The most potent weapon in the PC arsenal

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Disgust



Disgust, originally uploaded by Spencer Batchelder.

Yep, that’s the nastiest munition we have here at PC Universal (Hoydenspace sub-branch), and the damage it does to people who make insensitive and/or bigoted remarks is that – wait for it – we look at them as if they are a prejudiced lout for making an insensitive and/or bigoted remark, and maybe we move further away from them and don’t talk to them any more. Being looked at with disgust makes them feel as if they’ve done something shameful, and that makes them feel bad (but not actually ashamed, because that would be weak or something).

Ooh, yes. We PC types are so fucking oppressive towards people who will readily suck it up and self-censor what they really feel about Aunt Mabel or Cousin Frank in order to keep the family peace, but who believe that self-censoring obnoxiously prejudiced remarks in other situations is such a huge fucking imposition.

As Melissa McEwan wrote in the context of recent political news:

If you can’t make your point without gross racist caricatures, maybe you need to consider that your point isn’t worth making.

Replace racist in the quote above with any other bigotry you care to name, the sentiment is the same. If your point falls off its perch unless it’s propped up by bigoted caricatures, then what you have there is just a salesman’s gimmick to sell a dodgy product, not a point that’s actually pining for the fjords of free expression.



Categories: culture wars, ethics & philosophy, language, social justice

Tags: , , , , ,

9 replies

  1. We PC types are so fucking oppressive towards people who will readily suck it up and self-censor what they really feel about Aunt Mabel or Cousin Frank in order to keep the family peace, but who believe that self-censoring obnoxiously prejudiced remarks in other situations is such a huge fucking imposition.
    In my experience, it’s we “PC” types who are expected to self-censor– because it’s considered terribly rude in family situations to point out that someone is being racist, or sexist, or homophobic. We’re supposed to let things lie for the sake of peace, which, as Melissa also points out regularly, implies to the bigots that we agree with them (or at the very least that we have no way to respond to their vitriol). And then if you do speak up, suddenly you’re being accused of wanting to ban Santa Claus from shopping centres (when really you just want your brother to stop using the term “gay” as an insult, even though his invisible gay friend is okay with it)!

  2. I’m often rather bemused by the outrage of the “how dare you call me racist/sexist/classist just because I made a prejudiced remark?” ilk (so often accompanied by “it was just a joke” etc).
    I don’t get outraged when I’m called a murderous bitch because I support women’s right to choose abortion. Why not? Because I find the accusation entirely without merit. I disagree, obviously, and I will engage vigorously with the premise behind the accusation and attempt to debunk it, but I don’t get outraged about it.
    I suspect the outrage only arises from a nagging little voice that tells them that, yes, they are being rude at the very least, and that it is indeed uncivil to be rude and inconsiderate to others.

  3. If other people’s disgust was so powerful, no feminist could get out of bed in the morning.
    Harden the fuck up 😉

  4. I get so confused when people pull the “by pointing out my racism/sexism/ableism/whatever else, YOU’RE being rude and ruining things!” card. Apparently my comfort is irrelevant.
    I expressed my feelings on the term PC here: http://hexpletive.blogspot.com/2008/09/language-re-appropriation-and-not-being.html

  5. I got to work on my own ‘disgusted’ face last night watching Kevin ‘Bloody’ Wilson being interviewed on Denton, who thinks that calling Indigenous Australians ‘coons’ isn’t racist because “it doesn’t come from hate…” Hmmmmmmm……
    I also got to use my ‘disappointed’ face because I thought Andrew Denton was just a bit soft on him, but whose own ‘discomfort’ face was pretty apparent.

  6. Zoe, I have serious “people must like me!” baggage that I tote around and allow to make me feel crappy on a regular basis for opening my big fat feminist mouth. And was letting beat me up for the past few days.
    Thankyou for that timely reminder of a truth. 🙂
    (need more cement in my diet, obvs…)

  7. If I had a dollar for every time I got “but my friend is OK with me calling them a ranga/gay (as an insult)/ Asian (as an insult)/ faggot (as an insult) / Nigga etc”, “Can’t you take a joke Mizz?”, “But, but, but, but, I’m not being racist/sexist/ mean against gay people!” from my students I could retire at 28…

  8. Don’t forget the other tool we have is humour. If all else fails I break out into a great peal of laughter – not mocking or scornful, but unabashedly merry. Usually the protagist then becomes surly or defensive (“Well I’m not”)at which one can croon “ooooh, and you’re so CUTE when you’re angry” which always turns the laugh onto them.
    Yeah, yeah. I know it’s sad and one should be able to say what one feels. But, often after this kind of reaction someone else who was present later says “Y’know…until the other day I never realised what a wanker….(whoever)…was”.

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