Choose something you would really like to do on a weekly basis and commit to sharing it with your friends or the world on your blog. There is no limit to what you can choose, it just needs to be something you are passionate about. 52 reviews, 52 drabbles, 52 photos, 52 environmentally friendly life changes, 52 short stories, 52 haiku, 52 tours of your town. 52 of anything you would really like to do for the next year. Cut and paste this text into your blog and begin! Please tag your entries with “52 something”.
If I subtitle this series “Fifty Two Acts of Political Correctness”, do you think people will ‘get’ the reclamation?) It does lead to the short tag 52PoCo, which I find rather appealing. In music, “poco a poco” means “little by little”: making gradual changes, small steps.
Zuky has written an beautiful debunking of the pejorative, dismissive appropriation of the term “political correctness” by privileged bigots: “The Greatest Cliché: The Unexamined Propaganda of “Political Correctness””:
As it’s commonly used, “PC” is a deliberately imprecise expression (just try finding or writing a terse, precise definition) because its objective isn’t to communicate a substantive idea, but simply to sneer and snivel about the linguistic and cultural burdens of treating all people with the respect and sensitivity with which they wish to be treated. Thus, the Herculean effort required to call me “Asian American” rather than “chink” is seen as a concession to “the PC police”, an unsettling infringement on the free-wheeling conversation of, I suppose, “non-chinks”. Having to refer to black folks as “African Americans” rather than various historically-prevalent epithets surely strikes some red-blooded blue-balled white-men as a form of cultural oppression. Having to refer to “women” rather than “bitches” lays a violent buzzkill on the bar-room banter of men preoccupied with beating on their chests and off other body parts.
Simply put, the great “PC” cliché, as commonly deployed in mainstream discourse, is cultural propaganda designed to befuddle and misdirect while defending the current power structure. All politics deal with power relations, and in the debate over America’s alleged climate of “political correctness”, there’s a stark asymmetry of power between the defiant megaphone-wielders who complain of being constrained by humorless hypersensitivity from below, and the under-represented people of color, women, LGBT, handicapped, poor, and otherwise marginalized or dispossessed people who have no choice but to absorb the linguistic, cultural, and physical barbs of the ruling class. The former feel psycho-emotionally oppressed by their inability to crack puerile ethnic jokes without criticism; the latter simply are oppressed.
Some of the items on my PoCo A PoCo hit list might be words, phrases or arguments that hurt others or reinforce existing power structures; others may be acts of self-hate that need to go. Some will be changes that I’m just embarking on, others will be changes in language or usage that I’ve been working on personally for a while.
Language may not be my only inspiration; I may branch out into other areas of practice. Some will be one-liner pet peeves or one-paragraph posts, sometimes I might be inspired to write more. And I have no idea whether I’ll make the distance, the full 52, but a start is better than no effort at all.
This isn’t supposed to be prescriptive or the last word. I’m hoping to concentrate mainly (though not exclusively) on my own process throughout this. Some of these posts will be reminders to myself to stop and think before speaking, some will be little bits of obstreperation, and quite a few might be borderline or arguable cases. Feel free to engage in discussions, however I do ask that all your discussions be centred on the people on the pointy end of the power structures concerned. Antifeminist, racist, bigoted, lazy whinges will be either vigorously rebutted or deleted. I want these comments threads to be safer-spaces.
Please bear in mind that I’m not calling people out on genuine reclamation. You can read my previous thoughts on reclamation here: “Feminism Friday: Reclamation: thoughts from a fat hairy uppity angry gimp bitch”. For example, if you’re disabled and you choose to refer to yourself as a crip or a gimp, or fat and refer to yourself as fat, please don’t think that I have a problem with that! I don’t, and I engage in these usages myself.