A post on another blog, and the responses to that post, prompts this discussion. It’s about words. And bigotry. Oh yeah, and political correctness.
We are very concerned, these days, by the words that people use. Lately there has been a rash of famous people who have been called on the carpet for things they’ve said. Donald Sterling is an example. You know him, he’s that NBA owner who admonished his female friend for bringing black people to basketball games. Yeah, him. He has been banned FOR LIFE from the NBA for his racist attitude.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I have very little sympathy for a rich white guy with bigoted ideas. But it makes me wonder about society when we are so quick to jump on the bandwagon to persecute someone for a conversation and some unsavory thoughts. We were shocked, SHOCKED!, to hear him say such things. Surely someone who doesn’t want a friend to bring black people to a game is worthy of nothing but our derision and censorship. Isn’t he? I mean, WE would NEVER say something like that. But would we think it?
Okay, so we might not be stupid enough to say something like that out loud; but what if other people were privy to our thoughts? We have been conditioned to be very careful with our words and to maintain a certain level of political correctness. Consequently you’ll find fewer people using the language of bigots. It certainly makes it appear that we live in a more civil and accepting society. But do we?
It’s a tough question. I think society is just as bigoted and exclusionary as we’ve ever been. We’ve just learned how to hide it in polite company. We even are reduced to children when we want to refer to certain words. For example, I find otherwise grown adults using the phrase “the ‘n’ word.” I understand it’s reprehensible to call someone a nigger and I never have and don’t expect I ever will. But I refuse to refer to it as “the ‘n’ word” It’s ridiculous and it gives the word so much power. Nigger, nigger, nigger. There, I’ve said it.
When famous people use the wrong words, we get on our high horses and demand apologies. It makes us very uncomfortable to hear people use such words. It makes me wonder, however, if we aren’t just hiding our bigotry behind our outrage. I think I would rather live in a society that admits it has bigotry than one that emphatically denies the obvious. We are bigots, people, let’s get it out in the open and deal with it.