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Reading, Writing and Political Correctness
Thursday, August 11, 2005   By: Mahone Dunbar

A Fond Look back At The Racial Harmony That Political Correctness Brought To College Campuses

(A Fond Look back At The Racial Harmony That Political Correctness Brought To College Campuses)


Identity And Racism

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, I knew what racism was. That was during the sixties. The definition was pretty clear then: racism is the belief that one race is inherently superior to another and, as a consequence of this superiority, has a right to rule the inferior race. Those of the Old Guard South were racist; Hitler and the Nazis were classical racists; and the Japanese were virulent racists.

While the Civil Rights Movement was underway in the United States during the sixties, the above definition was the working one. However, by the early eighties, it was "no longer operable." The definition, it seems, wasn't kind because it could also be applied to the actions of black people - many of whom seemed to hate people because . . . they were white; hence, some self-anointed civil rights guru decided to change the definition. Minority populations in a culture, they presumptuously declared, could not be racist because they had no power. This prompts a few questions, the first being Who gave this bozo the right to change the rules of the game? Who defines power? How do you quantify group power? Is it economic? A percentage of the group that votes? The number of guns they have? How many will show up anywhere with protest signs? The percentage of members it has who hold government positions? And, if the minority group's population reaches parity with the majority are they suddenly racists because of the attitudes and opinions they've always held? (Or, Can a group of twelve, white, jack-booted skin-heads be racist even though they form a minority pocket within the majority culture, or are a minority within the sphere in which they operate?)

You cannot have a debate, nor logical discourse, if such essential things as the meaning of words are continually changed. What if we arbitrarily changed the definition of slavery, did away with the word altogether, or replaced it with sweetening euphemisms? Why it wasn't slavery at all. It was a legally mandated, low-incentive agrarian work opportunity for newly-arrived aliens from Africa.

The idea that black people, American or otherwise, can not be racist, is absurd, of course, not to mention historically inaccurate. Such exclusion defies the very idea of equality; equality means we share not only the noble attributes of our humanity, but also its malignancies. There is no wiggle room here. You are either pregnant, or you are not.

The definitions that hold, regarding racism, should be the ones that were in play before and after the Civil Rights movement in America. Retrospective rule changes after the final bell are not allowed - unless you are Judge Mathis lamenting the 2000 election. (Imagine being at a poker table, and as you, with the winning pair of kings, start to rake in the pot, someone suddenly throws an ace and a deuce on the table and declares that deuces are now wild.)

Classically, most cultures/racial groups have been historically racist (even the grubby Frenchman feels superior to someone), sometimes benignly, some times ominously. As mentioned above, the Nazis operated under the classical definition of racism, as did the Japanese; both cultures felt they had an inherent superiority to all others and therefore should rule them. The ancient Egyptians called themselves men and all others something else. And the Jews, of course, have always been pretty smug about things, and wouldn't - in spite of the centuries of hatred directed toward them - want to change places with a goyim for all the gold in Hollywood. Read your history books. No doubt, a young, hip intercity inhabitant would not want to change places with a white dentist from the suburbs. We are all pretty smug about who we are, and this is as nature intended.

Self love, the root of self esteem - hence the root of someone’s identity - is not always a bad thing. It can be benign or malignant. But pity the poor culture that never felt itself superior to someone. The reputed benefits of self-esteem, however, are greatly exaggerated, as are it's origins. And in spite of the media hype about the lagging educational performance of young black Americans being linked to poor self-esteem (this is after they decided to switch tactics, having claimed prior to this that lagging educational performance was the result of systemic bias in the educational system against blacks), there is no firm evidence that low self-esteem exists among young blacks, much less influences their educational development. Self-esteem is rooted in acceptance by one's family and peer group, and not in the opinions of persons who belong to a foreign culture.

Young intercity black kids (I could have said urban kids, but let’s be real here) aren't that torqued if they think the ‘majority’ society (i.e., old white people) regards them with disdain. (Think about it. Do you lose sleep worrying what the Islamic community, or the Manson Family, thinks about you?) Self-esteem comes from peer acceptance and peer approval. And black kids in America got plenty of that. Just look behind you in the checkout line; my, young Shaquita does seems happy and full of self-esteem; in fact, she's so full of self-esteem that she's willing to share her joy in song with the public. And she's not bad.

Now, a bit of honesty. When I see some urban (does that sound nicer?) citizen driving along while playing thug music with the bass subwoofer pumping out 150 decibels, their car decked out in chrome spinner hubcaps and neon running lights, the driver’s seat fully reclined in pimp comfort position (so the door post will help protect their heads in case of a drive-by shooting), and a mouth full of gold teeth and head pretty empty of anything worthwhile or productive, I can't help but admit that I still feel a twinge of superiority. But this is only modest bigotry, not racism; I don't feel I have a genetic superiority to the idiot, nor the right to tell him what to do. I just don't like him. That’s not racism.

Proponents of a brave new world, i.e., leftists, believe that we are all exactly the same; however, because some Neanderthals in the population still perceive others as different - culturally, racially, morally, religiously, rhythmically, whatever - and possibly view some of the differences in a negative light, expressions that highlight or even mention these differences are considered highly insensitive. Therefore, since the last decades of the twentieth century, the left, in their unswerving drive to force us all to be better people - as they envision better - by being more sensitive to the feelings of others, has subjected us to a barrage of politically correct speech whose stench of illogic and hypocrisy linger still.

For example, I read on the Drudge Report that the Islamic terrorists in Iraq - who are maybe running a bit low on suicide bombers - are now pioneering the use of exploding dogs to attack everybody else (BTW, how do you leftist Greeners - who decried the U.S. Navy using dolphins in military operations, feel about that one?). The original reporting agency, the, referred to the terrorists as insurgents. One can almost understand their reasoning: a) To call the terrorists, terrorists, might be seen as a tacit endorsement of the United States, which no self-respecting weirdo (particularly Mr. Collagen-lips, Mick Jagger), would want. 2) It's probably prudent not to offend a bunch of suicidal bomb-strapped religious maniacs . . . uh, I mean insurgents struggling for the freedom to enslave everyone in their country, brutally repress women, strap dogs with packs of explosives, and kill all the idolatrous Westerners to the last man, woman, and child.

I am sure the terrorists feel all warm and snugly knowing an American news outlet is sensitive enough to care about their feelings. Maybe the terrorists will one day visit the LA Times, and sit in the lobby and hold hands with the staff and get all teary-eyed as they all sing Kumbaya.

This is political correctness personified. PC is absurd. It - exchanging insensitive though accurate monikers for the bitter truth - does not obfuscate the truth, save to the lame-brained who cluster ‘round the bottom of the Bell Curve. (Your doctor, instead of informing you that you have cancer, says you have a "rapidly dividing and out-of-control cell mass." There, don't you feel better.)

Changing the meaning of words, or using padded euphemisms, does nothing to establish the truth of a matter or to advance an objective.

With all that in mind, here is my Dictionary Of Political Correctness, formulated in the early nineties as the Loch Nessian Beast Of PC began raising its head with impunity.

Dictionary Of Political Correctness

Political correctness in the form of euphemistic speech is quickly turning our language into an overly sufficient accumulation of bacterially active excretory debris. But there is good news, in the form of a document called "The Dictionary of Cautionary Words and Phrases," which was put together in 1989 by a committee calling itself the Multicultural Management Program Fellows, a menagerie of journalists inspired to direct others in the quest for political correctness. Their epiphany is not a joke. Among its contents are correct and incorrect definitions and terms relating to race. For example:

African-American: Also used for black. Preferred by some, but not universally accepted. May be objectionable to those persons preferring black. (Are you less confused now?)

Beauty: Avoid descriptive terms of beauty when not absolutely necessary. For instance, do not use "blond and blue-eyed" unless you would also use "brown-haired and brown-eyed' as a natural measure of attractiveness.

Qualified minorities: Do not use in stories about affirmative action. Unnecessary description that indicates minorities are generally unqualified.

Fried chicken: A loaded phrase when used carelessly and as a stereotype, referring to the cuisine of black people. Also applies to watermelon. (You didn't have to really tell us that about the watermelons. "Sir, are you sure you wouldn't prefer your chicken baked? and a nice slice of cantaloupe on the side?")1

In his book We Can All Get Along, author Clyde Ford thoughtfully provides a list of politically correct euphemisms which can be substituted for the common brutish terms many of us use in everyday speech. The word slave, for example, should be replaced with the phrase "Africans forcefully removed from their families and homes," or "African people held in captivity."3 The latter phrase is for short-hand purposes, we presume. Ever helpful, he also suggests that if you don't know what a particular "person of color" prefers to be called you should walk up to them and ask. One can just imagine the frightful scenario that might develop should a well-meaning white man walks up to Khalid Muhammed and ask this.

The quest for politically correct speech is also being aided and abetted by sensitive savants at our institutions of higher education. At the Michigan State University a "Fact Sheet on Bias-Free Communication" was distributed by the Division of Women's Program/Department of Human Relations.  2 It was a noble effort at offense-free speech and included such helpful tidbits as a warning against the use of terms like "culturally deprived, black mood, yellow coward and the pronoun he." Campus staff and students are also cautioned to "Be aware of seating patterns, eye contact, interruptions, and domination of the class by certain groups or individuals." (Ibid 3) We presume those who know the answers to the questions are the thoughtless fiends who dominate the class. The use of any of these terms, particularly the mention of any color, could earn you a sanction by the college rulers for being "insensitive" or raise the ire of your fellow students.

Ethnic references, specifically racial ones, are dangerous today. Given this, and the rapidly mutating nature of racial terminology, we have prepared our own list of definitions to hopefully clarify things for philologists in the future--like say two or three years from now--or for space aliens who may be confused after monitoring our radio and TV transmissions. The following lexicon is intended as a helpful guide through the euphemistic mine-field that represents race relations in America today. Truly, language is a barometer of political change.


Racist: Any white person who disagrees with any black person for any reason.

Bigotry: What is actually called racism today by most people.

Bigot: A white person.

Discrimination: Having the intelligence to distinguish between what you consider good or bad associations and the audacity to actually make the choice.

Colored: See Afro-American.

Affirmative Action: A form of racial discrimination used by the government in an attempt to eradicate racial discrimination.

Inferred Discrimination: The idea that if a community has a population that is 20 percent black and 12 percent Jewish, then 20 percent of the local Talmudic scholars should be black and 12 percent of the local rappers Jewish--and if not, racial discrimination is occurring.

Afrocentrism: A belief by certain black Americans in the latter half of the twentieth-century that black Africans invented geography, built the pyramids of Egypt, developed astronomy, invented the proto-type of the rocket (the spear), founded the arts and architecture, composed the works of Beethoven, discovered America, were responsible for the New Testament, and more, and all without a written language until recent times! And where are the architectural, scientific, and artistic wonders of ancient sub-Saharan Africa? Well, that's a little harder to explain.

Afro-American: See African-American.

Riot: A method of political protest in which one accumulates color TVs or other appliances, consumes various alcohol products and then, as a final act of protest, burns down his own neighborhood.

Cultural Diversity: Black people.

Welfare: An effort by the federal government to get around the constitutional separation of church and state by emulating God. This is done by delivering manna from heaven in the form of food stamps, welfare checks, free housing and medical care. Bonuses are given for those who obey the Biblical injunction to "be fruitful and multiply."

African-American: See Black American.

Reverse Discrimination: An oxymoron used by morons and sanctified by media use. The reverse of "discrimination" is non-discrimination. The term "reverse discrimination" implies that only white people can discriminate and is in itself discriminatory. Someone should stop Mr. Webster from spinning in his grave.

Black-American: See colored.

Collective Guilt: The idea that certain "unworthy" groups, are susceptible to osmotic guilt, that is, responsibility for actions by individuals in the group is passed on to succeeding generations. The tainted gene of guilt can even be retroactive, bringing collateral disgrace on new generations of the guilty group for past actions and ideas that were perfectly legal and perhaps even morally acceptable at the time. The media, the arbiters of political correctness, gives a few specific exemptions for "Collective Guilt," including those African chiefs and tribesmen who captured, enslaved and sold other Africans, the Arabic merchants who traded in them, and the sea captains of various nationalities who transported them; in fact, everyone involved in the African slave trade for hundreds of years before the Europeans came on the scene is absolved. It should also be noted that the assumption of "collective guilt" is in no way voluntary, and lack of consciousness of said guilt does not exclude one from culpability, particularly if the guilty party is an American tax payer.

Victory Celebration: See riot.

Reparations: A natural consequence of the belief in collective guilt. In ancient times the weaker party (formerly known as the losers) in a conflict between various peoples or nations was considered collectively guilty and forthwith decimated, raped (the order not mattering much in those carefree days) their land salted, and the survivors put to hard labor for life. Things have changed substantially since then. Today the victors are considered to have "collective guilt;" their punishment for civilized behavior--being gracious by not decimating the losers, raping them, salting their ground or putting them to hard labor for life--is to be responsible for them and their future generations. Proponents of reparations go the God of the Old Testament one better; whereas He only punished to the seventh-generation for the sins of the father, "Collective Guilt" proponents feel that nothing is ever settled, much less forgiven: thus, the Babylonians, the Assyrians, the Egyptians, the Persians and the Romans all owe Israel for having kicked its butt at one time or another; the Libyans, Nubians, Persians, Greeks, Romans and the Turks all owe Egypt; the Jews owe the Samaritans; the lions owe the Christians; the United States cavalry owes the Indians; Eskimos owe whales and perhaps the Hatfields owe the McCoys, depending on who won, of course.

Comfort Level: Black and ethnic college students experience anxiety when forced to mix with others. Therefore, a "comfort level" is created in fraternity and sorority houses by designating them for exclusive use by blacks or particular ethnic groups. The zone of "racial exclusion" needed to create a "comfort level" should not to be confused with segregation. The difference between establishing a "comfort level" and actual segregation is similar to the subtle difference between the phrases "separate but equal" and "equal but separate." Oh, hell! Ask a lawyer to explain it.

History: A time when a lot of politically incorrect things occurred and no one seemed to care.

Black Culture: Rap, basket ball, and innovative uses of the coca plant.

Racial Sensitivity: Being polite enough not to mention any of the above.

Surely, if the above material had been printed in one of today's college newspapers as a satire on political correctness, heads would roll. These days, as you can see, you'd best keep your mouth shut, as saying anything is sure to offend someone.


We are a nation of overly-sensitive people now, a "Culture of Complaint" as one book proclaims and "A Nation of Victims" as another heralds, in which everyone is a victim of some sort and therefore less responsible for his actions. We victims all loudly assert that we have rights--rights which are growing every day, rights not found in the Constitution--but precious few of us see a corresponding counter balance of responsibilities. While serial killers, rapists, rioters and bank robbers may decline responsibility for their actions, even excusing them as political, say, justified by oppression, lack of sufficient breast-feeding as a child, or perhaps because they were raised in a dysfunctional family, the same rationale of "no responsibility" doesn't apply to persons of 'non politically correct' groups, i.e., white-Anglo-Saxon-Males in their various guises.

A microcosmic example of our "Culture of Complaint" is demonstrated nowhere better that on American college campuses. Theoretically bastions of free speech and ideas, today's campuses are becoming hotbeds of unrest around issues of free speech. While Ice-T may excite the passions of young blacks with 'Cop Killer' on the airwaves, and while Prof. Jeffries, Black Studies Chairman at City University in New York, may dis' on Jews from the safety of a collegiate pulpit, the same rights are not accorded to college students who are deemed not politically correct by the body politic of the institutions in question; in fact, free speech for white members of the institutions seems questionable.  Issues of free speech on college campuses today most often break up around the theme of race.

Oh for the days of free speech. National Lampoon, a satirical magazine that insults people of all persuasions and ilks, from Teddy Kennedy to Ronald Reagan to Jesus, once ran an ad making fun of the National Back Collegiate Fund, whose well known motto was 'A mind is a terrible thing to waste'. The National Lampoon ad showed a well-muscled young black man sitting in a junk yard, doing nothing. Their parody motto said: 'A strong back is a terrible thing to waste.' Insulting? Yes. Offensive to some? Assuredly. Funny? Most definitely. Today, however, we seem to have forgotten the ancient Eastern maxim that 'All humor is predicated upon pain.' To put it another way, in words attributed to the immortal W.C. Fields, 'Comedy is merely tragedy happening to someone else.' If only our college students had a sense of humor. Take away insults, laughing at someone else's individual stupidity, or collective weirdness (My God! is he saying groups have collective traits? You mean the Amish are different from us?) and you do away with humor and the incisive wit that points out perceived foibles of humanity. This is the state we're coming to: the Humor Police working hand in hand with the Politically Correct crowd to reduce us to a blandness of thought and timidity of expression last experienced during the Inquisition. Have we come such a long way as a nation only to find we're on a dead-end road?


Sources cited:

1 "Ugh! Oops." The New Republic, February 10, 1991.

2 Clyde Ford, We can all get along, Dell Publishing, 1994

3 "Fact Sheet on Bias-Free Communication," Division of Women'Program/Department of Human Relations, Michigan State University. Cited in A Nation of Victims, Charles J. Sykes, St. Martin's Press, 1992.


(c)1968- today j.e. simmons or michael warren