Political correctness: Paramount

Fernando Gallo:


Fernando Gallo:

Fernando Gallo

Political correctness – two of the most reviled words in our society’s lexicon. It’s hip and cool to be anti-PC, like being anti-establishment or wearing a T-shirt featuring some old-school rock band like the Eagles or AC/DC. Everyone says they hate it, but the truth is that it’s completely necessary.

First, let’s go over what it is to be PC. Most of it comes down to what you label certain things. You don’t say black, you say African-American. Instead of retarded, it’s mentally challenged. And don’t call anyone handicapped – you say physically disabled.

One of the arguments against being PC is that it tells people how to speak and forces us all to adhere to a certain set of rules. Americans don’t like being told what to do, but is there another society that needs to be ordered around more than we do? The biggest epidemic in our country is obesity, for crying out loud. How much more self-indulgent and lazy can we get?

But the purpose of this column is not to bash America, because I happen to love our fat, reality-television watching, undisciplined country. The purpose is to tell you that political correctness is necessary because we can’t control ourselves. There will always be people out there who hate a certain creed, race or lifestyle for no particular reason and we need to protect our fellow Americans from that idiotic hatred.

Think about who the biggest complainers are when it comes to political correctness: Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and Michael Savage are some of the worst whiners. “Political correctness is ruining America!” they’ll say.

And why exactly is that? Because the talking heads of the radical right are telling us that it is? Limbaugh is one of the worst offenders that you’ll find in the media. He has gleefully called presidential candidate Barack Obama (whose father is black and mother is white) “half-rican-American,” which is bad enough to offend me and I’m Latino. ‘Good ol’ boy’ attitudes are not a good enough reason to abolish political correctness.

Truth be told, political correctness isn’t really hurting most people; the greatest “victims” of political correctness are also usually those who should know better. Remember Trent Lott’s comment that Strom Thurmond should have been elected president in 1948 so that America could have avoided “all these problems?” Oh, by the way, Strom Thurmond was advocating SEGREGATION during that campaign. Lott then gets hammered by the media (and rightly so) and has to step down as Senate majority leader. Come on Trent, you’ve been in the business a long time – what did you think was going to happen? If a career politician like Lott can make such irresponsible comments, then there is a definite need in our society for political correctness.

Regardless of how much political correctness truly exists, people will still make foolish or offensive comments as they sit on their bar stools in pubs around the country, swilling Guinness or Hefeweizen. But let’s restrict that kind of commentary to the bar, folks, and leave the public off-color comments to the stand-up comics and people who think they’re funny or clever (like The State Hornet’s own Jordan Guinn, for example).

I admit, there are certain setbacks to being PC. Some people do tend to take it too far, but no system is perfect. If we ever live in a society where people can truly be colorblind and accepting of other cultures, ethnicities, races and lifestyles, then there will no longer be a need for political correctness. That’s the kind of world I’d like to live in.

And please, don’t send me any hate mail where you call me an “idiot” or “moron” – please use the more PC term of “intellectually challenged” instead. Thanks in advance.

Fernando Gallo can be reached at [email protected].