Yohannon (yohannon) wrote,
Yohannon
yohannon

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Breathing In and Out...

Roni and I saw "Undercover Brother" this weekend, and delighted in both the UN-politically correct stance it took and the sight of Doogie Howser, MD getting stoned. Laughed way too hard, which is to say we laughed enough.

I have a friend who once wrote that people who complained about "political correctness" had not dealt with their own internalized hatred and racism. While I understand what he meant, I feel that I must disagree: Political correctness may have started out as a well- intentioned means of trying to help people adjust their thinking, but it transformed into heavy handed suppression somewhere between reason and education and fascist orwellian newspeak.

It is now all too easy to brand thoughts and ideas with which we disagree with labels and condemnation, without considering WHY people believe as they do, or (more importantly) why you're disagreeing in the first place. Knee jerk rejection towards certain types of humor, beliefs, or stances is no better than the perceived damage caused by those items in the first place: Witness the brouhaha surrounding the Abercombie and Fitch "Two Wongs Can Make It White" tee-shirt fiasco. The fiasco is NOT, as many would believe, that A & F manufactured and offered for sale the shirt in the first place, but that so-called "Defense" group's outcry against it. By declaring that A & F was fostering "hate" by using stereotypical humor, they managed to both annoy vast numbers of people and encourage more of those shirts to enter circulation, either as orginals or bootlegs, then EVER would have been sold in the first place. I know I, for one, never would have heard of the shirt, and would have dismissed it out of hand if I had seen it either in a store or on a body somewhere.

I must really suck if you're a member of a group and have "stereotypical" leanings. What if you're of asian decent, and want to open a Laundry? Irish, and want to open a bar? Hell, if you're black and actually like fried chicken, you probably have to have it delivered to a PO box for fear of being branded a traitor to the efforts of assimilation, right?

The fact is, attacking the manifestation of a stereotype does little to eliminate it, simply because the stereotypes EXIST. What must be fought, and guarded against vigilantly, is the use of stereotypes to force people into a specific role. Don't attack people because they wear a tee-shirt with an atrocious pun on it or for offering it for sale (though groaning is perfectly acceptable), make it clear that saying it's the ONLY existence available to a group of people is what can't be abided.

Asians DO run Laundries. They are also Doctors, Lawyers, Business people and a myriad of other things. Stop bitching about stereotypes, and prove you're not locked in to them. However, don't damage yourself because you happen to have things about you that FIT those stereotypes either -- in other words, from here on forward, simply pretend that the stereotype never existed, and be who or what you are, completely and utterly without apology.

If the politically correct mafioso don't like it, they can go fuck themselves.
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