This business of being politically correct is a chronic ill that has to be transcended if American society is ever going to have anything even remotely resembling integrity.
Take all the hell that got raised over Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada being busted for referring, in 2008, to then-Senator Barack Obama and presidential candidate as “light skinned…with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” Well?
Obama is relatively light. He’d certainly would pass the old paper-bag test that New Orleans soirees used to have at the door in order for Black people to go to fancy dances.
He speaks the proverbial king’s English as smoothly has any other Ivy League-educated individual, and while there aren’t any recordings of him talking trash in the same tongue as regular Black folk, you can bet your last money that when he and Michelle feel like it, they chat stuff up a breeze.
Reid didn’t say a single thing that wasn’t so. The only wrong was that he was a White person saying it, and a White man on top of that – our favorite whipping post when the race card comes into play. If some hoop-shooting homeboy of Obama’s had said the same thing, nobody would give two bowel movements.
It was just politically incorrect for Reid to say anything except something about how wonderful Obama was, is, and always will be. Now, the man’s bid for re-election this year, already an uphill climb, is tougher still, for no other reason than that people only want to hear truths said by whoever they give permission to tell it.
Another example: In December, Annise Parker was elected mayor of Houston, and everybody hopped up and down about how great is that she is a lesbian. While it is a godsend that her sexual orientation didn’t hamstring her run for public office in a state where documented incidents of unbridled bigotry surprise absolutely no one (remember Brandon McClelland’s death from being dragged behind a truck?), that cannot be her all-defining characteristic.
Nor, she says, does she want it to be. During the campaign, asked whether she’d use her juice to overturn Houston’s ban on benefits to gay partners, she replied, “I believe the city of Houston [eventually] will offer domestic partner benefits, but it will require a vote of the citizens.” Good for her.
Though, surely, you can imagine the grousing and grumblings of those who mumbled “sellout” because she wasn’t storming the gates in a crusade. She didn’t run in order to serve only lesbians, she ran in order to serve Houston.
Further, both she and that other spotlighted first, the president, don’t have anywhere near as much freedom to fail as others. Let Obama mess around and do as lousy a job as Bush did (which, the way things are going, he just might) and not only will he not get re-elected, it’ll be a cold day in hell before anybody at all Black gets to run the White House again.
Let Parker fall on her face and the next lesbian Houston mayor will have to wait until she’s in office before letting the people know what happens when the bedroom door is closed.
Finally, in more immediate circumstance, nitwits in cities everywhere who grandstand at community meetings to insist that city hall bend over backward to have Black cops patrol Black neighbors in the inner city should be shot with sugar, honey and iced-tea, then put in jail for stinking. More Black cops are not the answer to racial profiling, police brutality, and the other complaints we constantly have against cops.
Hell, there are policemen and policewomen of color who will give you a hard time quick as look at you. Power-drunken sadism is not the sole province of White officers.
We don’t need more Black cops in Black neighborhoods. We need more cops who are going to do their job fairly, whether they are Black, White, Brown, Yellow, Red or plaid with polka dot stripes.
As long as American society lets knee-jerk sentiment run things, it will have its mind tied to its behind. Instead of empowering anyone, this idiocy of being politically correct will sabotage any and all efforts to have authentic social progress.
Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.