The Prime Minister was accused of racism last week.
In case you missed it, the impossible happened this week: a gay rights campaign to stamp out homophobia in football was accused of being homophobic. Just when you were looking for a cue, it’s official – the world’s gone mad. Or politically correct mad, at least.
It’s a been a recurring issue this last week with David Cameron, no less, having to tread carefully when he contradicted the views of the Football Association and anti-racism group Kick It Out, backing Spurs fan’s right to sing the ‘y-word’. David pointed out the difference between Spurs fans calling themselves yids and others calling them yids as an insult.
Needless to say, I was as gob-smacked as you to hear common sense coming out of a politician’s mouth, let alone the prime minister, and after checking that the laws of physics were still in effect, I started to wonder why these politically correct groups insist on making a fuss out of every little innocuous utterance.
Is it because they never learned the oldest trick in the field book for wimps which states the quickest way to stop a playground bully name-calling you is to simply call yourself said name. If you can manage to do it in a more humorous manner than the bully (hardly a challenge to outsmart one) you’ll have everyone laughing with you, instead of at you, and Johnny No-Brains will be off to pick on someone else.
Or is it simply that these people have no sense of humour? Do they not see that making fun of yourself is perfectly fine, it’s when others make fun of you that it begins to be called bullying? And even then, much of it boils down to intention, as Cameron said: “You have to be motivated by hate. Hate speech should be prosecuted – but only when it’s motivated by hate.” I’m pretty sure that Stonewall, a gay rights charity responsible for plenty of progress on gay rights since 1989 – had nothing but good intentions.
Another clear example of political correctness over-reaching was when Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom recently called a journalist a ‘racist’ for pointing out the fact that his party’s conference brochure failed to show any black faces on the cover. How the journalist’s actions could be construed as racism is beyond me but it is an indication of how merely mentioning someone’s race or skin colour can easily be turned inside out. Whilst the brochure clearly shows the party’s target market, it was only Godfrey who brought up racism – suggesting it was a racist act to search out a black face. Are we then to go about our days completely oblivious to our colour (and why stop there?), race and sex.
It’s this last bit that really bugs me about political correctness: for all its good intentions of racial and sexual equality, and integration, I can’t help feeling it’s having the opposite effect. It’s human to notice characteristics in someone else, whether it be someone’s skin colour, gender or religion – but we’re being forced to fear these things. I think we need to go the opposite direction and teach people to notice our differences and embrace them. This way when people try to make fun of you, you can just say ‘so what?’. As in the school yard, the less offence you take and the less reaction you give the bully, the less chance they’ll waste their time trying again.
Unfortunately, it won’t be long before we reach the drastic state of America where advocacy groups recently tried to pull two TV adverts because, they (in surely only their minds) encouraged bestiality. I think Bill Maher, an American political satirist, summed it up best on his HBO TV show Real Time in a ‘new rule’ segment. He said that if your conservative advocacy group is demanding the removal of an advert featuring a woman on a date with a pig, or a woman kissing a walrus because it encourages bestiality then, ‘You have to ask yourself this: aren’t you thinking a little too much about bestiality?’
Follow us @SW_Londoner