increased privilege it held for white people, or because it is seen as a time, for POCs and allies, when threats were easier to identify and combat. But, of course, that's hindsight.

I think that encouraging blatant speech bolsters more racialized terrorism, and that discouraging it is shaving the iceberg...

I don't think that "blatancy" is much of a help either. Because most racism/microaggression comes out when people are not thinking, just following percevied sociological cues. These folks never actual think, in their heads, "I HATE BLACK PEOPLE." If there's a secret racism that is being masked, it's at a far deeper level, so encouraging honesty alone is not enough. One would have to encourage people to be more aware of how racist social structure bias their thought and opinions. And doing that doesn't really need any particular blatancy.

YES. thank you, that's the bit I was scrabbling for.

As for PC constructions, I think that, at best, they serve as an easily achievable benchmark. PC labels say, "I am grouping you based on racial and other societal structures because that is how our society still works, but I am going to use a somewhat negotiated neutral term to describe that label." I do think that this is a step forward, in general.

It's extremely important for, for example, politicians or reporters who have to talk to and about generalized groups.

Ahh...pushback against PC is also the same as colorblindness valorization. Of course.


Jun. 5th, 2011 10:58 pm
tablesaw: -- (Default)
Things done since ever.

  • Bought tickets for the NPL Convention in Providence. Will be flying into Boston on the 4th (5 p.m. EDT), looking to bum around before heading to the hotel on Wednesday afternoon, then flying out of Logan early on the 11th (7 a.m.). Who'll be around?
  • I also said, "Screw it!" and asked for the rest of that week off from work, so it's going to be a real vacation for me all through to the 15th. I don't know what I'm going to do with myself. But it will not be working.
  • I'm coming out of a funk (well, came out of a funk a week or so ago). It's always hard to identify it when I'm in it, till my body rebels and says, "No, Tablesaw, you need to do things again. You're going to do those situps, and then you're going to go out and see people." I'm looking ahead to when the pushback happens, the time when I feel a little sick or a little tired, and I let my momentum slip, and I can't pick it up again. On the horizon, this is most likely to happen because . . .
  • I'm probably going into the dentist this week to get my other wisdom tooth looked at. I have a feeling it's going to need removal too. The last time that happened it took a lot out of me. If it happens again, I'm going to need to plan ahead so that I can remomentatize myself.
  • I planned to go geocaching with [personal profile] trinker, and then found out it was to happen on her birthday, so I went all out to be the birthday fairy. It turned out kind of okay.
  • All the TV shows ended, and everyone is pregnant, I guess.
  • My phone, my crappy-ass phone—that is only one step removed from a crappy assphone—has started losing its charge, so I'm actually getting a smartphone. Virgin Mobile, which I've been using to keep my cell-phone bill under $10/month, has an unlimited data plan for $25/month. It should arrive this week. So that'll be interesting.
  • The Portal 2 print is framed and gorgeous-looking. I'm also wrestling with framing these prints on the cheap, which would be easier if the United States and Canada hadn't decided that they wanted their own special paper sizes.
  • Oh, I got a haircut too. For me, it's super short. But then, my hair was getting kind of long. For a while, it looked way too young for my big, bearded, thirty-three-year-old face, but it's looking better with a beard trim.
  • I watched a friend run Dungeon World at Strategicon over the weekend, which got me rereading Apocalypse World. After playing through a campaign, the directives made a lot more sense. It's a fascinating game, which is probably why I keep talking about it to everyone I meet. Also, much like with Smallville, I'm seeing it in the shows I watch. Sons of Anarchy and Dexter are totally running on Apocalypse World.
  • Finished Dragon Age:Origins. Pablum is too exciting a word.
  • Visited the Museum of Death, knocking another item off of my bucket list (defined as things that are close enough for me to throw a bucket at). It was disappointing. I was hoping for a curatorial perspective beyond, "WOW ISN'T THIS COOOOOOOOL!? SERIAL KILLERS, MAN! FUCK SOCIETY!" There were some nice touches: a set of crime-scene photographs near (what I assume was) the brief mention of the murder-suicide. On the other hand, relics of Jeffrey Dahmer and Ed Gein were counterposed with "ads containing humorous depictions of cannibals." Yeah, that wasn't too pleasant.
Gotta go to bed now . . .
tablesaw: Two yellow roses against a bright blue sky. (Family Roses)
I went out on two abbreviated hikes (more like walks), one with [personal profile] trinker and family in north Valley, and one alone in west Valley. I'm finally nearing my 200th geocache find, eight years after starting.

I went to my dentist about what I assumed was a small cavity. We were both shocked to discover that it was, instead, a massive cavity that had grown faster than normal humans can manage, and that I now need a root canal. And also, after the root canal, I'll probably need another wisdom tooth pulled. And also my dental coverage had disappeared (though that got cleared up the next day).

I got into more of a routine with stretching and using the exercise bike. Current games for playing on the exercise bike: Castle Crashers, because it is simple and repetitive, and Super Meat Boy, because it causes you to feed the frustration back into your legs.

I made it to Laz's boardgaming night for the first time in 2011, and played Power Grid, which was balanced and fun.

I went to [livejournal.com profile] cramerica house-reheating party, and spent some time catching up with folks like Artistry and Bartok whom I haven't seen in a while.

I had a two-day workweek.

Oh, and also, I bought a new car a new car, and returned the Jeep to my parents.


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