Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Posts Tagged ‘Political correctness’

Political correctness reaches a new milestone

Posted by sanityinjection on August 22, 2017

Until today, I felt pretty certain that over the past couple of decades, I had witnessed every variation of political correctness, to the point that I could no longer be surprised by whatever lunatic nonsense is foisted upon us by those who believe in the right to never be offended.

Until today.

That’s when I read this story over at Outkick the Coverage. I encourage you to read the story, and the comments, yourself. I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t believe this actually happened at first. But let me summarize: In the wake of the unfortunate events that recently took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, ESPN was apparently very concerned about mentioning anything to do with the Confederacy during their broadcast of the college football game between William and Mary and the University of Virginia. How concerned, you ask? Enough that they re-assigned one of the broadcasters scheduled to call the game to a different game because of his name: Robert Lee.

That’s right, because the sportscaster happens to share his very common first and last name with the Confederacy’s legendary general, Robert E. Lee, whose statue was the focus of the protests in Charlottesville, ESPN thought someone might be offended by HIS NAME.

Incidentally, Mr. Lee does not appear to be any sort of white supremacist, seeing as how he’s an Asian-American fellow. But apparently, ESPN thinks just the sound of his name might be too triggering for some.

The phenomenal idiocy of this is almost too much to comprehend. How many people named Robert Lee do you think there are in this country? Should they all have stayed home for a week so as not to offend anyone by their existence? Should Robert G. Lee, professor of American Studies at Brown, have taken an immediate sabbatical so as to preserve the campus as a “safe space”? Should Robert Lee, the English golfer, have stayed off the links for a week out of extreme politeness? Should Florida Episcopal preacher Robert V. Lee have let someone else spread the word of God for a little while? If anybody at ESPN happens to be reading, here’s a whole list of folks you probably don’t want to mention on air for a while.

Hyperbole, yes. But I am merely illustrating the logical extension of the ridiculous notion that someone should be hidden from public view because they happen to share the same name as an unpopular historical figure. It is neither rational nor reasonable to order a society on the basis that you ought to be able to go through life never hearing the name of someone you don’t like! Germany has some of the strictest anti-racism laws around, but even they didn’t try to ban people from naming their kids “Adolf”.

It would be easy to write this off as a “cover-your-ass” overreaction by a TV network already struggling as a result of their own over-politicization. What is disturbing is not so much the stupidity or craven cowardice of ESPN brass, but rather the larger prevailing climate of political correctness that leads to this kind of idea not being laughed right out of the meeting room.

I respect those who feel that leaders of the Confederacy should not be honored on public property. I understand why people might find their statues offensive. But if a person is going to be thrown off the rails simply by hearing the name Robert Lee, or even the odious Nathan Bedford Forrest, then it is that person who has a problem, and it is not society’s job to cater to them. When we have created a climate where a major media outlet like ESPN genuinely fears they will be the target of protests if they let an Asian-American reporter named Robert Lee call a game in Virginia, then it is time for some man-made climate change.

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Posted in Current Events, Domestic News, Politics, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Donald Trump: Dislike him for the right reasons

Posted by sanityinjection on August 8, 2015

For the second time in recent months, I find myself in the unpleasant position of coming to the defence of Donald Trump. For the record, I dislike Trump, and I think his Presidential candidacy is an absurdity and an embarrassment to the Republican Party.

However, when Trump was pilloried by the media and some of his fellow candidates over his remarks concerning criminal behavior by illegal immigrants coming from Mexico, I felt compelled to rise in his defense. The media inaccurately portrayed Trump as having asserted that Mexican immigrants are all criminals and rapists, when in fact he said nothing of the kind. What he did say – and said again in Thursday’s debate – is that among the illegals surging across our border are criminals and rapists from Mexico and other Latin American countries, and that the Mexican government is deliberately encouraging these criminals to cross the border so that they become America’s problem and not Mexico’s. Is Trump a bigot? Maybe he is, but that is not a bigoted statement. I happen to believe it is an accurate one, and the increasing number of violent criminal arrests in this country of illegal immigrants supports the assertion. However, Trump’s subsequent retweeting of an inappropriate comment about Jeb Bush and his Hispanic wife is not defensible. You do not attack a candidate’s spouse.

Now I am once again forced to defend Trump’s most recent controversial remarks about Fox News personality and debate questioner Megyn Kelly. His phrase about “blood coming out of her, wherever” has been taken by many to be a reference to menstruation, which if true would certainly be an inappropriate and sexist remark. And it has already got him disinvited from the upcoming RedState conservative forum by founder Erick Erickson.

However, Trump insists that once again, his meaning has been misconstrued. He was complaining about Kelly’s apparent eagerness to attack him during the debate, and referred first to “blood coming out of her eyes” as a metaphoric illustration of her intent.

I don’t know how anyone who watched the debate could fail to agree with Trump that Kelly was out to get him. You could see her practically salivating at the prospect of being the person who single-handedly brought down Trump’s campaign. The opening question about pledging not to run as an independent and support the party’s nominee was transparently aimed directly at Trump. Trump’s remark does make sense in that context. Is Trump a sexist? Maybe he is, but I don’t think his remark was a sexist one. Kelly is not the most reputable or professional TV commentator around. One ought to able to criticize the questionable conduct of a female professional without being labeled as sexist.

Frankly, all of this faux outrage is just playing into Trump’s hands. He can now dismiss any criticism of his childishness and buffoonery as “just more political correctness”, because his critics have chosen to focus on specific allegedly offensive comments rather than on his entire demeanor and behavior, which is offensive to everyone.

There’s no need to try to twist Trump’s words around in order to undermine him. His consistent jackassery should be quite sufficient to do that for him. But even a jackass, like a stopped clock, is right twice a day. Trump is right about Mexico, and he’s right about Megyn Kelly.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Let educators design curriculum, but not when they’re idiots.

Posted by sanityinjection on March 4, 2010

In the ongoing debates about how to best educate our children, teachers (and their unions) often make the point that no one is better qualified to design curriculum than educators themselves. The argument is designed to resist interference both by government and by activist school committees and parents’ groups. And on paper, it’s a good argument.

The problem is that every now and then you get a group of educators whose minds have been so permanently addled by the corrosive soup of political correctness and identity politics that they swim in every day, that they come up with something so idiotic that it calls the argument of professional expertise into question.

Now if you’re thinking that I might just have a specific example in mind, you’d be right. The latest stupidity comes to us from (surprise) San Francisco, a city which as readers know is already legendary for its tolerance of the outrageous but never ceases to try to push the envelope to further heights of goofiness.

To state it simply: The city’s school board has decided to offer in its high schools a freshman course in ethnic studies which will earn college credit in the state university system. Further, the course is pass/fail, not graded – and unlike any other high school program that earns college credit, is aimed at poor students rather than advanced ones.

There are so many things wrong with this that one almost doesn’t know where to begin. It is beyond obvious that the purpose of this course is not to teach the students anything of value, but rather to boost their ethnic self-esteem and encourage them to set a goal of attending college. (No one would ever admit it, but you can bet that white students will be “discouraged” from taking this class, if not outright prevented.) Said one student: “How can I know who I can be if I don’t know who I am? Ethnic studies provides me with the foundation to learn who I am.” Wrong. Ethnic studies encourage you to base your identity on your ethnicity and see yourself in terms of group identity rather than as an individual. Nothing could be further from American ideals.

Leaving aside the question of whether high schools should even be offering ethnic studies when they can barely teach English and math, the notion of offering college credit for a pass/fail course simply demeans the value of the credits awarded. (Incidentally, nobody actually fails – they just transfer you out of the class. So it’s really “pass/pass”.) Why should anyone aspire to attend college if it is revealed to be a joke? And how can students be expected to succeed in college if this is the sort of preparation they’re receiving?

This nonsense came to the school board from the faculty at San Francisco State University. Like all school boards, they assume that college professors – professors of *education*, no less – must know what they’re doing when it comes to designing curriculum. But at what point does somebody have to put their foot down and insist on some collective common sense being applied to the situation? Of course, in San Francisco, common sense was banished by municipal ordinance a long time ago.

Posted in Domestic News, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Political correctness run amok

Posted by sanityinjection on January 4, 2010

The award for Terminal Stupidity in Political Correctness goes to Yahoo! “Buzz”, a section of Yahoo’s website where users can buzz up or down items of interest. In referencing an AFP story (ironically posted uncensored on Yahoo! News) about increased flight security restrictions on people from Nigeria, Yahoo! Buzz decided that “Nigeria” was a naughty word and replaced all mentions of the word in the article header and comments with “n****ia”. Needless to say, such overzealous bowdlerizing achieves the opposite of its intent. You can view the ridiculousness here.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

PC police suspend LA sports announcers

Posted by sanityinjection on November 29, 2009

Two sports broadcasters who cover the terminally awful Los Angeles Clippers basketball team were recently suspended for comments they made about a member of the visiting Memphis Grizzlies team who is from Iran.

I started reading the story and was waiting to find out exactly what offensive thing they had said about Grizzlies’ center Hamed Haddadi. I was expecting to read that they had joked about him being a terrorist or made some derogatory remark about Islam. Imagine my astonishment, then, when I got to the end of the story and found out that what had earned the duo a one-game suspension and the opportunity to profusely apologize to Haddadi (through a translator, since Haddadi speaks little English) was precisely this:

  • They mispronounced the word “Iranian.”
  • They expressed surprise that any Iranian nationals play in the NBA.
  • They jokingly compared Haddadi’s looks to the character “Borat”.
  • They complimented Haddadi’s basketball moves.

Seriously? That’s offensive and discriminatory? The only thing that could possibly be offensive is the Borat reference, and that’s pretty much par for the course as far as jokes made at the expense of visiting players. The “Borat” character isn’t Iranian or even Muslim.

Apparently all it took was one person with too much time on their hands who complained to the network to shift the PC police into hyperdrive and send these two announcers into full hand-wringing mode. To his credit, Haddadi, when thoroughly informed as to what had been said about him, didn’t see it as a big deal at all. (In his country, ethnic/religious discrimination generally involves beatings and torture, so you’ll forgive him for his failure to be outraged by a couple of dumb TV comments.) Nor did the Grizzlies organization find the matter worthy of a formal complaint. But hey, it’s Los Angeles, the third most enlightened city in California, so naturally the horse must be beaten to death.

I would have thought this matter would have been eclipsed  by the shocking revelation that somebody actually watches Clippers games on TV all the way until the end, and by the further importance of seeking mental health counseling for that individual rather than taking seriously any complaints from that quarter.

Posted in Domestic News, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Severed head opportunity for politically correct historical rewrite

Posted by sanityinjection on July 23, 2009

This is an odd and interesting story and a good example of how PC nonsense is nowadays accepted at face value, even when it’s historically false.

Our story begins with a Dutch author named Arthur Japin. Mr. Japin was working on a historical novel and happened to pay a visit to Leiden University in 2008. While there, he discovered something unusual in the university medical center’s anatomical collection: a severed human head in a jar of formaldehyde. Even more interesting, the head was that of a black man. It turned out that the head belonged to Badu Bonsu II, chieftain of the Ahanta tribe in what is now Ghana. Bonsu was decapitated in 1838 by a Dutch officer, Major General Jan Verveer.

When the discovery was announced, the Dutch government was very embarrassed. The Dutch, you see, had been in Ghana as missionaries, traders, and colonists, but also very significantly as slave traders, and Bonsu’s head was a stark reminder of  a part of Dutch history that modern Netherlanders are not proud of. On behalf of the modern members of the Ahanta tribe, the government of Ghana demanded the return of Bonsu’s head, and the Dutch government agreed. So Ghana sent elders of the Ahanta tribe to the Netherlands to bring the head back. There was a formal handing-over ceremony between Dutch officials and the Ahantas.

Nothing wrong with any of that. So far, so good. But here is where it starts to get silly.

You see, the Ahanta take the position that the beheading of Badu Bonsu was a terrible injustice. And the Dutch government seemed to accept that position, further casting the incident in the context of the Dutch slave trade and using the occasion to fall all over itself to apologize for slavery, Bonsu’s killing, and for just generally existing. The Ghanaians are now asking the Dutch to atone for their misdeeds by building schools and hospitals for the Ahanta.

What’s wrong with that, you may ask? Well, lemme ‘splain.

There is certainly nothing wrong with the Ahanta leaders being sad, angry, and embarrassed by the violent death of their ancestor. Nor is there anything wrong with the Dutch nation regretting the role it played in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, one of the most vile and atrocious institutions in the history of mankind.

But as usual, political correctness whitewashes the considerable moral complexity of historical fact. Consider these facts:

1. Slavery was a traditional practice of black tribes in Africa before the Dutch ever got there.

2. It is documented that the Ahanta chiefs sold African tribesmen captured in war as slaves to Europeans.

3. By 1838, when Bonsu was killed, the slave trade had dwindled to the point that many Dutch in Ghana were there as colonists, not slave traders.

4. The Dutch had sent two emissaries to Badu Bonsu, who had them executed and their heads displayed as trophies. Bonsu’s own killing by Verveer was in retaliation for this act.

Armed with these facts, we can conclude that Bonsu’s killing was not a one-sided atrocity committed by evil Dutch slave traders against an innocent African chieftain. It was a retaliatory measure, using the same methods used by Bonsu himself, that cannot be linked specifically to the slave trade at all.

Now, if the government of the Netherlands wants to build schools and hospitals in Ghana out of the goodness of its heart, fine. But there is no basis for them to be extorted over the affair of Bonsu’s head. The Ahanta were not helpless victims of the Dutch; they were active participants in the slave trade who profited from it. As for Badu Bonsu, he reaped the justice that he himself exactly sowed. Today, we would never condone his killing, but neither would we condone the killings of others that  he ordered. Is one more blameworthy than the other?

If you read the AP news article on this carefully, you will note that the Ahanta leaders even tried to con a second free trip to the Netherlands out of this – unsuccessfully.

The moral of this story is simple. History is written in shades of gray. No nation or tribe has a monopoly on good or evil. For nations to spend time and money apologizing for things that happened over 150 years ago is an exercise in futility at best and fraud at worst. But there is no shortage of people in many countries eager to exploit Western feelings of guilt for their own profit. Badu Bonsu, who would have wasted no opportunity to enrich himself and his tribe, would be proud.

Posted in Foreign Affairs, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Wait, I’m confused…who are we not supposed to insult again?

Posted by sanityinjection on February 4, 2009

Teenage pop starlet Miley Cyrus is apparently in trouble again for having been caught on camera making “slanty-eyed” faces in imitation of Asians:

http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE5125ZK20090203

While I’m sure Cyrus didn’t intend to insult Asians or Asian-Americans, I can understand why the gesture could be offensive to them. But that’s not the aspect of the story that really caught my attention. Cyrus is, after all, an immature teenager, and we should not be shocked when she occasionally gets caught behaving like one, despite the fervent attempt by the Annie Liebowitz segment of society to treat her like an adult because she’s pretty and in Hollywood.

No, I’m much more interested in the group that issued the complaint. The poorly written Reuters story only identifies them as “OCA”, which seemed pretty cryptic. Their statement, however, referred to “Asian Pacific Americans”, which was a phrase I hadn’t heard before. It’s getting hard to keep up with the terminology; it’s almost as if these groups keep renaming themselves just to force us to keep paying attention to them. During my childhood in the 70s and early 80s, it was considered perfectly fine to refer to “Orientals”. Then we were told to say “Asians” and “Asian-Americans”. Now apparently, “Asian Pacific Americans” has been coined to prevent those pesky Indians, Pakistanis, Persians, Afghans, and steppe Muslims from glomming onto the Asian minority bandwagon.

A quick web search confirmed my hunch. “OCA” is the new name of the former “Organization of Chinese Americans”. Apparently the irony is lost on this organization that while they are pushing “Asian Pacific Americans” on the rest of us, their own organization has yet to change its name to the “OAPA”.

Posted in Current Events | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Quote of the day

Posted by sanityinjection on June 30, 2008

In a piece on the continuing assault on freedom of speech in Canada, David Warren of the Ottawa Citizen concludes with this beauty:

“The very notion that “your freedom ends when I begin to feel offended” must be shown for what it is: totalitarian flotsam in the foetid swamp of “politically correct thought.””

To quote the “Men on Film” sketch from the 1980s TV comedy “In Living Color”: I give it a “Zorro snap” in Z formation.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/06/keep_fighting.html

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »