I grew up in the 70s and came of age in the 80s. Pre-political correctness. Which means I’ve never been interested in glossing over what people really think with some false veneer of civility that obscures more than it reveals.
In my experience, that is dangerous.
I’ve experienced extreme forms of racism in my life. Have been called nigger countless times. Have been in physical fights in neighborhoods and on playgrounds. Heckled racially by entire classrooms in Oklahoma and Illinois in the 70s. Was on a diverse basketball team coming from a diverse, military school district and among the first live black people entire towns had ever seen in Washington State in HS. In the 80s.
I’ve been the first black American in university departments of Geography; subjected to drive-by racism, debates and arguments in the 90s during the fabled Flame Wars. As a result of these experiences, I’ve had to fight ignorance on the streets, in the classroom, boardroom and the academy, and I ain’t trying to pretend this world ain’t what it is in no way, shape or form.
I’d much rather someone hate to my face. Honestly.
Glaring at me through machines while working at an automobile factory, shooting at me with their index finger while racing me on a highway through Houston, giving me and my sometimes white girlfriends the evil eye in different cities and states in this beautiful, dangerous country of ours.
Don’t get me wrong.
All these folks were and are not just conservatives. There are liberal racists too, who prefer the “color-blindness” of white privilege and who couch their distaste in socioeconomic and cultural terms. Who hate rap and certain kinds of dances and call them degradations of culture and music, who hold stereotypes about and bemoan the situation of the inner-cities while proselytizing the prison-industrial complex and the welfare-state because “blacks and browns and reds can’t take care of themselves” and need a paternal, Eurocentric social system to take care of them.
There are many other examples of how ideological liberalism and conservatism are two sides of the same supremacy coin. The difference between them is in the intention. The intention to exclude or include.
Political correctness as an exercise in potentiality was high-minded in intention, low-brow in execution, demanding compliance and cooptation of individual experience and knowledge. While it’s aspirations toward a higher and more inclusive society during the era of the culture wars were laudable, the resentment and ignorance its cultural deployment bred are well in evidence now. It further exacerbated the divide between moderate whites, which has affected blacks and browns and reds in predictable ways.
Big “T” Truth always trumps little “t” truth.
Societal truths are subordinate to universal Truths. One such relevant comparison is the reality of the human race versus the perception of multiple races. Words are power. Rhetoric has created the reality we live in right now, where people believe in a black race, a white race, a yellow race. Where people generalize and stigmatize groups in order to maintain their political and economic supremacy.
This is a human problem, one of segregation rather than holism. A problem that cannot be “fixed” at the level of rhetoric. A problem that can be alleviated only through experiential learning. When dealing with the subconscious structures of societal and cultural indoctrination, surface attempts at changing the way that people act, talk and think can only be successful if people are open to learning in the first place. Religious and social stigmas based upon the inherent polarity of black versus white, good versus evil, affect too many at a level they are not aware of, which bounds thought, words and actions, constricting potentiality only to the limited known universe of responses.
So political correctness as a “soft” public policy was doomed from the start. Because people keep it real even when they don’t. Tone and silence speak as loudly as words. Body language, expressions and eyes reveal deeper communications.
We should rejoice in this new, collective choice to say what we mean and mean what we say. It makes things clearer and simpler. People no longer have to attempt to decode key words and dog whistle phrases. And ignorance can be confronted directly at its illogical roots.
Cognitive dissonance is an effective force for change and seeding the consciousness fields of our virtual and immediate physical environments should be the goal of our communication strategies. Telling and showing the truth, sharing it wIth those on the cusp of knowing, who will share it with their networks, remains a valid modality for effective engagement.
The Truth holds power.
It overcomes lies by virtual of its resonant and cohesive essence and compliance with logic and nature law. Resting in the Truth makes political correctness unnecessary. We should not bemoan the end of a false narrative that hid more than it revealed.
Claiming Truth is claiming the power of your convictions and this power is what Is rising now within multitudes intent upon continuing this Great Experiment and perfecting this union no matter what it takes.
Each word you write, each article and video you share is another volley in service of a diverse and inclusive America and world. Don’t back down, don’t give up and continue to shift hearts and minds. Every, single soul counts. Your loved ones, your family and friends are your responsibility.
We are indeed our sisters’ and brothers’ keepers. Because, in the end, we are all One. And what we think, say and do affects others far beyond our most fantastic speculations.