Author Topic: 80% of Americans view "Political Correctness" as a problem. But what is it?  (Read 11441 times)

TheDeamon

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The Poll seems to come by way of The Federalist, but still kind of interesting, in particular one finding. Although more broadly speaking, there is a problem with "moving targets" when it come to how people or specific groups define "political correctness" so while interesting, it doesn't necessarily say much. But at the same time, this runs back to a now old refrain about explaining how Trump did so well in 2016.

http://thefederalist.com/2018/10/12/80-percent-of-americans-think-political-correctness-is-a-national-problem/

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Objections to political correctness are even stronger among racial minorities and those who have never attended college. High-income college graduates, especially those with advanced degrees, are the Americans most likely to think political correctness is not a problem. These are also the group most likely to label themselves atheists or agnostics, and identify as politically liberal.

Contrary to a common cultural narrative, the poll finds large majorities of Americans of all ages, income levels, and racial backgrounds oppose political correctness, even while 82 percent also think “hate speech” is a problem. This may suggest Americans believe thought and speech censorship is not the best way to address rude and discriminatory behavior.

Basically, the only thing they didn't overtly say is the one group who is likely to not view "Political Correctness" as a problem are 1) College Educated, 2) White, and 3) Democrats

TheDeamon

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Seems the Atlantic looked at it too:

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/10/large-majorities-dislike-political-correctness/572581/

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If you look at what Americans have to say on issues such as immigration, the extent of white privilege, and the prevalence of sexual harassment, the authors argue, seven distinct clusters emerge: progressive activists, traditional liberals, passive liberals, the politically disengaged, moderates, traditional conservatives, and devoted conservatives.

According to the report, 25 percent of Americans are traditional or devoted conservatives, and their views are far outside the American mainstream. Some 8 percent of Americans are progressive activists, and their views are even less typical. By contrast, the two-thirds of Americans who don’t belong to either extreme constitute an “exhausted majority.” Their members “share a sense of fatigue with our polarized national conversation, a willingness to be flexible in their political viewpoints, and a lack of voice in the national conversation.”

Most members of the “exhausted majority,” and then some, dislike political correctness. Among the general population, a full 80 percent believe that “political correctness is a problem in our country.” Even young people are uncomfortable with it, including 74 percent ages 24 to 29, and 79 percent under age 24. On this particular issue, the woke are in a clear minority across all ages.

Youth isn’t a good proxy for support of political correctness—and it turns out race isn’t, either.

Whites are ever so slightly less likely than average to believe that political correctness is a problem in the country: 79 percent of them share this sentiment. Instead, it is Asians (82 percent), Hispanics (87percent), and American Indians (88 percent) who are most likely to oppose political correctness.

. . .

Political tribe—as defined by the authors—is an even better predictor of views on political correctness. Among devoted conservatives, 97 percent believe that political correctness is a problem. Among traditional liberals, 61 percent do. Progressive activists are the only group that strongly backs political correctness: Only 30 percent see it as a problem.

So what does this group look like? Compared with the rest of the (nationally representative) polling sample, progressive activists are much more likely to be rich, highly educated—and white. They are nearly twice as likely as the average to make more than $100,000 a year. They are nearly three times as likely to have a postgraduate degree. And while 12 percent of the overall sample in the study is African American, only 3 percent of progressive activists are. With the exception of the small tribe of devoted conservatives, progressive activists are the most racially homogeneous group in the country.

One obvious question is what people mean by “political correctness.” In the extended interviews and focus groups, participants made clear that they were concerned about their day-to-day ability to express themselves: They worry that a lack of familiarity with a topic, or an unthinking word choice, could lead to serious social sanctions for them. But since the survey question did not define political correctness for respondents, we cannot be sure what, exactly, the 80 percent of Americans who regard it as a problem have in mind.

The Atlantic also reported 75% of African-Americans find PC to be a problem, so they are the only group to generally support it more than whites(where 79% think its a problem), but we're talking super-majority opposition across all racial and most other demographic groupings.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2018, 11:53:07 AM by TheDeamon »

Fenring

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Is the OP question really "what is it"? I personally think it's cultural neo-Marxism, where pressures are brought to bear to bring speech and thinking into line, primarily using fear as the motivator. The distinction to make is that right now it's 'grassroots' rather than hierarchically top-down; I put grassroots in scare quotes because I actually suspect that it only appears on the surface to be grass roots, whereas it's entirely possible that the roots of this can be traced to KGB activities back in the 60's and 70's.

A different way to approach the question of what is it could be to address the psychological desire behind enforcers of political correctness. Putting aside power interests and why certain parties might want thought control, down here on the ground I think a lot of people are more than willing - even zealous - to enforce these things as a religion replacement. Some famous research from a little while back suggested that there's some biological factor involved in the desire for something like religion, and assuming this is so, the desire will be there with or without a supernatural-style religion. The inherent desire to believe in something greater than yourself, and then to apply it fervently and even dogmatically, would still be a void to fill and I think political correctness ends up filling that void and functions very much like a religion would in most senses. This *might* help to explain why atheists and agnostics have less of a problem with political correctness, assuming that report is to be believed.

TheDeamon

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Is the OP question really "what is it"? I personally think it's cultural neo-Marxism, where pressures are brought to bear to bring speech and thinking into line, primarily using fear as the motivator. The distinction to make is that right now it's 'grassroots' rather than hierarchically top-down; I put grassroots in scare quotes because I actually suspect that it only appears on the surface to be grass roots, whereas it's entirely possible that the roots of this can be traced to KGB activities back in the 60's and 70's.

A different way to approach the question of what is it could be to address the psychological desire behind enforcers of political correctness. Putting aside power interests and why certain parties might want thought control, down here on the ground I think a lot of people are more than willing - even zealous - to enforce these things as a religion replacement. Some famous research from a little while back suggested that there's some biological factor involved in the desire for something like religion, and assuming this is so, the desire will be there with or without a supernatural-style religion. The inherent desire to believe in something greater than yourself, and then to apply it fervently and even dogmatically, would still be a void to fill and I think political correctness ends up filling that void and functions very much like a religion would in most senses. This *might* help to explain why atheists and agnostics have less of a problem with political correctness, assuming that report is to be believed.

Fenrig, I was editing my second reply as you were posting, check the last paragraph in the final quote block.

Grant

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Is the OP question really "what is it"? I personally think it's cultural neo-Marxism, where pressures are brought to bear to bring speech and thinking into line, primarily using fear as the motivator. The distinction to make is that right now it's 'grassroots' rather than hierarchically top-down; I put grassroots in scare quotes because I actually suspect that it only appears on the surface to be grass roots, whereas it's entirely possible that the roots of this can be traced to KGB activities back in the 60's and 70's.

I'm not even sure what cultural Neo-Maxism is.  I think it's a buzz word used to attack something without getting to the meat of the problem.

To me, PC is nothing more than an expanded set of moral precepts and ethical considerations.  It's a set of "shoulds".  People should act this way.  People shouldn't say these things.  In this way, it's no different than any other set of societal standards.  People should say "maam" or "sir" to the elderly.  People should say "please" and "thank you".  People should not engage in premarital sex or should get married.  We've always had these things and attempted to enforce these things at different levels.  Family.  Community.  Society. 

What makes PC look different is that these "shoulds", these moral precepts, are coming out of academia and intelligentsia, and being pushed into government and back into academia, and attempted to be transformed into law and regulation.  This really isn't different either, historically.  It's no different then miscegenation being made illegal, or sodomy being illegal, or that you should stand for the National Anthem. 

What is different is that we just spent the last 50-100 years of the 20th century breaking down a lot of the laws and regulations of these sort, governing decorum and polite interaction, in the name of freedom, tolerance, and equality.  And it came from academia and the intelligentsia.  There is a deep dissonance between the message that you should accept that people have differing views on polite society, and the later message that these people should be castigated, shunned, and socially/legally punished.  On one hand we should accept that some people believe that interracial marriage or homosexuality is not immoral, and not socially attack these people, and the idea that we should socially attack people who are against interracial marriage or homosexuality. 

In this way, PC is just another weapon in cultural warfare.  It's no more than the public pressure arm of progressivism.  I don't think the problem lies with it's purported ends, but with it's means, and what end these means are actually achieving. 

Fenring

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I don't think you're right in saying that PC is only a set of should's. If it were then it would be better to just call it liberalism, which has a set of should's as well. PC is something else, and the reason I called it culturally Marxist is specifically because it involves inculcating a climate of fear where truthful thoughts cannot be expressed and you feel obliged to say what you believe you're supposed to say, using the terms you're told to use. Now we might argue that, as you point out, "thank you" and other such terms are culturally mandated in a way, so what's the difference. I would argue that "thank you" doesn't involve any particular set of metaphysics, if you want to call it that; it doesn't require that you subscribe to something involving values. But cultural Marxism is about specifically eliminating dissenting sets of values and terms. It's a whole other can of worms to define which sorts of cultural material we could call value-dependent, and which are fairly neutral and just about efficient and polite functioning as a society (like "thank you", or waiting in line).

In this way, PC is just another weapon in cultural warfare.  It's no more than the public pressure arm of progressivism.  I don't think the problem lies with it's purported ends, but with it's means, and what end these means are actually achieving.

Stephen Fry recently did a debate (which I think I linked to in another thread) where he took the position that political correctness is a very real danger and is a blight to the left. He's an ultra-liberal and progressive guy, and he stated in the debate that for the first time in his adult life he and his friends feel nervous and afraid to speak their mind freely about various matters in public, and feel like they must retreat to a cone of silence to discuss certain things. So this is not about being merely an arm of progressivism, because Fry subscribes to progressive ideas and is still afraid of PC. Considering the fact that he's traditionally been one of the strong arms of liberalism this sort of claim should be taken seriously.

D.W.

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Sounds to me like Stephen Fry and everyone else needs to stop being <socially unacceptable content deleted> and <socially unacceptable content deleted>!

 >:(

TheDrake

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I think the anti-PC crowd is primarily defending their right to be mean-spirited, belittling, and cruel. The want to be able to mock the disabled with impunity. They want to be able to call someone weak by a disparaging term.

That's why they are inventing new slurs to take the place of the ones that would get them deplatformed.
c-sucker becomes cuck. (Not directly by etymology, but appearing in the same context)

There are obviously levels of what it means to be PC or anti, like in the case of Fry. When Trump rails about being PC, he's not talking about that. He's talking about how it should be fine to disparage and discriminate against all Muslims. His quote on PC says "who has time for that?"

My thought is this, if one is exhausted trying to figure out which words one can use to belittle someone with, maybe it is easier to stop belittling people at all. This is what got Roseanne in trouble. I never thought that she was thinking racist thoughts when she put her tweet together, but she was trying to belittle someone based on their appearance.

Now, some will rightly point out that people on the left will do the same thing and get away with it. Yup, to a point that is true. And they should be held to account for that.

Fenring

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To an extent
I think the anti-PC crowd is primarily defending their right to be mean-spirited, belittling, and cruel. The want to be able to mock the disabled with impunity. They want to be able to call someone weak by a disparaging term.

To an extent you are probably correct. However there are multiple social streams in play at once that will be jointly affected by sweeping changes. For instance if you deregulate and "free up" the market you benefit both libertarians and corporatist oligarchs. When you create strict guidelines for speech you sideline both ordinary people and particularly nasty people. When there's a push-back against PC the "stop the thought control" crowd will be aiding the flaming racists and other meanies. That's true. And it also says nothing about the inherent quality of the position they take.

Again, if we're going to use "PC" to just mean "kind and civil" then the issue here is one of misunderstanding. That's not what Fry means when he says he fears a PC climate. If it just means that then it means not much of anything at all. There's been no cessation of the steady march of progress (from a liberal perspective) in the last 30 years, but the PC climate is on-and-off. It seems to have had a resurgence in the 80's, then went away again. Maybe there was a resurgence again sometime later, but the newest one seemed to begin around the Charlottesville incident a few years ago. I, at any rate, am not talking about the general trend towards cleaning up culture and trying to support people becoming better toward each other. I'm a Star Trek person, so when you hear me talk about PC I am discussing it as a completely different issue than secular humanism, or liberalism, or progressivism; it's its own thing.

Grant

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I don't think you're right in saying that PC is only a set of should's. If it were then it would be better to just call it liberalism, which has a set of should's as well.

Everybody has a set of shoulds. 

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PC is something else, and the reason I called it culturally Marxist is specifically because it involves inculcating a climate of fear where truthful thoughts cannot be expressed and you feel obliged to say what you believe you're supposed to say, using the terms you're told to use.

Everybody who has a style guide does the same when it comes to terms.  Climate of fear is directly related to power possessed and used.  A little boy may be afraid to say "*censored*, this presentation is stupid" during class, despite it being generally true, for various reasons, but partially because they are afraid of repercussions. 

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I would argue that "thank you" doesn't involve any particular set of metaphysics, if you want to call it that; it doesn't require that you subscribe to something involving values.

The idea that you should say "thank you" subscribes the the value of politeness.  PC just subscribes to additional values. 

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But cultural Marxism is about specifically eliminating dissenting sets of values and terms.

So does Catholicism.  The only difference is that Catholicism does not have much power outside it's circle. 

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It's a whole other can of worms to define which sorts of cultural material we could call value-dependent, and which are fairly neutral and just about efficient and polite functioning as a society

Efficiency and politeness are both values. 

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Stephen Fry recently did a debate (which I think I linked to in another thread) where he took the position that political correctness is a very real danger and is a blight to the left. He's an ultra-liberal and progressive guy, and he stated in the debate that for the first time in his adult life he and his friends feel nervous and afraid to speak their mind freely about various matters in public, and feel like they must retreat to a cone of silence to discuss certain things. So this is not about being merely an arm of progressivism, because Fry subscribes to progressive ideas and is still afraid of PC. Considering the fact that he's traditionally been one of the strong arms of liberalism this sort of claim should be taken seriously.

I heard about this one.  I believe Fry's debate partner was Jordan Peterson.  If I recall, Fry's reasoned arguments were generally drowned out by Peterson becoming indignant that he was being called a racist or something by someone on the other side. 

I'm not surprised about Fry. There is a substantial backlash against PC among liberal intellectuals.  Fry isn't alone.  You have Haidt, Christakis, Harris, Dawkins, Sommers (maybe not liberal), and numerous smaller names.  As you have already pointed out, there are plenty of people who identify as liberals who see PC as a problem. 





Fenring

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I heard about this one.  I believe Fry's debate partner was Jordan Peterson.  If I recall, Fry's reasoned arguments were generally drowned out by Peterson becoming indignant that he was being called a racist or something by someone on the other side. 

Yeah, that was the one. Fry spent most of the debate frustrated that little time was spent actually defining and discussing PC, which was the stated debate issue. The two experts on the other side spent most of their time trying to take Peterson on in the realm of identity politics, and he responded in turn (which is a weakness of his; he can be goaded easily). Fry succeeded briefly in getting things back on track but mostly spent his time trying to remind everyone what the topic was supposed to be.  :P

TheDrake

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From a quick look at an article, Fry complains about:

Statue removal. This is a big one for a lot of people, and they often equate it with "erasing history", when nobody on the PC side is advocating removing anyone from the history books, they just want to remove these people from a place of honor and admiration.

Trigger words. The idea that literature must be avoided because it contains ideas of racism and other items.

Grant

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From a quick look at an article, Fry complains about:

Statue removal. This is a big one for a lot of people, and they often equate it with "erasing history", when nobody on the PC side is advocating removing anyone from the history books, they just want to remove these people from a place of honor and admiration.

Trigger words. The idea that literature must be avoided because it contains ideas of racism and other items.

I'm curious about the source of the article.  A transcript is available with a mumbership to Munk Debates that requires an email address.  A bit of Fry, sans Laurie:

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Now, in agreeing to participate in this debate and stand on this side of the argument, I'm fully aware that many people who choose —incorrectly, in my view — to see this issue in terms of left and right, devalued and exploded terms as I think they are, will believe that I am betraying myself in such causes and values that I’ve espoused over the years. I’ve been given huge grief already, simply because I'm standing here next to Professor Peterson, which is the very reason that I'm standing here in the first place. I'm standing next to someone with whom I have, you know, differences, shall we say, in term of politics and all kinds of other things, precisely because I think all this has got to stop — this rage, resentment, hostility, intolerance; above all, this with-us-or-against us certainty.
A Grand Canyon has opened up in our world. The fissure, the crack, grows wider every day. Neither side can hear a word that the other shrieks; nor do they want to. While these armies and propagandists in the culture wars clash, down below in the enormous space between the two sides, the people of the world try to get on with their lives, alternately baffled, bored, and betrayed by the horrible noises and explosions that echo all around. I think it’s time for this toxic, binary, zerosum madness to stop before we destroy ourselves. I’d better nail my colours to the mast before I go any further than this; it’s only polite to give you a sense of where I come from. All my adult life I have been what you might call a leftie, a soft leftie, a liberal of the most hand-wringing, milksop, milk-toast variety. Not a burning man-the-barricades socialist; not even really a progressive worth the name. I've been on marches, but I’ve never quite dared wave placards or banners.
Am I a loathed member of that band, an SJW — a social justice warrior? I don’t think highly of social injustice, I have to say, but I character myself mostly as a social justice worrier. My intellectual heroes, growing up, were Bertrand Russell and G. E. Moore, liberal thinkers, people like that, writers like E. M. Forster. I believed, and I think I still do believe, in the sanctity of human
relations, the primacy of the heart, and friendship and love and common interest. These are more personal interior beliefs than they are political exterior convictions, more a humanistic version of a religious impulse, I suppose. I trust in humanity, I believe in humanity — I think I do, despite all that has happened in the forty years of my adulthood. I am soft, and I can easily be swept away by harder hearts and harder intellects. I'm sometimes surprised to be described as an activist, but over time I have energetically involved myself with what you might call causes. I grew up knowing that I was gay — well, in fact, from the very first I knew I was gay. I remember when I was born, looking up and saying, “That’s the last time I'm going out one of those!”
I'm Jewish, so I have a natural, obvious horror of racism. Naturally I want racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, bullying, bigotry, intolerance of all human kinds to end. That’s
surely a given amongst all of us.
The question is how such a golden aim is to be achieved. My ultimate objection to political correctness is not that it combines so much of what I have spent a lifetime loathing and opposing: preachiness (with great respect), piety, self-righteousness, heresyhunting, denunciation, shaming, assertion without evidence, accusation, inquisition, censoring. That’s not why I'm incurring the
wrath of my fellow liberals by standing on this side of the house.

My real objection is that I don’t think political correctness works. I want to achieve, I want to get to the golden hill, but I don’t think that’s the way to get there. I believe one of the greatest human failings is to prefer to be right than to be effective. And political correctness is always obsessed with how right it is, without thinking of how effective it might be. I wouldn’t class myself as a classical libertarian, but I do relish transgression, and I deeply and instinctively distrust conformity and orthodoxy. Progress is not achieved by preachers and guardians of morality but, to paraphrase Yevgeny Zamyatin, by madmen, hermits, heretics, dreamers, rebels, and skeptics. I may be wrong — I hope to learn this evening. I really do think I may be wrong. I'm prepared to entertain the possibility that political correctness will bring us more tolerance and a better world. But I'm not sure, and I would like this quotation from my hero, Bertrand Russell, to hover over the evening: “One of the painful things about our time, is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.” Let doubt prevail.


TheDrake

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Thanks for the more complete transcript, I don't think I'd get a membership and wind up on the mailing list.

Most of that is qualitative complaining without giving any examples whatsoever about WHAT he is actually objecting to or defining political correctness.

Is he arguing that people should be able to call him a gay slur without being shamed for it? That the Proud Boys should be welcomed onto campus with open arms?

D.W.

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My ultimate objection to political correctness is not that it combines so much of what I have spent a lifetime loathing and opposing: preachiness (with great respect), piety, self-righteousness, heresyhunting, denunciation, shaming, assertion without evidence, accusation, inquisition, censoring.
I assume he means, combines a "good cause" with that laundry list.

Fenring

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My ultimate objection to political correctness is not that it combines so much of what I have spent a lifetime loathing and opposing: preachiness (with great respect), piety, self-righteousness, heresyhunting, denunciation, shaming, assertion without evidence, accusation, inquisition, censoring.
I assume he means, combines a "good cause" with that laundry list.

No, I believe he means that in addition to the more important point he has yet to name (effectiveness), it additionally combines all of these traits that he has spent a lifetime loathing and opposing. In other words, it is all these bad things but those aren't what he's here to talk about. It's basically English sarcasm.

Grant

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Thanks for the more complete transcript, I don't think I'd get a membership and wind up on the mailing list.

Most of that is qualitative complaining without giving any examples whatsoever about WHAT he is actually objecting to or defining political correctness.

Is he arguing that people should be able to call him a gay slur without being shamed for it? That the Proud Boys should be welcomed onto campus with open arms?

Fry:
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I'm not an enemy of identity politics per se. I can obviously see where it goes wrong and where it’s annoying.

But let’s be empirical about this: how well is it working for you in America at the moment? Not well at all, it really isn't. You can answer me in a moment. The reason that Trump, and Brexit in Britain, and all kinds of nativists all over Europe are succeeding is not the triumph of the right, it’s the catastrophic failure of the left. It’s our fault. My point is not that I’ve turned to the right or anything like that, or that I'm nice and fluffy and want everybody to be decent; I'm saying, “*censored* political correctness. Resist. Fight. If you have a point of view, fight it in the proper manner, using democracy as it should be, not channels of education, not language.”

You know, it’s so silly — there’s a chess rule: the best move to play in chess is not the best chess move, it’s the move your opponent least wants you to play. At the moment you're being
recruiting sergeants for the right, by annoying and upsetting instead of either fighting or persuading. But political correctness is a middle course that simply doesn’t work. That’s my point.

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So, I'm sort of disappointed that the subject has just revolved around academia, which was predictable, because that’s the sort of crucible in which these elements are mixed. But even more disappointed that really, I haven’t heard from Michelle or from Professor Dyson, as to what they think political correctness is. Because what they’ve talked about is basically saying, “Progress, in our view, is progress.” Well, I agree. Yeah. So it is, too. And good on progress!
But how is it that what we call political correctness, you call progress? That's what you're supposed to be arguing. I want to know what you mean by political correctness.

I cannot do justice to the rest of the transcript without somewhat butchering it.  Suffice it to say that I don't see anyone straight out and define political correctness.  They have differing definitions.  Fry concentrates on the actual results of whatever it is.  Goldberg focuses on the ends.  Dyson focuses on the causes.  Peterson has to spend a deal of time defending himself personally. 

TheDeamon

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I think most Americans would generally agree with Fry. This additional Excerpt from the Atlantic about that same study is perhaps particularly relevant:

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It is obvious that certain elements on the right mock instances in which political correctness goes awry in order to win the license to spew outright racial hatred. And it is understandable that, in the eyes of some progressives, this makes anybody who dares to criticize political correctness a witting tool of—or a useful idiot for—the right. But that’s not fair to the Americans who feel deeply alienated by woke culture. Indeed, while 80 percent of Americans believe that political correctness has become a problem in the country, even more, 82 percent, believe that hate speech is also a problem.

It turns out that while progressive activists tend to think that only hate speech is a problem, and devoted conservatives tend to think that only political correctness is a problem, a clear majority of all Americans holds a more nuanced point of view: They abhor racism. But they don’t think that the way we now practice political correctness represents a promising way to overcome racial injustice.

So 80% of Americans feel that "political correctness is a problem" while the same report also says "82% of Americans feel 'hate speech' is a problem" indicates that at a minimum roughly 62% (100-82= 18; 100-80= 20; 20+18=38; 100-38=62) of Americans hold that BOTH "Political Correctness" and "Hate Speech" are a problem.

Which indicates better than 2 in 3 Americans do not view Hate Speech and being Politically Correct as being tightly connected to one another. While the Activist arms of the Democratic Party and its assorted allies/"frenemies" certainly doesn't seem to hold to that view. (see: Roseanne Barr)

See also my previous citation:
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One obvious question is what people mean by “political correctness.” In the extended interviews and focus groups, participants made clear that they were concerned about their day-to-day ability to express themselves: They worry that a lack of familiarity with a topic, or an unthinking word choice, could lead to serious social sanctions for them. But since the survey question did not define political correctness for respondents, we cannot be sure what, exactly, the 80 percent of Americans who regard it as a problem have in mind.

Fenring

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Suffice it to say that I don't see anyone straight out and define political correctness.  They have differing definitions.  Fry concentrates on the actual results of whatever it is.  Goldberg focuses on the ends.  Dyson focuses on the causes.

Right, that's the problem. Actually it's several problems. One problem is organization: there is no discernable "we" in liberalism, where some "group" has agreed on terms, strategies, and so forth. This can be contrasted with a central government that imposes measures top-down and everyone is aware of their source. In the cultural version you pick it up here and there, get vibes, detect pressures, but there's no central group or person pushing them, and as a result no clear-cut defining terms that are put forward formally. And yet there is some common element to the sorts of things Fry wants to discuss. But his mistake, if you will, was in assuming that his opponents were going to agree to have that discussion. Because from their perspective there is no such thing, really, as political correctness. Their point was that they pursue progress, and that progress is good, end of story. They weren't exactly to to admit that they're party to a system that employs the sorts of abusive measures that liberals fought against when religion imposed them on people earlier in the 20th century. And even if they admitted that something like this does exist, it would be someone else who does such things; surely not them, and surely not the "serious" people and maybe only "extremists" would do anything like that. In short, there's a conflict of interest in expecting an open debate about a issue that it's in the interest of certain people to deny even exists intelligibly.

And that's an issue we're having here as well, it would seem. What is PC, even? Is the lack of a clear agreed upon definition an indication that it's nothing at all? Or maybe part of why it's insidious in because it cloaks itself in positive terms? I read an account the other day of a South American who mentioned how obvious it is to people there that dictatorial political parties often call themselves "socialist" and exclusively employ terms that are akin to social justice ones. So the great difficulty, especially in a country like the U.S. which hasn't been regularly subjugated by fascist parties using PC terms (and thus the populace isn't trained to recognize it), is to separate language used from methods. That someone we might call a PC advocate uses terms that are hard to contest (like being anti-fascist, anti-racist, etc) has nothing to do with whether such a person is creating fertile ground for healthy discourse, or damaging it. But right now it feels like people who talk the right talk are seen to have done enough to prove their creds, and this is true on both sides, by the way. Because there are right-wingers too who use language that suggests they're into freedom, while simultaneously backing measures that will certainly curtail it.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2018, 03:58:07 PM by Fenring »

Lloyd Perna

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You can listen to the whole debate on Jordan Petersen's podcast.

From a quick look at an article, Fry complains about:

Statue removal. This is a big one for a lot of people, and they often equate it with "erasing history", when nobody on the PC side is advocating removing anyone from the history books, they just want to remove these people from a place of honor and admiration.

Trigger words. The idea that literature must be avoided because it contains ideas of racism and other items.

I'm curious about the source of the article.  A transcript is available with a mumbership to Munk Debates that requires an email address.  A bit of Fry, sans Laurie:

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Now, in agreeing to participate in this debate and stand on this side of the argument, I'm fully aware that many people who choose —incorrectly, in my view — to see this issue in terms of left and right, devalued and exploded terms as I think they are, will believe that I am betraying myself in such causes and values that I’ve espoused over the years. I’ve been given huge grief already, simply because I'm standing here next to Professor Peterson, which is the very reason that I'm standing here in the first place. I'm standing next to someone with whom I have, you know, differences, shall we say, in term of politics and all kinds of other things, precisely because I think all this has got to stop — this rage, resentment, hostility, intolerance; above all, this with-us-or-against us certainty.
A Grand Canyon has opened up in our world. The fissure, the crack, grows wider every day. Neither side can hear a word that the other shrieks; nor do they want to. While these armies and propagandists in the culture wars clash, down below in the enormous space between the two sides, the people of the world try to get on with their lives, alternately baffled, bored, and betrayed by the horrible noises and explosions that echo all around. I think it’s time for this toxic, binary, zerosum madness to stop before we destroy ourselves. I’d better nail my colours to the mast before I go any further than this; it’s only polite to give you a sense of where I come from. All my adult life I have been what you might call a leftie, a soft leftie, a liberal of the most hand-wringing, milksop, milk-toast variety. Not a burning man-the-barricades socialist; not even really a progressive worth the name. I've been on marches, but I’ve never quite dared wave placards or banners.
Am I a loathed member of that band, an SJW — a social justice warrior? I don’t think highly of social injustice, I have to say, but I character myself mostly as a social justice worrier. My intellectual heroes, growing up, were Bertrand Russell and G. E. Moore, liberal thinkers, people like that, writers like E. M. Forster. I believed, and I think I still do believe, in the sanctity of human
relations, the primacy of the heart, and friendship and love and common interest. These are more personal interior beliefs than they are political exterior convictions, more a humanistic version of a religious impulse, I suppose. I trust in humanity, I believe in humanity — I think I do, despite all that has happened in the forty years of my adulthood. I am soft, and I can easily be swept away by harder hearts and harder intellects. I'm sometimes surprised to be described as an activist, but over time I have energetically involved myself with what you might call causes. I grew up knowing that I was gay — well, in fact, from the very first I knew I was gay. I remember when I was born, looking up and saying, “That’s the last time I'm going out one of those!”
I'm Jewish, so I have a natural, obvious horror of racism. Naturally I want racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, bullying, bigotry, intolerance of all human kinds to end. That’s
surely a given amongst all of us.
The question is how such a golden aim is to be achieved. My ultimate objection to political correctness is not that it combines so much of what I have spent a lifetime loathing and opposing: preachiness (with great respect), piety, self-righteousness, heresyhunting, denunciation, shaming, assertion without evidence, accusation, inquisition, censoring. That’s not why I'm incurring the
wrath of my fellow liberals by standing on this side of the house.

My real objection is that I don’t think political correctness works. I want to achieve, I want to get to the golden hill, but I don’t think that’s the way to get there. I believe one of the greatest human failings is to prefer to be right than to be effective. And political correctness is always obsessed with how right it is, without thinking of how effective it might be. I wouldn’t class myself as a classical libertarian, but I do relish transgression, and I deeply and instinctively distrust conformity and orthodoxy. Progress is not achieved by preachers and guardians of morality but, to paraphrase Yevgeny Zamyatin, by madmen, hermits, heretics, dreamers, rebels, and skeptics. I may be wrong — I hope to learn this evening. I really do think I may be wrong. I'm prepared to entertain the possibility that political correctness will bring us more tolerance and a better world. But I'm not sure, and I would like this quotation from my hero, Bertrand Russell, to hover over the evening: “One of the painful things about our time, is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.” Let doubt prevail.

TheDeamon

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Is the OP question really "what is it"? I personally think it's cultural neo-Marxism, where pressures are brought to bear to bring speech and thinking into line, primarily using fear as the motivator. The distinction to make is that right now it's 'grassroots' rather than hierarchically top-down; I put grassroots in scare quotes because I actually suspect that it only appears on the surface to be grass roots, whereas it's entirely possible that the roots of this can be traced to KGB activities back in the 60's and 70's.

I'm not even sure what cultural Neo-Marxism is.  I think it's a buzz word used to attack something without getting to the meat of the problem.

More generally, I think Fenring is speaking to Socialist/Communist practices in particular, something which George Orwell highlighted in the book 1984 when he spoke about the guy working in the Ministry of Truth (IIRC) whose job was to edit/redefine words and generally shrink the breadth and span of vocabulary with the objective goal of reaching the point where the language ceased to exist to be able to even communicate the concept of dissent.

So by getting words banned in the spirit of being "politically correct" that means the people who want to use those words then shift to other words and those expressions in turn become "tainted" and list of banned/unacceptable phrases continues to grow, so even more things become prohibited, as exemplified with:

I think the anti-PC crowd is primarily defending their right to be mean-spirited, belittling, and cruel. The want to be able to mock the disabled with impunity. They want to be able to call someone weak by a disparaging term.

That's why they are inventing new slurs to take the place of the ones that would get them deplatformed.
c-sucker becomes cuck. (Not directly by etymology, but appearing in the same context)

And further, this is how meaningful discussion become impossible as the ever growing list of "trigger words" grows longer and longer and the moment somebody steps on one of those lingual landmines, civil discourse goes out the window without any regard to the intent behind how they used the word. That a sufficiently offensive interpretation exists is cause enough to have abandoned the pretext of civility and commence with character assassination.

TheDrake

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I definitely recognize that there are instances that are downright laughable. The word niggardly has become a homonymic casualty. 

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On January 15, 1999, David Howard, an aide to Anthony A. Williams, the mayor of Washington, D.C., used "niggardly" in reference to a budget.[5] This apparently upset one of his black colleagues (Howard is white), identified by Howard as Marshall Brown, who misinterpreted it as a racial slur and lodged a complaint. As a result, on January 25, Howard tendered his resignation, and Williams accepted it.

And of course the inffamous tar baby

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Although the term's provenance rests in African folklore (i.e., the gum doll Anansi created to trap Mmoatia), some Americans consider tar baby to be a pejorative term for African Americans.[16] The Oxford English Dictionary defines tar baby as "a difficult problem which is only aggravated by attempts to solve it",[17] but the online subscription-only version adds a second definition: "a derogatory term for a Black (U.S.) or a Maori (N.Z.)".[18][19]

Several United States politicians—including presidential candidates John Kerry, John McCain, Michele Bachmann, and Mitt Romney—have been criticized by civil rights leaders, the media, and fellow politicians for using the "tar baby" metaphor.[19][20] An article in The New Republic argued that people are "unaware that some consider it to have a second meaning as a slur" and it "is an obscure slur, not even known to be so by a substantial proportion of the population". It continued that, "those who feel that tar baby's status as a slur is patently obvious are judging from the fact that it sounds like a racial slur".

But if people stopped with the outright stuff, I think that these confusions wouldn't get so much attention. Saying that the PC police have gone to far misses the point that they haven't gone anywhere - which is the effectiveness question. They can certainly cause damage, but can they actually change behaviour? Signs point to yes, if there are lots of people running around being more careful about how they phrase things and being careful about it (and expressing displeasure at having been reigned in).

TheDeamon

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Signs point to yes, if there are lots of people running around being more careful about how they phrase things and being careful about it (and expressing displeasure at having been reigned in).

But when those that are displeased by it comprise 80% of the general population and up to 75% of the people belonging to one of more frequently targeted racial groups?

That points to something being rotten in the state of Denmark, when the very people that "Political Correctness" is seeking to protect think it is a problem. (Indicating they now believe it causes more harm than good)

TheDrake

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This survey breaks some things down

Democrats and republicans were asked about which speakers should be allowed to speak, and with the exception of advocates for violent protests, there is a stark split. Very few support shouting to shut down a speaker (4%) so you could imagine that many of the rest might say there's a problem thinking about those coercive methods.

Only 60% of even democrats think an executive should get fired for saying that African Americans are genetically inferior. That shocks me, and I guess puts me pretty solidly in the "PC is not so bad" camp.

1% of people actually think that a baker should be jailed for refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding. Jailed. So ok, I'm not all the way gone, those people are crazy.

There's a lot of focus on having political views that people are afraid to share. With whom? How? In class? At work? With friends? Probably some of each. I know there have been reports of people getting scourged by the very mobs they used to be a part of.

TheDeamon

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I found the 59% opposed to bans on "Hate Speech" while 79% find "Hate Speech" morally unacceptable pair of numbers reassuring.

I'm happy to fall into both groups, and very pleased to see that I seem to belong to the Majority, even if the MSM doesn't make it seem that way.

I am mildly concerned about, but not surprised by, the wildly varying definitions of what exactly constitutes "hate speech."

Edit to add: But by the same token, these are the kind of things that the Democrats are ignoring utterly and completely, and it's going to cost them.

Also have to like this one:
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However, black, Hispanic, and white Americans agree that free speech ensures the truth will ultimately prevail (68%, 70%, 66%). Majorities also agree that it would be difficult to ban hate speech since people can’t agree what hate speech is (59%, 77%, 87%).

This is a good thing, now if only the clowns on the National side of the political realm would catch on.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2018, 06:58:33 PM by TheDeamon »

Fenring

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I'm not adding to any search for a definition in posting this, but I thought it was a propos:

http://www.nbc12.com/2018/10/25/reports-megyn-kelly-out-nbc/

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Megyn Kelly and NBC are negotiating terms of her departure from the news division after defending the use of blackface in Halloween costumes, CNN reports.
[...]
On Wednesday, she opened her show apologizing for her comments that angered NBC employees and viewers.

"I want to begin with two words: I’m sorry. You may have heard that yesterday we had a conversation about political correctness and Halloween costumes. ... I defended the idea, saying that as long as it was respectful and part of a Halloween costume, that it seemed OK. Well, I was wrong, and I am sorry.”
[...]
“But what is racist?” Kelly said during her show Tuesday morning. “You truly do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface at Halloween or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween.”

“Back when I was a kid, that was OK, as long as you were dressing up as a character,” Kelly continued.

While defining PC might be difficult, it doesn't seem hard to recognize that many people are going to object to an atmosphere where even a liberal person on a liberal channel can't speak her mind in an informal chat on a topic. Say the wrong thing and you lose your job. The topic of Halloween costumes isn't a new one, but has at times been a poster child for a seemingly irrelevant PC-push that does little but anger people.

But maybe I'm getting ahead of myself and missed something the story didn't report. Does anyone here fully stand by her being kicked for saying that, and have a good reason why it's needed?

LetterRip

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While defining PC might be difficult, it doesn't seem hard to recognize that many people are going to object to an atmosphere where even a liberal person on a liberal channel can't speak her mind in an informal chat on a topic.

I''m curious on what basis you consider her a liberal?  I've never seen anything to suggest that is the case and mostly what I've seen suggests the opposite.  Anyone who asks a gay man if 'Will and Grace' turned him gay, is a fairly clear sign of not being liberal.  Indeed I'm unaware of a single public statement or question that would imply she has any liberal leanings.

Also she is probably being asked to depart because NBC isn't getting 70 million worth of value from her contract and this just offers sufficient justification to meet a clause in their contract for termination (It is a 3 year contract, and they are half way through it - but it is likely that much of the money is designated for upon completion - so they could save a ton by getting rid of her early).  If she were making them good money I seriously doubt they would be interested in ending the contract.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2018, 01:28:34 AM by LetterRip »

Fenring

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I''m curious on what basis you consider her a liberal?  I've never seen anything to suggest that is the case and mostly what I've seen suggests the opposite.

I'll retract the notion that she's a liberal. It seems she's been all over the place and maybe would be best called a centrist who can get along with both sides. My point was more that she was ostensibly 'on their side' and certainly not a hostile presence to liberal culture, like say having Bill O'Reilly would be on an NBC show.

Quote
Also she is probably being asked to depart because NBC isn't getting 70 million worth of value from her contract and this just offers sufficient justification to meet a clause in their contract for termination (It is a 3 year contract, and they are half way through it - but it is likely that much of the money is designated for upon completion - so they could save a ton by getting rid of her early).  If she were making them good money I seriously doubt they would be interested in ending the contract.

I've heard this too. But then just say so and not make the optics about the Halloween remarks. Especially if her termination has nothing really to do with that, they should be upfront and say so and be clear. But since that incident is probably the legal maneuvering room they need to fire her, their intention becomes largely moot and the final result is that the public (at least those that don't look into the matter) will understand that she was fired for saying something un-PC. Don't you think? What are the odds that this won't be associated with other events like Roseanne's firing?

LetterRip

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I've heard this too. But then just say so and not make the optics about the Halloween remarks. Especially if her termination has nothing really to do with that, they should be upfront and say so and be clear.

Because the contract almost certainly specifies 'for cause', otherwise they'd be on the hook for the full amount.  If they publicly provide a reason other than the 'for cause' reason, I suspect she would have a case for breach of contract on their part (pure speculation on my part, my depth of knowledge on contract law is pretty weak).

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But since that incident is probably the legal maneuvering room they need to fire her, their intention becomes largely moot and the final result is that the public (at least those that don't look into the matter) will understand that she was fired for saying something un-PC. Don't you think? What are the odds that this won't be associated with other events like Roseanne's firing?

I agree that people will interpret it that way. 

Fenring

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Putting aside the termination itself, this followed closely upon many people at NBC being angry at her comments. How about that? Is that an appropriate and measured reaction to her asking what should reasonably be considered racist at Halloween time? She didn't even state anything definitive, just asked, and later commented on how it had been growing up.

Lloyd Perna

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Kelly was talking about a lady from Real Housewives of New York who was called racist for darkening her skin and dressing up like Diana Ross for Halloween, here is what she said.

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And people said that that was racist. And I don’t know! I thought like, who doesn’t love Diana Ross? She wants to look like Diana Ross for one day, and I don’t know how that got racist on Halloween.

Meanwhile Jimmy Kimmel once actually dressed up in blackface as Karl Malone an mocked how he speaks yet he is still working?  Where is ABC on this issue? https://youtu.be/-wse5lgIDxM
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Sometime at night, Karl Malone look up at sky and say, “What the hell goin’ on up there? Do UFO live on other planet, phonin’ home like E.T.?’ Karl Malone read on TV about white people gettin’ deducted (sic) by alien, speakin’ all kind of hell up they butt. And that’s a damn thing. Now, Karl Malone never seen no flyin’ saucer itself, but if he do, that goin’ to be a spooky time. That’s why Karl Malone say, ‘Government got to step up and give 102% to keepin’ them little green men of this here earth, ‘cause the day them dudes sticks somethin’ up Karl Malone butt, well, that ain’t gonna be no good time for nobody, especially Karl Malone butt. Listen up, E.T.’ you better stay the hell back. Nanoo, nanoo. Until next time, this here Karl Malone.


rightleft22

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Quote
Megyn Kelly asked the question to a all white panel  "What is racist?" about dressing up in blackface for Halloween?
During the discussion Kelly *seemingly* defended "blackface" and "white face" for the October holiday because it was "OK when I was a kid as long as you were dressing like a character.” Later in the discussion she spoke about The Real Housewives of New York star Luann de Lesseps, who was accused of darkening her skin while dressing up as Diana Ross.

I haven't paid any attention to this story so just now watched the segment. Other then not putting the question to a black panel the question seems valid. I suspect she isn't the only one that not sure why its offensive and this was a good opportunity to have a conversation and learn something.

Is this political correctness or just people taking offence? When you can't ask a question, even a stupid one, and talk about it how will anyone learn anything other then keep your mouth shut. This is absurd

Everyone seems so easily offended to day it really is a waist of energy. 
 
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Someone despises me. That’s their problem. Mine: not to do or say anything despicable. Someone hates me. Their problem. Mine: to be patient and cheerful with everyone, including them. Ready to show them their mistake. Not spitefully, or to show off my own self-control, but in an honest, upright way.- Marcus Aurelius

When people injure you, ask yourself what good or harm they thought would come of it. If you understand that, you’ll feel sympathy rather than outrage or anger. Your sense of good and evil may be the same as theirs, or near it, in which case you have to excuse them. Or your sense of good and evil may differ from theirs. In which case they’re misguided and deserve your compassion. - Marcus Aurelius

Crunch

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Putting aside the termination itself, this followed closely upon many people at NBC being angry at her comments. How about that? Is that an appropriate and measured reaction to her asking what should reasonably be considered racist at Halloween time? She didn't even state anything definitive, just asked, and later commented on how it had been growing up.

There are things white people are not allowed to say. In fact, not even allowed to think it. If you do, you will be fired. That’s a fact. There will be no apologies. Jonathan Friedland can confirm.



rightleft22

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The sad thing is that I don't think these kinds events help the anti-racist movements or what have you.
They seem to just entrench people in their current thinking and make matters worse.

D.W.

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After taking a look at this, I just assumed the whole thing was fishing for an excuse to get out of a contract.

TheDeamon

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After taking a look at this, I just assumed the whole thing was fishing for an excuse to get out of a contract.

Agreed, pretty sure it was NBC finding an excuse to void the contract.

"Political Correctness" is going to be their designated fall guy.

Fenring

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Oh for sure, on NBC's part this may well be an excuse. But to be honest how many networks of production companies are really taking moral stands on these issues? It's all about optics and business anyhow. The fact that in this case it's more business than optics is not that noteworthy to me, because like it or not they're contributing to a cultural problem. "It's only business" doesn't feel better to me in this case than it does in the James Gunn case even though the business reasons may be different.

Pete at Home

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Re: 80% of Americans view "Political Correctness" as a problem. But what is it?
« Reply #37 on: November 06, 2018, 04:52:05 AM »
Screw 80% of Americans.  It was the very group that invented the founding memes of political correctness, that started gave it its tongue in cheek name, recognizing explicitly as a shortcut that leads to a problem like y2k.  They understood that coercion, even in the form of benign social pressure, could lead to curtail of civil rights (i.e. lead to oppression) if wielded heavy-handedly and without critical thought.

cherrypoptart

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This one just tickled my fancy too much.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/san-francisco-board-adopts-new-language-for-criminals-turning-convicted-felon-into-justice-involved-person

"Crime-ridden San Francisco has introduced new sanitized language for criminals, getting rid of words such as “offender” and “addict” while changing “convicted felon” to “justice-involved person.”

The Board of Supervisors adopted the changes last month even as the city reels from one of the highest crime rates in the country and staggering inequality exemplified by pervasive homelessness alongside Silicon Valley wealth.

The local officials say the new language will help change people’s views about those who commit crimes."

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Seems Orwellian doublespeak which I just looked up the definition of to make sure I'm thinking of it correctly and indeed it is language that deliberately obscures, disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words.

If I hadn't read this story and I was introduced to someone and they were described as a "justice-involved person" I would think to myself oh that's cool, they must be, you know, involved in the justice system somehow. Maybe they are a prosecuting attorney, or a barrister, a courtroom  transcriptionist or stenographer, an advocate or expert witness, maybe a paralegal or perhaps even a judge.  Convicted criminal would not be the first thing to come to mind. I guess that's the point though, isn't it?

TheDeamon

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If I hadn't read this story and I was introduced to someone and they were described as a "justice-involved person" I would think to myself oh that's cool, they must be, you know, involved in the justice system somehow. Maybe they are a prosecuting attorney, or a barrister, a courtroom  transcriptionist or stenographer, an advocate or expert witness, maybe a paralegal or perhaps even a judge.  Convicted criminal would not be the first thing to come to mind. I guess that's the point though, isn't it?

My first thought would have been Law Enforcement or their associated support organs, dispatchers, forensic investigators, etc.

cherrypoptart

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Yeah I could go in that direction too, like Dexter the lab tech and blood spatter analysis expert was someone I would think of as a "justice involved person." A convicted murderer out on parole isn't someone to whom I would apply a term like that. This all reminds me of that thing you always hear people say about 1984, that our side read it and thought of it as a cautionary tale but the other side read it and saw it more as a blueprint.

TheDeamon

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Yeah I could go in that direction too, like Dexter the lab tech and blood spatter analysis expert was someone I would think of as a "justice involved person." A convicted murderer out on parole isn't someone to whom I would apply a term like that. This all reminds me of that thing you always hear people say about 1984, that our side read it and thought of it as a cautionary tale but the other side read it and saw it more as a blueprint.

Sad thing for them is language constantly evolves, and it never works to plan for them when they do it.

1984's theory of Doublespeak was to constrain the language, shrink the vocabulary, and generally eliminate concepts from the language.

About the only concept they've made any significant headway on is destroying the idea of a binary gender. But even that has a problem, due to biology until Science provides another way. Only two genders are "reproductively viable" and anybody seeking treatment for pursuit of the other options removes themselves from being able to reproduce.

scifibum

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https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/philmatier/article/SF-Board-of-Supervisors-sanitizes-language-of-14292255.php?psid=jdWdW

I understand why this is amusing. While we need drastic changes in criminal justice including much better systems for rehabilitation and reintroduction to society, I don't know that the terminology is the biggest problem.

Then again, one of the endemic problems with the justice system is the dehumanization of convicts and prisoners, and perhaps changing the terminology will begin to chip away at some of that psychology. It's not Orwellian; there's no "war is peace" here. It's just "this is a person [with X past]". "Person with a history of substance abuse" is accurate.

BTW it's just a nonbinding resolution. Overall it's probably a decent idea even if it could be taken to silly extremes.

Quote
About the only concept they've made any significant headway on is destroying the idea of a binary gender. But even that has a problem, due to biology until Science provides another way. Only two genders are "reproductively viable" and anybody seeking treatment for pursuit of the other options removes themselves from being able to reproduce.

No, it's not a problem, because gender expression is separate from reproductive characteristics. Your thinking on this is extremely reductive and silly.

scifibum

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Unless you would care to explain how pronouns and clothing are determined biologically.

Fenring

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1984's theory of Doublespeak was to constrain the language, shrink the vocabulary, and generally eliminate concepts from the language.

About the only concept they've made any significant headway on is destroying the idea of a binary gender.

I wouldn't say that. I think the actual concept of plurality of ideas has been eroded or even disintigrated in many people. They literally cannot even think of the concept any more, no less espouse it. I can see it very clearly on my social media feed, where certain types of ideas or phrases get tagged in people's posts and they write about it in extremely (at this point) predictable ways denouncing it. The categories of inspection become "does this align with myview/good/justice" or is it "theracists/evil/stupid", and the binary process shunts all content not in the first category into the second. You don't hear some kinds of people saying things like "well that's not how I see it, but it's a reasonable belief", or even "I think you're dead wrong but I respect you anyhow." Instead you get "#antiracism" as a kind of slogan thrown at just about anything that not only dissents but doesn't even pay homage to the doctrine.

The only caveat I'll make about the elimination of this concept is that I'm not 100% sure it was done through eliminating words and therefore the thought that goes with them, Orwell style. I think it was more done in the other Orwell style, which is to retool words to mean something a bit different, so that various different concepts which used to be different instead all point towards the same ideology, so that by even using the various (previously divergent) terms you end up reinforcing one particular ideological dogma.

TheDrake

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Putting "Are you a justice involved person?" on job applications will not really be any better.

The problem with felons re-entering society isn't because of the words. It is because of the demands of parole, social stigma, lack of voting power, and housing. Not to mention other felons.

Fenring

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The problem with felons re-entering society isn't because of the words. It is because of the demands of parole, social stigma, lack of voting power, and housing. Not to mention other felons.

I definitely do think that creating new words should only be done if accompanied by a new system to go along with them. Like let's say after getting out of jail you had repaid the wrongs done, and now clean slate. You could create a new term like "forgiven person" or "justified" so show that they now have nothing at all against them. "Ex-con" certainly doesn't sound like anyone's going to be accepting of them. But it shouldn't just be an Orwellian redefinition to pretend something has now changed when it hasn't. I would be all for making real changes to the prison system.

TheDeamon

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The only caveat I'll make about the elimination of this concept is that I'm not 100% sure it was done through eliminating words and therefore the thought that goes with them, Orwell style. I think it was more done in the other Orwell style, which is to retool words to mean something a bit different, so that various different concepts which used to be different instead all point towards the same ideology, so that by even using the various (previously divergent) terms you end up reinforcing one particular ideological dogma.

Well, that was the "flipside" of doublespeak, and it one that is very much in practice just about everywhere. Where you either deliberately change the language, or take advantage of the language in such a manner that what you say ends up with multiple ways it can be interpreted. Which would be the "dog whistles" as well as "diplomat/politician speak" where the ambiguity ends up being a deliberate feature for you to command and a trap for the "enemies of the 'state'" who is defining what the "approved" usages are.

Only unlike in Orwell where he had the state enforcing it, we have the MSM and activist groups going about doing exactly that right now. Where is you say something, and they decide it has a potential meaning they don't approve of, they'll run with the meaning they dislike, ignore all other context, and use it to destroy you.

TheDeamon

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The problem with felons re-entering society isn't because of the words. It is because of the demands of parole, social stigma, lack of voting power, and housing. Not to mention other felons.

I definitely do think that creating new words should only be done if accompanied by a new system to go along with them. Like let's say after getting out of jail you had repaid the wrongs done, and now clean slate. You could create a new term like "forgiven person" or "justified" so show that they now have nothing at all against them. "Ex-con" certainly doesn't sound like anyone's going to be accepting of them. But it shouldn't just be an Orwellian redefinition to pretend something has now changed when it hasn't. I would be all for making real changes to the prison system.

I'll agree the convict usage needs a LOT more differentiation added to the mix. There is a world of difference between a tax cheat who is a convicted(and released) felon and a serial rapist, a pedophile, or somebody who committed homicide or even murder.

Or the "Drunk driver" who was caught sleeping in the backseat of his car parked next the bar, but made the mistake of putting his keys in the ignition to listen to the radio.

TheDrake

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I think everyone would have pause to hire a violent felon, although you have to allow for reform and redemption. I would think some kind of recency limit would be valuable. There are certain misdemeanors that could be very important for an employer to know, like certain forms of sexual battery. Then there are felons for embezzlement, which you might want to keep away from your accounts receivable.

Of course much of this is moot, more and more companies are running background checks - online services are making this easier and cheaper. Then it really doesn't matter whether there is forced disclosure, or if there's some kind of verbal name change. It sounds like a whole lot of foolishness to me, but mostly harmless.