Political Correctness

How appalled I am by the rise of so-called political correctness in our culture! And also that travesty known as "positive discrimination" - I fear I can see nothing positive about discrimination of any kind - it amounts to a contradiction in terms. We are told that "two wrongs do not make a right", and this certainly applies to this unjustifiable practice.

While I do not condone bigotry of any kind, it has come to a pretty pass when people should feel a sense of shame about admitting being white, male or English. Why is it that people can feel justified in taking national pride about being Scots, Welsh or Irish, but anyone attempting the same justification about Englishness is automatically labelled a racist? The same goes for 'black pride' and feminism.

Undoubtedly these deficiencies in our national character have arisen from the at times shameful behaviour of our forebears: there is essentially nothing to be proud of about being English; however, the same applies for all Britons. Many of the bigoted and self-righteous attitudes have been passed down through the generations and persist today. However, the prevalence of political correctness appears to demonstrate that as a culture we are "in denial".

I have no problem whatever with being proud of what I may have achieved; however, I do not consider pride to be meaningful in the context of what one is by 'accident of birth'. We are what we are, and there should be neither pride nor shame in that. Therefore I regard nationalism only in the terms expressed by Dr Johnson - as "the last refuge of a scoundrel".

I feel that the minorities we strenuously defend with our new terminology must play their part by integrating into this culture insofar as they are able, changing it where necessary from the inside. The sense of separateness arising from embedded cultures so often give rise to suspicion and misunderstanding.

Presumably, the P-C brigade will not be satisfied until they have everything completely sanitised that has the vaguest hint of bias: should our nation's number one tennis player now be called 'Tim Poultryperson'?

What I object to is that our society has come to believe that by clever use of 'acceptable' terminology, the problem goes away. The reality is that this is purely papering over the cracks; we can only change attitudes by changing hearts and minds. That is achieved by education, by winning arguments, making people see the error of their ways, not by slick redefinitions of terms.

as published in the Nottingham Evening Post, 17th August 2001


©2001 Reader's Doglist Association of Great Britain