How dare they wish us a Merry Christmas? Who do those people think they are, Christian? If they would only say, “Happy Holidays,” the world would be a better place. Unlike the Christians, the rest of us know that political correctness (PC) is a practice used to avoid offending others. If we had it our way, we would impose limits on every language, term, political ideology, public behavior, and viewpoint, in the public domain in order to avoid this offensive terminology. It is bad enough that they infect us with their flashing holiday lights and over-sized holiday trees! Ah yes, let us all take a moment to remember and feel that Holiday Spirit. This is the spirit of respecting marginalized groups by the avoidance of forms of expression or action that exclude, marginalize, or insult certain racial, cultural, and religious groups, to name a few.
Can respecting others go too far? In the modern age of political correctness, the sophistication of the practice has raised to ridiculous, and often, objectionable levels. Certain groups do not accept the labels put on them by this practice, and using “PC” terminology has more fittingly become the language of the Politically Craven. Political correctness involves censorship and social reform and it manipulates popular culture such as: music, film, literature, arts, and advertising, especially where money is involved. Far from better (Worse), it distracts attention from the real issues of intolerance, discrimination, and unequal treatment of others.
Political correctness is so prevalent today that it censors even the very manner in which we tell time. “BC” (Before Christ) and “AD” (Anno Domini, Latin meaning, in the year of our Lord) has changed to the Christian-neutral “BCE” (Before the Common Era) and “CE,” respectively. It is common for people in the United States to use the term “people of faith” when referring to people with religious beliefs parallel to the term “people of color.”
Commercials in the United States are replacing “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays” or “Season's Greetings,” and Corporate America has followed suit replacing “Christmas” itself on calendars with "Winter Holiday," "December Holiday," "Winter Break," or other secular and generic terminology. People can use whatever term that suits their fancy. I would gladly accept a brand new four-wheel drive, convertible Holiday Present any time of year! On December 27, 2005, the Washington Post printed an article criticizing George W. Bush for sending Christmas cards that wished a happy holiday season rather than amerry Christmas. However, in the US it might be appropriate to indulge in the expressions “Holiday tree” and “Holiday lights.” Terms aptly named for those who apathetically insist that these are permanent fixtures vis-à-vis seasonal decorations.
Finding religious harmony in the land of the free however, has met with some deferred success (failure). Which is why I think it is about time we declared Christianity as the State Religion. After all, Christmas, a Christian holiday, is a federal holiday. We could then exercise military force and put an end to those people who steal the baby Jesus from church Nativity Scenes. We could catch these “morally deficient” people and show them off in front of the CNN cameras. We would use them as public examples of intolerant behavior and justify our new federal religion, anything to keep the mass’ delusions going. I am sorry; did someone say, paradigm managing (crusade)? No, I thought we turned this management over to the terrorists. Besides, Christmas is a time when we pour our hearts out to the unaffiliated petitioners for private sector funding(panhandlers). We do not judge them because we could be them if we were involuntarily leisured (fired).
Yes, we went to great lengths to keep religions out of our government and to welcome and accept people of different creeds. That is why if someone whishes me a Happy Chanukah I thank them. If a good friend invites me over for Kwanzaa dinner, I come. If someone of another faith approaches me and asks if they could pray for me, I might politely decline, or if at a cross walk, I might say, “Sure, what the hell, pray for me,” at least until the light turns green!
When I was younger, I had a speech impe—impedim—I used to stutter, and I grew up convinced that only a sadist would insert an “s” in the word “lisp.” Through changes in diet and a myriad of oral exercises, to include rapping along with various Hip-Hop artists on the radio I was able to improve my condition to a subtle slur. However, I do not have it as bad as themorons do, that is the term Psychologists used to use. Chronologically, the moron or thee idiot became the mentally retarded, which in turn became the slow, then the mentally handicapped, to the mentally disabled, on to the mentally challenged, and now the developmentally disabled. Broader terms include special needs and learning difficulties. Not to worry though, thesemock modestly oppressed people catch on quick to their dynamically changing euphemisms.
The situation complicates itself further by the fact that members of identity groups sometimes embrace terms that others seek to change. For example, deaf culture has always considered the label “deaf” as an affirming statement of group membership and not insulting or disparaging in any way. The term now often substituted for the term “deaf,” hearing-impaired, developed to include people with hearing loss due to aging, accidents, and other causes. While more accurate for those uses, many deaf people consider the term “hearing-impaired” belittling.
When I was a young boy, it was cool to ride in the back (way back) of the bus, and therefore, I never really understood what all the fuss over Rosa Parks was about. I thought it was a matter of alphabetical order: Anglos, Blacks—Rosa must have woken up one morning and said, “Today I’m African American!” I find this term to be outrageous! I challenge any eye that claims to be expert enough to make such a distinction. Not all Black people come from Africa and not all Black people in America are American. I must admit I agree with Mrs. Parks, having more than one label does come in handy. I, for example, am an Italian descendent Caucasian Brazilian who can pass as an Afghani. When I apply for a job I am white. When I apply for a scholarship, I am Latino. When I pursue the women, I am Brazilian, and when my plane is hijacked—oh come on! Who would not do that?
Political correctness is all about telling people what they want to hear, right? Not to long ago I was on a plane when I heard the pilot announce that we would be making an unscheduled less-than-safe landing (crashing) and that all luggage would have to be purged to reduce the damage of the remaining cargo (passengers). As I returned to my seat and buckled in, afemale flight attendant (stewardess) announced that, we needed to purge more cargo and articulated how “the needs of the many out weigh the needs of the few,” and asked for volunteers. Realizing our predicament, we convinced the unbiased flight attendant that it would be just to discriminate alphabetically. Cooperatively she announced, “Will all the African-American people please excuse them selves from the plane (jump off)?” We exchanged puzzled looks and remained seated. The flight attendant then asked, “Will all the Black people please excuse them selves from the plane?” Frustrated, the flight attendant went on to importune the people of color as a little girl in the back stood up and said, “Mommy, I thought we were Black?” To which the mother replied, “Sit down honey, today we are Negroes, and we are going after the Mexicans!”
Never let the truth to get in the way of a good joke, but let us not miss the point here. In all this, the real tragedy is that I had to say, “female flight attendant,” effectively doubling the required syllables! Many Actresses now prefer the term "actor" when defining their profession. Let us imagine the horror if casting agents followed suit (“Actor Needed”), chaos would ensue, as they turn away all Actresses from auditions wherein the part in question called for a male. The idea of using the terms “male actor” for men and “female actor” for women—using two words for an expression when previously one word was perfect—highlights the logical insufficiency (idiocy) of employing such a term! Forcing to qualify a term perceived as gender-neutral with a gender-specific term as “male” or “female” is regressive. If there is to be any equality, let us cut down on the number of Oscars given at the Academy Awards by awarding only the Best Actor and the Best Supporting Actor. With men and women competing for the same Oscar, this would provide greater incentive for an award winning performance, now that is progress!
To illustrate, I will speak in generalities based on personal experiences. Remember that experiences are subjective to perception and is by no means absolute. Nevertheless, if a purple man robbed a 7-11, then the next week another purple man robbed the same store, and so on. Rhetorically I must ask, how many robberies would it take for the owner of the 7-11 to pull a gun on the next purple man to enter his store?
Most people whom I have encountered in the U.S. think that anyone north of Mexico should speak English and any country south of the border translates to Spanish-speaking. Most of them do not know that the largest Latino country in the world, by area, is Canada with Brazil in second place. On several occasions, Chicanos or Boricuas have rebuked me when I called them Latin brothers with, “Shut-up gringo, you aren’t Latino!” Few things annoy me more than the intellectually impaired. Not only was I born in the second largest Latin country in the world, by which I have rights of citizenship, but also I exercise such right as an enlisted member in the Brazilian Armed forces. In addition, I have voted for the present President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Moreover, I am well versed in Brazilian culture and history, let alone that I also speak Spanish fluently and understand Italian and French. In the US, those who frequently challenge my Latin heritage generally cannot say the same of theirs.
However, I prefer to educate instead of discriminate and hate, as I am just as susceptible to being intellectually deficient as anyone else is. Call it what they will, ignorance is the blanket that the prince of insufficient light has enshrouded over our minds. It will be a long while before we pry this blanket from his frost bitten fingers so we might as well cuddle until then. Even so, we are to realize a Zen paradox; the less ignorant we become the more we realize the magnitude of our ignorance.