Tuesday, April 04, 2006

How I Became a Foot-soldier in Political Correctness

One of my classes this semester is "American Political Thought" with Prof. J. Prof. J's pretty cool; he's a little crazy and tends to tangent off like crazy during his lectures. So far in this semester, we've covered Ben Franklin, Booker T. Washington, David Thoreau, Abraham Lincoln, Fredrick Douglas, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. Yesterday, we talked about Betty Freidan.

Now with the exception of Freidan, all of the pictures of these philosophers have been photographs or professional portraits: with these men looking serious and important. But with Freidan, it was a colored character of her smiling, her lips exaggerated.

I raised my hand, "Professor, why did you do a character of Freidan when all the others were portraits?" I made sure to keep my voice neutral.

I honestly could feel the eyes rolling behind me, and the whispers started.

Prof. J look chagrined. He apologized, and said that he should be aware of what he posts, as he's in a position of power.

Hearing the angry whispers, I back tracked a bit "I didn't mean to imply anything" I said.

"Yes you did." Prof J. replied. "That question has a whole host of implications behind it. Mind you, I don't think you meant to insult me or imply something about me personally"

I blushed. mainly because I did that furious back-pedaling when I should have stuck to my guns.

I am very much aware of the smallest things can be used to persuade. Hell, in my persuasion class, they talk about how half of the country takes peripheral route when deciding something: they do it just 'cause. They wouldn't be able to explain how they were persuaded if you asked them, they just were. It's interesting; they might just take the mental shortcut and like somebody's arguments because they look pretty. Or because she keyed the right connotative words. Or because he had the right backdrop.

So when people are going off on me being "too sensitive", I can see why they think that, but I also think that they are wrong. Dare I say it; they are ignorant and not sensitive enough. Well, yes and no. A cartoon isn't enough to set anybody's mind one way or the other. But, multiple showing of it, or contrasting showing of it (like in this case, I wouldn't have minded if they all were cartoons), makes people devalue it.

The culture is gender biased, hell, the LANGUAGE is gender biased. So when people say "free from political correctness" I get annoyed; yes, how dare we want to not want to hurt people's feelings, how dare we want to respect diversity, how dare we want to subvert the dominant paradigm.

I like "politically correct". It's not rebelling to be "Politically incorrect" it's rude. So I've joined the PC Police, and it was almost entirely by accident.


Here are the pictures that caused such consternation:

Here's Martin Luther King, Jr

Here's the one of Malcolm X

And finally, the last slide of the day, here's Betty Friedan


At 1:27 PM, Blogger The Happy Feminist said...

Good for you for (a) noticing the contrast between Friedan's image and the others and (b) speaking up!


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