Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Political Correctness

Below is an essay handed in by a college English student as part of her coursework. She was inspired by what she read on Tongue Tied. I am delighted that she sent me a copy as it is some evidence that the mind-control attempted by the Left-dominated U.S. educational system will never completely succeed.

We live in a world today where our every day lives are dictated by political correctness. People-on the job, at school, on the streets, and sometimes even in their own home-have to be concerned with every word they say; it could be misconstrued by someone as being offensive or discriminatory. When typing an email at work, it is necessary to meticulously review it for its content. If this isn't done, one risks the chance of corrective action by their employers, termination or possibly a lawsuit for discrimination. In fact, I am certain that some of you reading this will find its content offensive, merely because I am presumptuous enough to question the subject.

It is a requirement of today's society for one to be politically correct in their words and actions. This has become a difficult task as the standards of political correctness have become more complex. Words which were considered to be correct only a few years ago are now considered to be unacceptable. It was only eight years ago that Time magazine featured Ellen DeGeneres with the unforgettable line, "Yep, I'm Gay!" across the cover. Now the word gay relates strictly to men. Using it to describe a lesbian is considered improper. Since lesbians are their own distinct community, it is important to designate that, of course. Homosexual is another term that is now politically incorrect. People feel it surrounds the idea of sex, rather than a relationship, and is thought of as a negative stereotype (Norvell). Retarded was once just a factual term to describe someone we recently would refer to as mentally handicapped. However, "mentally handicapped" and "the disabled" have recently been deemed distasteful and are now to be replaced with "learning disabilities" or "people with disabilities" (Norvell, 2). Why is it that the connotations of these words change so often? How is it that calling a woman gay is an insult when just a few years back a woman would proudly say she was gay?

The terminology in regards to race and ethnicity has always been puzzling to me. Every February, America celebrates Black History Month. But wait. I though it was politically incorrect to use the word black to describe someone? We now need to say, "African-American." Most every school has a Black Student Union, but use the word black in school and you will quickly be corrected. If African-American is used, why wouldn't a person of Chinese descent but born in America be referred to as Chinese-American? Or if someone's parents were from England, could they not be an English-American? If one has "white" skin, regardless of what country their family was from, a person is simply "Caucasian" when filling out any type of paperwork.

Here in New Mexico around 40% of the population is Hispanic. A fairly common decoration for cars is writing, typically in old English lettering, on the back window stating "Brown Pride." Not Mexican pride or Hispanic pride, but brown pride. Or a popular term is to be "down with the brown." I am a Caucasian female in college, and can only imagine the reaction if I called someone who is Hispanic, "brown." I would most certainly be confronted. Or dare I even suggest we reverse the situation. Imagine if I were to drive my car around the city with lettering on the back window reading "White Pride." The public reaction would be fierce. I would expect to have people screaming at me on every street corner, calling me a racist, a white supremacist, a Nazi. I would have to fear being physically hurt, or worse. So, is it politically correct to use the terms black, brown, and white or not? Apparently the answer depends on who is saying it, whom it is being said to, and of course, it depends on the situation.

A local restaurant chain uses the slogan "Help stamp out gringo food," which is displayed on their shirts and throughout the store. Customers can even buy all types of memorabilia sporting the slogan. Almost any Mexican restaurant has a dish on the menu called the "gringo breakfast." According to, gringo is defined as "a Latin American (disparaging) term for foreigners (especially Americans and Englishmen)" (Lexico Publishing Group). Wouldn't this, then, be considered politically incorrect? This place of business is allowed to advertise using this slogan without concern or reprimand by society and the government.

It is probably necessary for me to disclose that the next few sentences contain words that are considered to be extremely racially offensive. Therefore, read further at your own discretion. states that spic is "used as a disparaging term for a Hispanic person," and nigger is "used as a disparaging term for a Black person" (Lexico Publishing Group, 2,3). When discussing this topic with someone recently, I mentioned this issue and what a public outcry it would be if someone were to open a restaurant using the slogan "Help stamp out spic food," or "Help stamp out nigger food;" equal comparisons according to the dictionary. Their response was that the gringo slogan is just a joke. So society can look at a disparaging term for a Caucasian person as a joke, but use a disparaging term towards another ethnicity and it's a horrible offense. I personally have never been offended by the gringo slogan. Though, after seriously contemplating all of this information, it makes me wonder if I should be. I certainly feel that the words spic and nigger are reprehensible and would never use either in conversation.

This issue of political correctness is starting to take all of the fun out of the world. In the UK a local council is working to cancel all grants for use of Christmas lights because they are concerned these grants do not support equality (Norvell, 3). For as long as some can remember at the University of Arizona, students have honored the tradition of throwing tortillas at graduation. Students participating in this activity are now looked down on because it is offensive to Mexican-Americans (Norvell, 5). I wonder if any weddings are looked down on because people had a tradition of throwing rice-a common dish to those of Oriental descent. Celebrating Halloween is not even acceptable in some schools. A five-year old child in Tulsa, Oklahoma was forced to spend the whole day at school in nothing but his underwear because he wore a costume, which the school didn't permit (R6). What is a world where you can't wear Halloween costumes to school, marvel at the city Christmas lights, or throw food in celebration? Not the world I grew up in, that's for sure.

I have determined it is nearly an impossible task to be completely politically correct. I imagine that with the rapid changes in acceptable terminology, before we know it schools will be required to hold classes on political correctness. People dislike social labels, but also want to be correctly labeled. People want to be distinct individuals and distinctly grouped with others. The boundaries of political correctness are hard to determine. It only takes one person's perception of an action or statement for it to be construed as offensive. I would hope that a person in this world could relax, have fun, don't worry and be happy. But one can't relax when having to be concerned with political correctness and its consequences every time they act, speak and with every word they write.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


An email from a reader about an arrogant bureaucracy:

The U.S. Postal Service has just stripped away my right to receive U.S. Mail. That right is given in US Code 39. (39USC403c). The reason for mail denial is based on reprisal. The U.S. Postal Service falsely informed U.S. Senator Jon Kyl that I had not produced two forms of required ID for my mail Service in Show Low Arizona. Here are a couple of facts that may be of interest to you.

1. Two forms of ID (Arkansas Driver's license, plus military ID) were presented and recorded on PS Form 1093 upon my application for mail service in March of 2002.

2. I have obtained a copy of the PS Form 1093 through the Freedom of Information Act, which clearly shows the recording and acceptance of my Driver's license and military ID.

3. The purpose of the reprisal is because I challenged an unlawful policy by the Show Low Arizona Postmaster. Now I am paying a price for the freedom that I, and my military family, has fought for in nearly every war the U.S. has ever fought.

While convicted murderers and rapist get their mail in prison, I am denied mail because I challenged an unlawful policy. While convicted murderers and rapist get their medications, my medication, which is critical for my disease, as a result of combat, is being refused for delivery by the mail service.

I'm not black, and I'm not Muslim, I'm not a law breaker, but I am a law abiding, tax paying disabled American Veteran, who continued to work for 35 years despite my enabling disabilities.

The source of the conflict

The Postmaster instructed his clerks to inform the patrons that if their mail boxes overflowed three times within the rental period (normally 6 months) then they could take adverse action against the patron.

I knew this was not right, so I researched the U.S. Postal Service Domestic Mail Manual, (Postal Law) which states in paragraph 4.4.4 (Overflow), under 508 Recipient Services, “When mail for a customer's post office box(es) exceeds the capacity of the box(es) on 12 of any 20 consecutive business days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays), the customer must use caller service, change to a larger box, or use one or more additional boxes (subject to availability) to which mail will be addressed”.

I challenged the Postmaster's illegal 3 day overflow policy. I even quoted the Postal Law verbatim in writing, and asked that he provide me the authority that permitted him to deviate, alter, or make up his own law, (which no postmaster can do)

Well, he refused to respond, so then I attempted to contact the Postmaster General in Washington D.C. with an official complaint. Three letters to the Postmaster General went unanswered. I wrote a letter to the Postal Advocate in Washington D.C.. It went unanswered. I wrote a letter to the Phoenix AZ Postal Consumer Affairs. It went unanswered.

Finally I wrote U.S. Senator Kyl and requested assistance in obtaining an answer from the Postmaster General. That's when the Postal Service intentionally provided the Senator with false information and eventually refused mail service.

I had no problems during the nearly four years of mail service at my P.O. Box. I was never asked to resubmit any ID during the entire time. Although my valid ID had been produced to postal clerks on a number of occasions, including after the Postal Service informed the Senator of their plans to discontinue my mail service.


Barry Connell (