It’s called social irresponsibility

What’s really driving the Not Your Mascots movement, among others

The author, a Cohasset resident, is a retired Chico State professor.

Recently, I received a letter saying that objecting to the misrepresentation of indigenous people (like sports mascots) was “political correctness run amok.”

“Hi Beau, University of Wisconsin will remove historic painting of interactions between white traders and Native Americans. This is another politically correct false-controversy— like the Redskins team name, Columbus Day, or Thanksgiving—where no statistical harm is proven…”

I responded: “Dear Mr. B-----: You are confusing social responsibility with political correctness. There never was any statistical ‘proof’ that using ‘nigger’ to those now referred to as African-Americans, nor that watermelon-eating, ‘happy slave’ characterizations did any ‘harm.’ Yet most of us refuse to represent African-Americans in that way, deeming it socially irresponsible to do so.”

I offer this as an example of the difference between socially responsible behavior and political correctness. Our society accepts that calling fellow American citizens despicable names and the stereotypical misrepresentation of them is socially irresponsible, not politically incorrect. That’s because historically powerful social movements have objected to the ugly words and false imagery and forced change.

The indigenous people’s Not Your Mascots movement is attempting to do the same, as is true of the feminist movement’s effort against demeaning women as “chicks” and barnyard “cackling hens.” Both are asking us, “Why do you have such a huge stake in devaluing/demeaning your fellow citizens?”

I do agree political correctness is running amok. Applying the word “contractors” to U.S. privatized “mercenaries” reeks of political correctness as does insisting obvious acts of torture are no more than “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Currently, the most “politically incorrect” thing one can do is posit the U.S. and its allies as terrorist states, or argue (with much proof) in its “War on Terror” the U.S. is conducting a “War of Terror.” Just ask the civilian victims of U.S. “Shock and Awe” (PC for terror) bombing.

The obvious difference is, these examples of politically correct/incorrectness are enforced by and serve the interests of the powerful.