In just a few days, my mother-in-law will be flying up from Mexico to finally meet her first granddaughter. We needed to make a few special arrangements for her trip, and as I went through them with the airline representative, she needed to mark down my mother-in-law’s primary language to ensure correct service.
“I’m going to make an assumption,” the woman said hesitantly, “She’s a Spanish speaker, right?”
“Yes m’am,” I responded, while silently thinking, “Uh, you mean the lady flying up from Mexico; the lady with the clearly Latino name? Is she a Spanish speaker? Well, duh!”
But then it dawned on me: in today’s hyper-sensitive culture, that airline representative has to be super careful. Because, in all likelihood, the one time she wouldn’t add the “I’m making an assumption” caveat would be the one time someone would get on her case for indeed making the assumption—and subsequently gasp in horror that someone would dare just assume a traveler from Mexico would speak Spanish, because in that one case, the traveler just so happened to speak French.
Ah, political correctness. Or, as I once wrote, the quest to be free from feeling offended.
Today, we seem to be far more fearful of being accused of “political incorrectness” than we are of the threats from Islamic State, or some other major global evil.
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Our society is so paralyzed by this obsession with achieving a politically correct nirvana that we’ve lost sight of what’s important—and we certainly can’t see how silly we look. It’s as if cleansing society of anything that could ever possibly be deemed offensive will automatically cleanse society of its murderers, racists and otherwise terrible people.
Take South Carolina, for example.
Some nut commits a heinous racial crime, and all of the sudden a historic (albeit controversial) symbol—the Confederate Flag—has got to go, pronto. And somehow, that’s going to rid the world of evil like that committed by Charleston shooter Dylann Roof.
Whether it’s South Carolina’s plan to remove the flag from the state capitol building; Bubba Watson’s decision to remove it from the famed “Dukes of Hazzard” car “The General Lee”; or suspending a volunteer firefighter for “flying a Confederate flag from an engine during a holiday parade” we’re obsessed with all things peripheral.
You see, it’s not the flag that matters. And taking it down isn’t going to fix the hearts and minds of people like Dylann Roof, or any other violent criminal.
Yet, in the light of a tragedy in Charleston, suddenly the Confederate Flag is the core problem. And to avoid social shunning (as is the case with Bubba Watson), people who previously may not have even cared (where was the sobbing South Carolina state representative before the tragic Charleston shooting?) now chime in vociferously.
It’s not unlike the throngs of people staring at an unclothed emperor in the classic tale of “The Emperor's New Clothes.” It was obvious he was wearing nothing, yet believing the narrative that the clothes were “invisible to anyone who was unfit for his office, or who was unusually stupid,” they played along like they could see the garments.
In other words, in order to avoid inevitable societal shunning (and if we all know what’s good for us) we’ll call for the removal of the Confederate Flag just as loudly as the next guy … even if deep down we know that it’s not really the source of the problem.
I’m trying to be the child who stands up and boldly tells the crowd that the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes.
As well intentioned as some people may be, eradicating the Confederate Flag isn’t about fixing the cause of a problem. If it were, (and if it could really fix problems) then why wasn’t it removed from the South Carolina State Capitol building eons ago?
You see, it’s about being politically correct per what someone decides is the cause du jour. And today, the scapegoat is the Confederate Flag.
Just stop to think about how truly ridiculous our world becomes when we select superficial scapegoats rather than dealing with our problems.
Society cheers Bubba Watson’s decision to paint over the Confederate Flag on his pop culture icon, but do people realize that if we're going to give “The General Lee” a new paint job, that we’d better rename the car, too, given General Lee’s rather significant connection to the Confederacy?
To be consistent, we should also probably also boycott actor Ben Affleck's movies because his great-great-great grandfather was the executor of an estate that owned slaves, and while we're at it, we should maybe rename the Jefferson Memorial and Washington, D.C., since those men owned slaves, too.
Shockingly, I’m not kidding about that last one; people really do want to rename the Jefferson Memorial, Washington, D.C., and even change the American Flag all because of connections to slavery.
Imagine what all we’d have to change or remove if we’re to eradicate everything in our world that might possibly have a connection to slavery, or some other error of humankind:
Photo Credit: Facebook
While we’re at it, if we’re truly trying to get rid of all vestiges of racism, then we’d probably better get rid of the Democrat Party as an institution, given its historic opposition to Civil Rights in the 1960s.
See how ridiculous and endless this becomes?
In seeking to eradicate anything and everything potentially offensive, we’re the proverbial dog chasing its tail. We'll never catch it, and in the meantime we'll only succeed in working ourselves into a useless, fruitless tizzy, while doing nothing to really address the Dylann Roofs of the world.
Meanwhile we seem to forget that we are human beings, and if history is any indication, evil will rear its head yet again. To the chagrin of many, no amount of politically correct kowtowing is going to prevent that.
What our obsession with political correctness will do, however, is ensure that free speech is ultimately blasted into oblivion.
And that’s far more dangerous to our society than a piece of history fluttering above a state capitol building.
Mary Ramirez is a full-time writer, creator of www.afuturefree.com (a political commentary blog), and contributor to The Chris Salcedo Show (TheBlaze Radio Network, Saturday, from noon to 3 p.m. ET). She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org; or on Twitter: @AFutureFree
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