who is politically correct?
October 27, 2008 § Leave a comment
please stop trying to be politically correct around me. if you have felt some invisible pressure to clean up your language around me…please stop. i am not politically correct. actually, i hate politically correctness. i like direct, raunchy, unsentimental language. i like words like black (instead of person of african descent or whateva is the latest nomenclature) and shit (instead of bowel movement).
anyone who has not realized this basic fact about me has missed something major about my personality. i like my whisky straight.
i am politically engaged, but i resent most to all attempts to be politically correct.
to me being politically engaged is being willing to stand up in the fire and fight for what you believe in. being politically correct is the opposite of that. it is thinking that using the right language can stand in place for real action.
i have a sweet spot in my heart for hanging out with old cranky loud men in bars who aren’t afraid of offending anyone and who aren’t easily offended. i like the south where the racism is more direct and so it is easier to disagree, rather than northern racism where it is all hidden under this cloud of politically correctness. this is why i love living in the west bank, where people are too politically engaged (for their survival)–they dont have time to worry about using the right elevated words to describe their fucked-up situation.
this is why i had to put my blog revolution of the lilies on hiatus. it was becoming too much of a burden worrying about offending people if i used the wrong word or wrote about topics which are not appropriate for polite society (like sex, and crazy family dynamics, and too many curse words and drugs and such)–i was self-censoring. and anyone who knows me knows that i follow voltaire’s line: i may not agree with what you say but i will fight to the death for your right to say it…in other words, i am very anti-censorship…and if you say something or write something fucked up, i will probably laugh my ass off and then deconstruct it, and i expect, actually i hope that you do the same to me.
let me give an example: before i moved out of my last apartment, i was sitting outside drinking beers with a bunch of guys who live in the building. they had become our little community this summer. and as happens they started on why everyone should be allowed to say: nigga. now i have contended (contradicting my last paragraph) that really only black folks get a carte blanche to use that word. we re-appropriated it. we own it. but there was one latino, three white guys, and me, all throwing around the word nigga arguing who can and cannot use it. (this is super-ironic because i rarely rarely use the word unless i am quoting some one else…but you know when in rome…) and finally i said: look, yall can say the word if you want, but just note that you are inviting a beat-down. a bunch of white guys throwing around the word nigga, could be interpreted as asking to be slapped upside the head…but hey you can say it all you want…
i had a great time that night. and so did aza. they think of her as the lil princess of the tribe. they dont really understand anything about what we do, but they are good folks.
i am really uncomfortable around people when i am having to check my language constantly. it makes me nervous, and self-doubting, and want to drink and smoke a cigarette–just so my mouth is busy and i dont say the wrong thing. i came to this realization this spring and summer as i have been hanging out with various parts of the fam…i realized that the parts of the familia that i feel are the most politically correct and thus i am really uncomfortable around them, are under the erroneous impression that i am politically correct. how funny. and then when i am not politically correct they give the fucking silent treatment or whateva other passive techniques for me to change my language. other parts of the familia assume that we arent going to agree on everything and so we have open arguments about stuff and people arent really threatened by the act of discussing differences passionately and often with humor (i love a good joke), because no one is trying to prove to anyone else that they are politically correct.
arguing is fun. debating is fun. and if that is not your style…okay…but the people i best relate to arent the ones who share my politically beliefs or lifestyle choices (how boring is that!) but those who live their lives with passion, who are willing to stand up for what they believe in, who would rather say something wrong than just remain quiet. i know that jesus said blessed is the meek, but have you noticed that most people who have the least material resources are the ones who take life by the horns and ride hard laughing all the way?
so i am putting this out there in cyberspace. if you are naturally politically correct–do your thang, then…im not going to stop you. but dont expect me to be comfortable around it. i will try to assimilate into your politically correct world but i am not going to hang out there any longer than i have to. and the first chance i get i will probably go to some hole in the wall bar with a bunch of old guys and gals who have worked union for the past 20 years and put some hank williams jr on the juke box and rock out.
it’s a family tradition.