We are in the era of the very easily offended…or maybe people are just pretending to be offended. If I had to venture a guess I would say that all of these ideas about how racist, bigoted, and insensitive we all are were invented at some university sociology department. I have defended political correctness for many years now because I felt that those screaming against it were just racists, or hillbillies, or misogynists, or bigots who were stuck in their ways and didn’t want anyone telling them to change. Political correctness came about because of real prejudices but this new wave of definitions of what is or isn’t offensive have little or no basis in actual offensive behavior.
“Microaggressions” are a new and totally invented concept, so new that my MS Word spell-check doesn’t know what to make of this awful, made-up word. I first came across the word in the September 2015 edition of The Atlantic. The author opens the piece with this gem, “When I was studying at Oberlin College, a fellow student once compared me to her dog.” The author’s name is Simba and the fellow student told him/her that her dog’s name was Simba which hardly qualifies as comparing the human Simba to the canine Simba. Sorry, but in our culture your name sounds funny. Get fucking over it. What do you expect us to do? Go back and rename the protagonist of the Lion King just so you’ll be spared a clumsy attempt at conversation? Here in Spain most people can’t pronounce my name so I just go by Juan to make it easier on everyone which is a lot easier than being “offended” because the hard J is hard to pronounce.
In a completely ridiculous article in The Atlantic City lab a probably well-meaning but completely misguided writer accuses people of racism for the following atrocities:
Being willing to pay $18 for a bowl of pasta, but not to spring for a $12 bowl of pho
Thinking French, Italian, and German food aren’t “ethnic,” but Mexican, Chinese, and Ethiopian are
Automatically blaming food poisoning on a Chinese or Mexican restaurant
Joking about Korean restaurants serving dog
Placing a fork in front of white diners at dim sum
None of the things in the article represent racism and thus make people even less aware or concerned with real racism. Complaining about expensive pho is only natural when you've been used to getting a bowl for $3. What if you ate in a Chinese or Mexican restaurant and then got food poisoning? It would be racist to think you may have got the bug there? Some Koreans do, in fact, eat dog. So what? And congratulations that you’ve mastered chop sticks but it's called anticipating a customer's needs in the restaurant business. If a waiter brings you extra napkins he isn't assuming that you're a slob, he's just saving himself a trip as you tear through a plate of chicken wings.
The third absurd invented concept is something I learned only this week. It’s called “Cultural Appropriation” and evidently it’s really, really bad. For those of you unenlightened slobs who need a definition here it is.
“Cultural appropriation is a sociological concept which views the adoption or use of elements of one culture by members of a different culture as a largely negative phenomenon.”
Even the definition is completely ridiculous and lacking in truth. In fact, this definition is so utterly stupid that I really don’t even want to explain why, as it seems completely evident. What all of these invented offenses boil down to is like comparing something to Hitler or the Nazis. If you do this too often then people will lose sight of the antecedent and will say to themselves that perhaps old Hitler wasn’t really so bad after all if President Obama is worse. Making mountains out of molehills with trivial matters (like whether a white woman is allowed to “twerk”) trivializes real crimes against minorities and shifts focus away from real problems to perceived slights.
The new way to show you aren't a racist is to accuse others of racism as the legacy of Martin Luther King has been hijacked by the most petty thinkers in our society. The worst part of all this is that true liberal tenets are being forgotten or marginalized. As a liberal I couldn't give a shit about twerking, or the price of pho in Seattle, or what you wear for Halloween. What I care most about is our growing income disparity in America and global warming and how we can work on both of these terribly important issues at the same time (food for another essay).
The bad news is that we still have lots of old-fashioned racism in America but when a lot of people read crap like this they lump it all together as whining and victimhood and whatever else far-right morons call real racism today.Instead of focusing our attention on a story about something that really matters we're listening to a lecture on what you should wear for Halloween.