How the alt-right gets PC wrong
Donald Trump has spent much of the 2016 presidential campaign railing against political correctness. And you know what? I agree with him.
People today get offended too easily. They can’t take a joke. Some of them have never experienced actual oppression, and they develop a compulsion to find something that angers them. In fact, when faced with differing opinions, they react so quickly with outrage that they effectively prevent any dialogue when it comes to the real issues facing this country. You probably know the type I’m talking about.
They’ve never been exposed to ideas other than their own, which has instilled within them a deathly fear of venturing outside their little bubble. Their fragile egos quarantine them from anyone who might challenge their views, and as a result, they expect everyone else to cater to what they deem acceptable.
I’m not talking about the so-called social justice warriors.
I’m talking about the people typically found in the comments section on ESPN’s Facebook page, complaining about how un-American Colin Kaepernick is and demanding he be banned from the NFL. For all they complain about political correctness, many conservatives today are just as sensitive as their counterparts on the left — perhaps moreso.
But before delving too far into the Kaepernick controversy, we should explore what political correctness means.
The phrase came into being in the late 1940s and early 1950s in Herbert Kohl’s examination of Stalinist Russia, where he used it to describe anything deemed appropriate by the Communist Party. In this sense, refusing to stand for the national anthem, a form of dissent against the state, is much more politically incorrect than, say, calling someone a racial epithet.
Today, “PC” is mostly used in a degrading manner to refer to those who avoid using slurs against people of certain identities.
Sure, some people take the idea a bit too far — refusing to talk about a subject altogether instead of addressing it delicately — but by and large, today’s anti-PC crusaders such as Mr. Trump do not want a civil discussion. They want an excuse to be racists, sexists and misogynists.
Somehow, over the last 70 years, the meaning of “politically incorrect” evolved from “critical of government” to “being a giant jerk.”
Let’s go back a month. On Sept. 9, Hillary Clinton referred to half of Trump’s supporters as “irredeemable” and “a basket of deplorables.” They didn’t applaud her for being “politically incorrect.” Instead, the comments garnered nothing but vitriol, eventually forcing her to apologize and retract her statements.
Let that sink in for a second. The ostensibly thick-skinned, anti-PC warriors of the alt-right forced a presidential candidate to retract a statement she made because they found it… too offensive? A bit ironic, to say the least.
And yet, in a twisted way, one can almost make sense of this reasoning. Secretary Clinton, after all, has worked in politics for most of her adult life; if we can’t expect political correctness from a political figure, who should we expect it from?
Certainly not average people like you. Or me. Or Colin Kaepernick. A popular, outspoken athlete who not-so-subtly accused Hillary Clinton of racism? He should fit the bill for paragon of political incorrectness. But because the anti-PC crowd disagreed with his taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality, they made him a pariah.
Many folks on the right immediately ripped him apart for his form of protest, and, in doing so, unwittingly exposed a double standard. If these people were really fighting a war against political correctness, Colin Kaepernick’s actions would make him a right-wing hero.
Because of the invectives they direct against him, they not only display their own hypocrisy, but also forfeit their right to complain about others being too sensitive.
Here’s the thing about political correctness: it goes both ways. In the end, you can argue that people today get offended too easily. You might even have a point.
Just don’t forget that next you feel offended.
Written by: Zach Moore