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  • Writer's pictureErika Nichols-Frazer

Being Politically Correct Isn't a Bad Thing

Trump criticized the Washington Red Skins FINALLY considering changing their unbelievably offensive name (for financial reasons rather than ethical ones, of course) for being "politically correct," dismissing nationally-celebrated racism as somehow patriotic, I guess? Just like he told a reporter he was being "politically correct" for wearing a mask, you know, by caring about basic public safety. He wields this phrase like a weapon. Dare to try to be conscientious of the impact of your words and actions? Politically correct! It's somehow become an insult to be considerate and self-aware, to think about the implications of what you do and say and the real hurt that may cause.

My roommate my freshmen year of college and I weren't best friends. She and one of her friends were always trash-talking other people and being negative; I didn't really enjoy being around that. One day, I was doing homework in our room while they were talking and the friend said, "My brother is such a fucking Holocaust victim."

"Nope," I said as I stood up and slammed my computer shut. "Not dealing with your bullshit."

"Ugh, you're so PC," she said, as I stormed off to the library.

I could have said, if not comparing your skinny brother to victims of heinous human rights violations is PC, I'm cool with that. I could have said, you're glibly dismissing the horrendous trauma and systemic murder of millions of people; perhaps you should be a little more PC. Instead, I just got the hell out of there. But that comment stuck with me. She dismissed the impact of her ignorant words out of hand by turning it around on me. If I was offended by her offensive speech, then it was somehow my fault for being "PC." WTF?

This week's statement is yet another example of how the egomaniac in the oval office gaslights the American people. He gives himself and his supporters permission to say whatever offensive bullshit comes to them and, if the people their hate speech targets are offended by their intentionally offensive vitriol, they've made the mistake of being "politically correct." Let's think about that. So, the better alternative is to intentionally be politically incorrect? Meaning, let's bait minorities and victims of injustice, invoking decades or even centuries of racism/intolerance/violence people like them have endured, and, if they react, that's on them. Free speech!

Shouldn't the person elected to represent an entire nation be, you know, politically correct? Doesn't that person have a responsibility to those he represents (whether we like it or not, which, to be clear, I don't) to be cognizant of the implications of his speech? Isn't that, like, Leadership 101? If you don't understand the historical or social impact of your words, fucking learn. That's your responsibility. It's not on the people you're offending to tailor their reactions, lest they be deemed too politically correct. He wants that reaction; he actually sees it as winning (can we talk about how fucked up that is? Our president considers it a victory when he can offend an entire population of our country. And we're all the losers.).

There are nearly seven million Native Americans living in the U.S. today. The violent erasure of Native American cultures and rights is something they have to live with every day. Though many states have changed Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples' Day, there's still a federally-recognized holiday that essentially celebrates this erasure and colonial rewriting of history to honor those who raped and murdered Native peoples, and it's still happening today. Yet, you can turn on the TV and root for a team - one that represents our nation's capital, nonetheless - that bears an offensive moniker that dehumanizes this nation's Native peoples. How is that still OK? The Red Skins' name change is ridiculously overdue, and yet, our president goads these Native cultures by mocking those who think this is wrong as a bunch of politically correct snowflakes (It seems appropriate to recognize that there actually was a rare political victory for Native Americans this week, as the Supreme Court recognized half of Oklahoma as a Native American reservation. Great, but not enough to make up for our sordid history of violence and exclusion of Native peoples. And, doesn't change how offensive terms like "red skin" and their inclusion on the national stage still are. One small step isn't enough.).

We have a president who can't stand up and say this is unequivocally wrong, Native people matter, Black Lives Matter, the lives of people our country has systemically erased, discriminated against, and perpetuated violence against matter. That's too politically correct.

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