We do not burn witches at the stake anymore… progress, right? Yet, we live at a time when Political Correctness is threatening the very fabric of our society.
American author Lionel Shriver was in the news this week, for a speech she delivered at the Brisbane writers festival in which she talked about the concept of cultural appropriation, stating that she hoped “the concept was a passing fad.”
This speech, full of common sense, sparked an international row; the organisers of the festival were so shocked they censored her on the festival website and publicly disavowed her remarks.
The author gave the definition of cultural appropriation as provided by Susan Scafidi, a Law professor at Fordham University: “taking intellectual property, traditional knowledge, cultural expressions, or artefacts from someone else’s culture without permission. This can include unauthorised use of another’s culture’s dance, dress, music, language, folklore, cuisine, traditional medicine, religious symbols, etc”
Lionel Shriver sensibly noted that a writer should be able to explore different cultures, write from different perspectives because this is what fiction is about. If you are reduced to write solely from your own perspective, you are stifled as a writer. She added that she was now weary about writing black characters which is something she had not hesitated to do when she first started out as a novelist. She now feels the need to censor herself while writing, so as not to create characters that would cause offence. Finally, she asked the million dollar question: what are you supposed to do if writing from another race or culture’s point of view? Are you supposed to ask permission, “standing in a corner and approaching passers-by with a clipboard, getting signatures that grant limited rights to employ an Indonesian character in chapter twelve?”
I am not a fan of Shriver’s writing but she has my full support regarding her speech. A writer, or an artist, should be able to draw from whatever source they wish to. This censorship brought on by political correctness is ridiculous and outrageous. Artists, whether they are writers, musicians, painters, etc have always taken inspiration from other cultures, countless seminal works of art have been produced thanks to what is now seen as “cultural appropriation”.
I sometimes feel like the world has gone mad. Marc Jacobs created waves in the news for sending models on the runway wearing cornrows. Justin Timberlake was pilloried on Twitter not long ago for tweeting his support for Grey’s Anatomy Jesse Williams’ speech at the BET Awards – the actor made a call to the industry to acknowledge black culture instead of “ghettoising and demeaning our creations, then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit.”
How dare Justin tweet his support when he emulates black culture through his music while ignoring issues affecting black people…was the general sentiment.
Good intentions generally pave the way to hell, as Justin discovered.
This mass indignation is everywhere, I see it all the time. Why are people so willingly outraged? Why are they being encouraged to be outraged? Why do they want to be offended? There’s only one answer: PC. We are facing a generation which pursues victimhood.
This brings me to the LGBTQ issue: I’ll be perfectly honest, I have met many LGBTQ advocates who are so up their own arses, it’s a wonder they can breathe. One of them berated me recently for forgetting to add the Q while talking. How dare I deny that minority their voice? The Q is all important, and must not be forgotten.
When I asked that person to calm down, I was told that I was quite clearly homophobic and that I, and people like me, were the problem. Right, I forgot the Q, I become responsible for all their trouble.
Another ‘advocate’ who didn’t know the first thing about me told me I had never suffered, never been discriminated against, simply because I was straight.
Yet another one said that the quite high number of gay friends I had was a cover, clearly there to hide my rampant homophobia.
I could go on and on with examples of the kind, I won’t.
I mean, the stupidity is staggering. Those various encounters with idiots obviously would not turn me into a homophobe because it is clear to me these people are plain stupid, and it has nothing to do with sexuality and everything to do with their brain’s abilities. But, I do know of some people who’d previously had no problem whatsoever with the LGBTQ community and who suddenly developed a weariness (and sometimes stronger feelings) when confronted with some members of said community. That is what some of you LGBTQ advocates are doing, your fight is about ending discrimination but you’re going about it in such a way, you’re increasing it!
If you want to be a victim, you can, go in search of a bakery that refuses to bake a cake for a gay wedding, no doubt you’ll find one, alert the media and watch BuzzFeed wet themselves over the inequality.
Meanwhile the real issues are being masked and ignored because, there you are making a big old fuss about something you purposefully went looking for.
Did anybody see Owen Jones, a gay British journalist and writer – throwing a tantrum on Sky news after the Orlando attack, because the presenters did not state it to be solely an attack on the LGBTQ community, they dared to raise the issue of mental illness instead of concentrating on the “community.”
Owen Jones acted in a manner not befitting a journalist and writer – going into a rage and leaving the studio did not help his cause, if anything it hindered it. I do not agree with Owen Jone’s views generally, and that little performance on Sky news did nothing to help me understand his point of view – all I saw was a supposedly intelligent and educated grown man throwing a tantrum like a toddler.
Somebody pointed me towards a Facebook post from a gay man after Orlando: it was a tome of a Facebook status in which this man basically said that there was far too much self-obsession going on in the gay community, that they only went up in arms when they were being attacked. He added that it was natural to be moved by causes “close to home” but that there were many other important issues that needed to be addressed apart from homophobia and gay rights. It was a sensible, thoughtful status. Well, the abuse he got from his own community was shocking – they pretty much branded him a self-hating gay man: an homophobic homosexual.
Another proof: those who ask for tolerance usually have a hard time practising what they preach.
Even now, the furore goes on about the hashtag #AllLivesMatter
It seems like such an innocent thing to say and it’s hard to understand at first how it could cause outrage because, all lives do matter. And yet, people using it have been verbally abused all over the media because, apparently, using this hashtag means you are automatically an adversary of the Black Lives Matter movement. Again, who decided this? Who is the grand arbitrary of what is said in the media and what it means? The PC brigade, that’s who.
Well, I’m sorry but I do not believe that all black men are criminals just as I do not believe that every white policeman is racist – all lives do matter to me, just as racism is abhorrent to me. I want to be able to call out the bullshit as I see it, wherever I find it, without being personally attacked and my arguments shut down by the cries of racist or homophobe, or hater.
Am I automatically a racist because I have reservations about the burqa? Am I not allowed to have doubts about an attire that, yes, some women chose to wear freely, but that many others are being forced into?
Am I racist because I believe that people moving to a different country should integrate somewhat? Nobody has to give up on their culture and religion, but is it too much to at least learn the language when you move to England, France or the US? Is it too much to expect that – if you’ve moved to, say, England, you will not take your daughters out of school at 16 and send them to a country they’ve never been to (apart from maybe a brief holiday) to be married off to a 40-year-old man they’ve never met until their wedding day? You cannot send a girl to school in England, have her exposed to a culture which is the only one she knows because she was born here (or came over here very young) and then exile her to a land that is foreign to her, even if it is where she came from, and have her being raped (because that’s what it is) by a stranger – all in the name of your culture.
If you are a doctor who’s been practising in England for many years, is it right that you should agree to perform female circumcision on this soil in the name of culture?
In England, female circumcision is rightly viewed as Female genital mutilation, it is illegal – you live and work here, your barbaric cultural practises should not be performed here – nor anywhere else obviously, but we’re talking about adapting and integrating in this case.
Does the fact I am concerned and want to talk about all these different issues make me racist? Islamophobic? Because I don’t believe it does, but according to political correctness, that’s exactly what I am. We are not allowed to raise issues, we are not allowed to talk, how are we ever going to achieve anything this way?
Surely, as long as there is mutual respect, most types of debate should be allowed?
Political correctness was born out of a desire to include, embrace differences but it has now become incredibly divisive.
When you cancel nativity plays in school, you do not make the children of immigrants feel more welcome. Similarly, forbidding children from exchanging Christmas cards does not accomplish anything but breed resentment.
As a society, we need to talk, we need to be able to express opinions, we must address and try to resolve important issues, not just the fashionable ones, we need to stop pandering to a left wing culture which has grown censorious and totalitarian – we need to slay the Political Correctness monster and replace it with good old common sense.
*Please forgive typos and such, this was written very quickly and it is by no means as long or thorough as I would have liked it to be but I just don’t have the time to write the actual ‘essay’ that I would like to, hence I’m letting this go as it is – just a rant.*