Snark vs. Snark: Political Correctness

I’m not offended, so why should you be?

As a middle-class, white male, I have faced my fair share of prejudices. I’ve heard enough jokes about Asians, gays and rape to make anyone’s stomach churn. But you know what, I wasn’t offended by it. And you shouldn’t be, either.

Who cares if people aren’t politically correct? Really. In the grand scheme of things (designed by Jesus Christ, no doubt), why does it matter if you call someone a name that people may not like? I hear the word, “gay” being thrown out all the time: people using the word in place of an entire group of persons to mean something negative. That doesn’t seem right to you? What could possibly be wrong with using something that’s integral to a person’s identity, and using it as a synonym for being wrong? Or stupid? Or bad? It’s not like people are fragile creatures that internalize what others say about them. And it’s definitely not like some people are at exponentially higher risks for suicide and depression, and that by undermining the entirety of their worth, you are, essentially, saying that they lack anything of value to justify their existence. I mean, if something is “gay,” I should have the right to boisterously express my opinions about it. I had too much homework during finals. Thus, my professor is gay. Deal with it. Nothing wrong can come from marginalizing a historically underprivileged and/or discriminated against group of people.

And what is with the bleeding heart Libbies trying to control what we say? Now, comedians can’t make rape jokes? I’m sorry, but when did rape become something that we can’t poke fun at? I’ve never been raped, so why would I be offended by jokes like that? Furthermore, if a comedian is an “equal opportunity offender,” doesn’t that justify their use of a good rape joke or two? I mean, as long as they make ample use of ethnic stereotypes while making light of situations like the socioeconomic differences in racial subgroups, that should be okay, right?

Sure, humor is an incredibly powerful tool when it comes to desensitizing people to overt prejudices. And, yes, it continues the cycle of building and maintaining harmful, implicit attitudes, but it’s worth it if a white comedian can make a buck off a joke, isn’t it? And it’s totally justifiable to say it was “just a joke.” As long as it’s clear that the speaker doesn’t “actually” dislike Jews, it is more than alright to take advantage of every opportunity to make the Jewish person look like a bank-running, Hollywood-organizing, greedy rat. Correct?

Racism, sexism and blatant homophobia are forced to be inexcusable when The Man makes us be politically correct. It’s a loss of freedom. I want to be able to say whatever I want to say, regardless of whether or not my freedom may be in contrast of the mental well-being freedoms of others. Some people even go so far as to argue that we shouldn’t use words like “nymphomaniac” or “slut” because they only refer to women (the male equivalent is “satyriasis,” but we never use it, because it’s simply alright for a man to touch parts with a girl he just met and got a bit too drunk with at a sorority mixer), because it amounts to institutionalized discrimination.

These small acts of micro-aggression signify a much wider problem. And we all know it’s easier to just ignore a problem than to fix it. Hell, it’s even easier to blame the [insert whatever race we’re picking on now] for it. So, let’s do that.

 

Justin Huft is a fourth-year psychology and social ecology double major. He can be reached at jhuft@uci.edu.