The New Dirty Words

I have found myself spending more time on Facebook since Trump’s election. Not to peruse selfies, but to see what all my “friends” are saying about the election.  These “friends” could be someone I met just once, a former classmate or coworker, or someone I considered a close friend. With each status I come across I get more insight into how some of them really think. I have seen plenty that I like, and have also been disappointed from some of the truths these friends bring to the surface. Everyone has the right to free speech, so I am not judging them for making their voice heard. As a matter of fact, I like to have people’s thoughts on such a topic out in the open. I can now exercise my free speech to challenge some of the views presented.

There are certain words that appear repeatedly from Trump supporters; “political correctness”, “race baiters”, “identity politics”, “social justice warriors (sjws)”. I collectively like to refer to these as the right-wing buzzwords. People love to say that they don’t like pigeonholing themselves as right or left wing, or that they don’t identify with the spectrum at all. They are a unique snowflake who isn’t like the rest of the sheep they look down on. This argument parallels the infamous “race is a social construct” argument. The fact that something is socially constructed does not mean its impact can be ignored or simply dismissed. Our use of hours and minutes to plan our day is a social construct that has developed over centuries, and the political spectrum is the same. Are you pro-life or pro-choice? Are you against social security or not? Are you a gun-control advocate or not? The answers to these questions will place you somewhere on the spectrum. The totality of your views about different political issues will see you land somewhere; left, right, center-right, center-left etc.

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Think that’s deterministic, rigid, stupid? Ok, then let me throw off another social construct. I no longer recognize myself as a black man. So a girl who only dates white guys will still be interested right? Cops who are more suspicious of black people will no longer feel the need to pull me over or frisk me, right?

The funny thing about people who reject labels such as “right-wing” is that they often do not hesitate to criticize “liberals”. In their own minds, they are just following common sense. It is the other side that is stuck in their ways and is blind to reason. I feel the same way sometimes. Trump was able to capitalize on a climate where people felt like their free speech was stifled. They wanted to say racist things without being labelled as racist. They wanted to say sexist things without “feminazis” labeling them as sexist or misogynist. These oppressed people then see a man who unapologetically calls Hispanics rapists, blacks lazy and calls to ban Muslims from the US. Their hero was born. No more of this “political correctness” or “race-baiting” that held them back.

The term political correctness originated in the 1980s, and was a term developed by conservatives to criticize policies that they viewed as being too accommodating for minorities. These policies included avoiding the use of certain words to describe minority groups and policies such as affirmative action are often lumped into this category too. Realize that the term was developed by conservatives. Now there are times that there may be genuine cases of people being too sensitive about a issue. However, I find that brandishing the term “political correctness” often allows people to defend bigotry. I have heard people rant about their empathy for minorities, but complain about sjws or race-baiters saying “everything” is racist. “Everything” is obviously a blanket term. It could include Madonna referring to her son as “dis nigga” or it could refer to Trump saying Mexico “doesn’t send its best“. Maybe prying would reveal the Trump example, or maybe someone would throw out something more harmless in order to avoid a debate.

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The right-wing buzzwords have become scarlet letters that no one wants to wear. Even people who may genuinely hold some enlightened views about minorities reject the terms and go out of their way not to be misconstrued as “politically correct”. Sometimes it isn’t about being pc or not, it is about being racist or not, about having empathy or not.

Tucker Max, an author and businessman who I follow, started a new project called The Mating Grounds. It was a podcast that helped to promote an upcoming book, and was designed to give men actionable dating advice that was devoid of the sociopathy offered by pick-up artists. One podcast in particular caught my attention and served as a great example of someone showing empathy, but also being wary of being labelled a sjw.

One caller asked for advice on dealing with a racist area (Arizona), where he was repeatedly rebuffed due to his race. Max was quick to advise that Arizona is one of America’s most racist states, demonstrating that he doesn’t embrace the right-wing narrative of a “post-racial” society. He acknowledges the historical and present racism in Arizona. Max was also quick to say that he wasn’t a “sjw” by any means.This fear of the right-wing buzzwords sends us all back to high school; we want to be one of the cool kids. We don’t want to be caught socializing with the losers, the pc horde and those sjws.

This brings up another feature of the right-wing buzzwords, and many political terms. They are all relative. Your own position dictates what you view as being liberal or conservative. There are many people that would condemn Max as a sjw or race-baiter for his comments about Arizona. Additionally, the podcast criticizes rape culture, and stresses the importance of empathy and female choice in dating. There are plenty of people who would consider that “feminazi propaganda” or the work of a “white knight”.

You can call me politically-correct, a sjw or as white knight. I am not ashamed of my views. My views mean more to me now more than ever, especially since people with clashing ones decided to elect Donald Trump as president.

The Right Wing Buzzwords

Politically Correct,

White Knight,

Social Justice Warrior.

 

We’ve probably all heard these terms, and many of us have probably used them,

People are always quick to say it’s (insert year) anytime a conversation about discrimination comes up,

As if the year itself changes the way people think,

There is the idea that time always means progress,

Yet the state of the world makes it clear that the flow of time can lead to more entropy,

Time can lead to a regression, instead of a progression,

 

It’s 2016, racial, religious and sexual minorities have more rights than ever and are more respected than ever,

In theory,

Many laws tell us that we fixed the problem of discrimination,

Yet why is rape culture increasingly embraced among men?

“Women shouldn’t dress like that if they don’t want to get cat-called or raped. Anyone who disagrees is just a white knight.”

Why is racism so accepted in our progressive population?

“I’m not racist but I’d never date a black guy.”

“A black guy got hired; no way he deserved the job. It’s affirmative action, reverse-racism. Why can’t these social justice warriors see that?”

 

Why is discrimination against other religions so widely accepted?

“We should ban all Muslims from entering the country. We can’t be politically correct about this.”

 

Maybe that last sentence is the issue, The use of terms like “politically correct”, “white knight” and “social justice warrior” to criticize anyone whose beliefs fall farther left of the political spectrum,

I can see why it is so seductive to rely on these words,

You don’t have to try to understand what your opponent is saying,

You don’t need research, facts or figures of any kind,

The words speak for themselves and you become a pied piper, attracting all the bitter and angry people who share your view of the world,

Your words entice them, seducing them and encouraging them to embrace their prejudices,

You can just throw out one of these words and wait for like-minded people to commend you for your argument,

The real beauty is that these words help to disguise prejudice,

No one who uses them sees themselves as possibly being prejudiced,

To them, it is only common sense,

It is the liberals and the minorities that need to smarten up and get their act together,

These same people who preach about their tolerance, how It’s 2016 and they don’t even see colour or care about religion, often hold the most discriminatory views,

Cognitive dissonance is a permanent part of their lives,

These right-wingers complain about how minorities focus on race too much,

Meanwhile, they also make decisions about who to date and what areas to live in based on the racial preferences whose existence they deny,

They will complain that Muslims get too much recognition in their secular country,

Meanwhile, they also protest against “Under God” being removed from the constitution,

They will deny that sexism and objectification is a problem for women anymore, arguing that men are the real victims,

Meanwhile, they will assume that a successful woman got her position due to her gender, not due to her skills or intelligence

 

It’s the start of a new year, and instead of making another failed resolution to eat better and get in shape, maybe we can make some real progress and try to change the way we see the world,

Instead of shutting down facts and common sense we can try to listen to reason,

Maybe we can have conversations about diversity, tolerance, equality, without going to our knee-jerk reaction to blurt out the right wing buzzwords