I am white (well I have pale pink skin)
I am British (I was born on the island of Britain and reside there now)
I am male
I am heterosexual
I have no disabilities
I have no religion but past generations of my family have belonged to various Christian denominations
I am working class (although I don’t have enough paid work to avoid poverty)
Aside from me being poor, my other attributes confer on me automatic privilege and advantages over people with darker skin, who are of non-British origin, female, gay, disabled or follow a non-Christian faith. We still live in a patriarchal society, all versions of God are male (unless you count Pagan Goddess worship – again, Pagans and witches face prejudice), and there is a ruling class. Police are proportionately much more likely to stop, arrest or kill you for being black or Asian, you are proportionately more likely to be dissed if you speak a first language other than English, Welsh or Gaelic, etc etc.
In the past 50 or so years, laws and codes of conduct have been passed which attempt to address the way these people who are traditionally lacking the privileges enjoyed by white, British, straight males. Society still has a long way to go, but increasingly there seem to be attempts to reverse these advances. More and more people are wearing their “anti-PC” attitudes as badges of honour.
By those I might accuse of bigotry, I’d be called pejoratively a “do-gooder” or “bleeding heart liberal” or even a “cultural Marxist” in addition to “politically correct”. I reject specifically the term of “liberal” – it is liberalism that permits such “anti-PC” sentiments to be aired, legitimised and unchallenged in the name of “freedom of speech”, while yes I do agree with many of Marx’s philosophies, to claim that the entire fabric of the EU, capitalist society and David Cameron and co are colluding with “cultural Marxism” as the mass child killer Anders Breivik did, and his political supporters – including UKIP and the British National Party – is thoroughly absurd.
I believe any ‘positive discrimination’ designed to put these people on an egalitarian footing, is welcome and democratic, moral codes promoting common decency and mutual aid.
I believe attacks on these groups of people, however mild or extreme – whether just accidental, casual banter or deliberate chauvinism or racism – must be called out, exposed and opposed.
And because of my skin colour, nationality, gender, sexual orientation etc, to see things from the perspective of those within other, less privileged groups, is impossible. Some black people have reclaimed the word “nigger” to address each other, gay people use “queer” to define themselves, and so on, but for me to use such words is justifiably wrong.
According to Wikipedia, the term politically correct was originally used by Communist Party members in the 1950s to (often jokingly) chastise their comrades from deviating from the Party line. In the 1980s the term began to gain currency as a backlash against those upholding the rights of less privileged groups. Tabloids and the BBC spread stories about a playgroup changing the words of “Baa baa black sheep” to “rainbow sheep” – apparently this did happen, but not for any political reason whatsoever – plus many blatantly untrue and ridiculous stories, such as black bin liners being banned in Hackney, and that increasingly prevalent story, Christmas banned because it upsets Muslims.
If you are white and British, to claim that any positive discrimination which means extra allowances are made for these other groups (let’s leave aside gender for a sec – although women in equivalent executive positions to men are on average paid 20% less), means white, British people are being unfairly discriminated against is ridiculous. The discrimination, if it does exist, is entirely fair.
I have rushed this blog, and not made it look pretty or fleshed out my argument much due to time constraints (I may edit and improve on it later) but suffice to say I believe that “political correctness” has NOTHING to do with politics, but is merely a byword for “common decency”.
Now instead of getting upset when someone exposes your bigotry – and let’s face it, I could be in some ways bigoted without realising it or meaning to be because of my privileged set of circumstances – can we work towards acknowledging it and trying to amend it, instead of attacking this false notion of “political correctness”?
We should be striving for unity – 99% of us are getting done over by the richest 1%. The elite love to see us fighting – Jeremy Clarkson positively encourages it. And if that observation is classist – then so be it! Down with hierarchy, down with prejudice!
From a po-faced do-gooder.