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Political Correctness

Political (correct) solutions to social problems of difference posit the interest of atomized individuals in ‘civil society’ as something that if placated ends discrimination, prejudice and hatred. This common sense puts conflicts of difference on the same political agenda as building schools, funding social security and regulating financial markets. In the worst case scenarios, it […]

Political (correct) solutions to social problems of difference posit the interest of atomized individuals in ‘civil society’ as something that if placated ends discrimination, prejudice and hatred. This common sense puts conflicts of difference on the same political agenda as building schools, funding social security and regulating financial markets. In the worst case scenarios, it equates articulating difference with rule making processes that name bridges, highways and federal buildings.

The trick or slight of hand here is making the atomized individuals in ‘civil society’ amorphous, to eRace or negate differences of sex, race, gender etc. in favor of the fantasy that the measure of equality is an undifferentiated individual – ‘ a legal person’. It treats conflicts of difference as if they are policy problems to be solved by balancing political interests instead of social problems that women, gays, blacks etc. have with and in a society where difference counts only when it is made to go away or to appear as an appeased social interest.

“A Rabbi in a meeting said, ‘sometimes for political correctness we try not to mention those clichés, those stereotypes, and so we tend to forget them while they are still alive, still circulating and still being shared by people.’ So it is important to spell it loud and to remember that [the clichés and stereotypes] are there and still very strong.” Umberto Eco

On Polotical Correctness pp. 89-97

Tinkering here and there with how people interact, what they say, when they say it and putting them through works shops designed to avoid conflicts of difference is a process that configures the social relations taking place in quasi intimate settings such that they are hostile to positive and negative expressions of difference.

This process does not take into account Umberto Eco’s observation, it delegitimizes viz., eRaces the historical sedimentation behind clichés and stereotypes that makes difference real. It dehumanises persons of colour. It turns social relations of difference into formulaic problems to be solved rationally in a society calibrated by and to the irrationality of conflicts of difference. It puts its adherents in the position of having a conversation with difference that they are not able to hold. This leads to the impoverished discourse of difference that is mentioned in the post: Colorblind People and the  Ku Klux Klan.

Political correctness was foretold by Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963 when he made reference to ‘the white moderate’, “who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice. . .” Political correctness does not alter the balance on the scales of justice, it simply makes certain that difference is not weighed or measured.

 

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Curriculum Vitae

Tom L. States PhD Candidate

Fields of Interest: Political Theory, International Relations, Marxist Political Economy

Research Topic: eRacism - Conflicts of Difference

Education History: Williams College, BA Political Science; New York University, MA Politics; York University PhD Candidate

Languages: English, German

Hometown: Greenwood, Mississippi

Words of Wisdom: “IT” is what you are when you are young. Your youth mistakes certainty of the few things that you think you know for knowledge of things that it takes a life time to understand. With time and a few life experiences “IT” becomes the thing you pursue to give your life meaning. Somewhere along the way of having or getting “IT” you ask yourself, ‘Is this “IT”? Panic sets in when you realize that “IT” is your life. Fear and insecurity is that feeling you get when “IT” has not been worth a life time.

Bookshelf

Harvey, David. Justice, Nature, and the Geography of Difference. New York: Longman, 1996.

Fanon, Frantz. Black Skin White Masks. Trans. Charles Lam Markmann. New York: Grove Press. 1967.

Cancian, Francesca M. Gender Politics: Love and Power in the Private and Public Spheres. Gender and the Life Course. Ed. Alice S. Rossi. New York: Aldine, 1985.

Sand, Shlomo. The Invention of the Jewish People. New York: Verso, 2009.

Lay, Shawn. The Invisible Empire In The West: Toward a New Historical Appraisal of the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920's. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2004.

Journal

Carothers, Thomas. Think Again: Civil Society. Foreign Policy Date, (Winter: 1999-2000).

Ober, Josiah. The original meaning of "democracy": Capacity to do things, not majority rule. Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics. American Political Science Association meetings, Philadelphia, (2006).