Political Correctness is an American Invention

As my Chinese is improving, my kids getting older and I’m developing friendships that let me see the world through the eyes of locals… I’m seeing things I may not like or maybe the American view that I’ve been brainwashed to is really too extreme…

Example, I’ve been reading some kids diaries, with their help of course, and find that they are really tend to refer to their classmates by nicknames that are take from either thier appearance or personality and these names are not to flattering.
One guy is called African Man and Black Man because he appears very dark but he still is as Taiwanese as the rest of them. An other girl is referred to as ET because her name rhymes with that name and she acts spaced out.

These kids actually answer to their nickname quicker than their given names and they don’t seem to mind. The Students’ teacher also publicly dresses down students who are not really trying enough.

Now I’m not too sure how to feel. My daughter is strong enough to take care of herself should she get an unpopular nickname. I had to interviene in the begging because she got teased as a Waiguoren, but nowadays she accepted as one of them.

One big difference between Taiwan and the US is that Taiwan is mostly an ethnically homogeneous place, whereas the US is vastly multiethnic. The kid being called “black man” is still most likely ethnically Han Chinese, and is less likely to suffer than someone being called names based on actual ethnicity. It’s also an epithet directed at an individual rather than a group.

Note that there is a history here of racism against Aborigines, though. If there are Aboriginal students in class, one might want to be on the lookout for epithets like hoan-a-lang (“savage”).

I suggest you talk to your adult friends and wait for a quiet moment of honesty to ask them about the nicknames they endured as a child that “appear” to your American sensibilities as offensive and hurtful. You’ll probably find that lo, they are offensive and hurtful.

Just because something is common here doesn’t mean it is not as hurtful as it sounds. As Chris wrote, the Hei Ren is not going to suffer as much as he would if he were a true black kid in a racist society, but he suffers. Think of how many women you know with low self-esteem here because they are fat (weigh more than 45 kilos), have slightly darker skin, or a tiny bit of hair on their arms?

[quote=“Mucha Man”]I suggest you talk to your adult friends and wait for a quiet moment of honesty to ask them about the nicknames they endured as a child that “appear” to your American sensibilities as offensive and hurtful. You’ll probably find that lo, they are offensive and hurtful.

Just because something is common here doesn’t mean it is not as hurtful as it sounds. As Chris wrote, the Hei Ren is not going to suffer as much as he would if he were a true black kid in a racist society, but he suffers. Think of how many women you know with low self-esteem here because they are fat (weigh more than 45 kilos), have slightly darker skin, or a tiny bit of hair on their arms?[/quote]

Yes,I agree with the point you make and it amounts to Bullying in any society. The unfortunate truth is,you may be able to stamp it out in classrooms and supervised gatherings but it will go on within groups of children(and adults,i fear) ad infinitum,until society itself grows up. Never?.
It would seem helpful, if victims were shown how to cope with hurtful comments . There does seem to be a lesser degree of self confidence in Taiwanese Youth,or am I imagining it?

The same behavior exists in offices and workplaces, it’s childish but in a crude and ignorant fashion.
If you look around you can see Taiwan society cares very much about looks and tries to pigeon hole people by looks.
Lack of confidence is more about the kids being berated by their parents and teachers all the time. Personally I think Taiwanese society is kind of sick and unhappy and uptight inside, like many north Asian societies.

Ahhh, all true. But when I or or other people try to bring it up or into the open. They all seem hostile to us outsiders trying to change things by preaching in the classroom. Right now, thank goodness, I’m learning this stuff being an average Joe through people who want to talk to me. Not in the class room.

The people seem embarrassed about the way they treat each other in the classroom from the standpoint of how it looks to outsiders. There is a good book about an Orthodox Jewish couple who found a young baby abandoned in the train station in Taipei.
They wanted to and did adopt her. When the couple went to the police station, the officer did not say that he was sorry this abandonment happened. Rather, he was sorry that they (the foreigner couple) had to see it.

Edit addtion:
And on the other side of the coin, have we been doing a disservice to kids by removing all obstacles, bullying and teasing. Should a smart but lazy student have to endure a little bit of teasing and ridicule by his classmates to force him to get on the stick, and study.
Standing up to mild bullies is a skill because in the workplace people will try to bully the competition. How do you draw the line and developing a kid who can stand up for himself or creating a wimp.

And my peeve of Asians in my country of America and a little off topic… Lay off my Charlie Chan! There is a PC movement to get rid of him.I just found that out when I was trying to download some movies. He is smart and stereotypical… but I like him. Clean up the way you treat yourselves first, then I might consider burning my entire Charlie Chan collection… Not!
Edit Edit… I know that there is no country called America, but that is the Chinese word for the USA.

I’m not sure if I’d be too pleased with a Chinese teacher preaching to me about his perceived ills in British society during a lesson. I pay money to pick up a language. If I wanted a lecture on morality I’d go to church.

I’m not as worried about low level bullying in a sense. That’s obviously stupid and should be stamped out. However, real political correctness, regarding issues such as politics, culture and religion, is a big problem in the West. I’m an atheist, and I think Christians should be fair game. Yet I find it incredibly hypocritical that people talk about Scientology, Jehova’s Witnesses or Mormons as though they’re weird (they are), casually make jokes about paedophile Catholic priests (they are weird, creepy and criminal), regard Life of Brian as a classic (it is), and regard Piss Christ as a form of artistic freedom of expression (it should be, though I think it’s bad art). Yet the same people will not touch anything regarding Islam (including the fact that Mohammed was also a paedophile) with a ten foot pole. In fact, plenty of Westerners will scramble over each other to defend or justify the religion and its practitioners, including the more disgusting aspects or incidents.

I don’t know to what extent this kind of thing exists here, but that kind of political correctness has run amok in the West now. In fact, you can actually be tried in court for being politically incorrect.

I think one problem is that far too many critics of Islam turn out to be little more than petty Islamophobic bigots, paralleling the anti-Semitism that was rampant at the beginning of last century. These are those people who say “all Muslims are terrorists” or “There’s no such thing as moderate or liberal Islam”. There’s also a lot of paranoia about what Muslims’ goals are in the world (“They’re going to take over and stop us from eating bacon!”) or how much power they actually have in Western society (“The Muslims are imposing Sharia Law in the UK! The Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the White House! Where’s my tin foil hat?”).

So I think fear of touching Islam may be related to not wishing to be associated with such bigots. However, I’ve rarely seen such fear in real life… though I can see how if you’re sitting in a Halal restaurant in Indonesia one might wish to refrain from criticizing Islam, just as one might not want to criticize gun ownership in some diner in deepest Mississippi…

I for one haven’t come across any atheist or liberal who isn’t afraid to level rational criticism at Islam as they much as they would at Christianity or any other religion. I have plenty of criticisms of Islam, but I’m not about to lump myself in with the Islamophobes (or anti-Semites, or anti-Buddhists or any other form of bigotry).

Chris: Not so. Islam is ripe for the kind of parodying that Monty Python did of Christianity with Life of Brian. It does contain lots of absurdity (not to mention outright evil), and its spokespeople and adherents often take themselves way too seriously. Yet could you imagine anyone even proposing anything like it? Over the last few years, we’ve seen various Dutch politicians or film makers killed, we’ve seen all sorts of politicians and journalists/social commentators threatened, to the point where many live under armed protection. We’ve seen all the flap over those cartoons (and how many media organisations refused to reprint them in a show of solidarity regarding free speech), and there was that recent thing with that movie. No one would even consider making an equivalent to Life of Brian for Islam. Shit would burn.

Also, look at how things such as the Muslim paedophile ring in the UK have been handled by major news organisations.

Again, people have no problem with saying that Tom Cruise and all Scientologists are weirdos. People openly mock him (and the religion) all the time. It has nothing to do with people not wanting to be lumped in with bigots because if you ask the average person on the street what they think of Scientologists or Mormons, they’ll openly say stuff they would never say about Muslims. People have no problem with making jokes about Catholic priests, when obviously, not every Catholic priest is a paedophile. People get that Christians do not have the right to not be offended, yet there’s a huge double standard with Islam. The amount of self-censorship in the West is absurd nowadays.

As for your comments about the goals of Islam, there are many organisations in Western European countries that openly state such goals. There’s no need for conspiracy theories when people say such things openly. There’s no need for conspiracy theories when there are “no go” zones for police or firefighters in cities and/or where Sharia Law is actually practised. Wake up man!

youtube.com/watch?v=E78RUXFv3fU
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2019547/Anjem-Choudary-Islamic-extremists-set-Sharia-law-zones-UK-cities.html

South Park has done so to an extent.

The Chinese buy up all American debt… The Americans start to default and want to stiff the Chinese. The Chinese invade to collect on their rightly obtained loans. Wait… no… that can’t be… I’d never sell the movie… Let’s make it the North Koreans… Why… who cares…

South Park has done so to an extent.[/quote]

There’s also an American journalist who organizes a “draw Mohamed day”. But Guy, what you don’t seem to get is that parodies such as Life of Brian were done from the inside of the culture: by people who are white male Christian, etc, or at least raised in a Christian society and so have both the credibility and the creative right to do such a thing. Having some white western male or female parody Muslim would almost certainly be lame if not downright offensive.

I’m a well read person but I barely know anything about Islam. I would guess it is the same with almost everyone not Muslim, bare a few specialists. So even if someone did create a parody, it would be for other westerners and not Muslims. It almost certainly would be filled with errors, and probably take a lot of cheap easy shots and smack of a sort of colonial smugness for the backward brown man. I cringe when I watch Chinese movies and western characters are introduced and mocked. I cringe when western movies do the same to Chinese. I do laugh when the French are mocked but that is different. :laughing:

In short, parodies of one culture by another are almost always lame, condescending, cruel, facile hostile, and ignorant. They are especially so when there is an imbalance of power between the cultures as there certainly is between the west and Islamic nations. In life, parodies work when the mocking is either lateral or up: that it, among equals or toward the dominant. Men mocking men, women mocking men, minorities mocking the majority, etc. Interesting in recent years as women gain in power in the west it is more acceptable for male comedians do use them as fodder.

Let Muslim’s mock themselves. Of course the funny thing is, a Muslim parody of Islam would almost certainly go over the head of a western audience.

And please note none of this is to say that we shouldn’t be outraged, offended and critical of barbaric practices such as practiced in some Muslim area. Making the Muslim Life of Brian would be stupid and counterproductive. Funding and supporting NGOs that try to ensure young girls can go to school and not be burned with acid for kissing a boy are not.

Very well said, MM.

And this:

:thumbsup:

As a friend of mine says: “You don’t kick down.” Meaning what MM says right here.

The usual cultural relativistic white guilt bullshit. Throw in a few buzz words like white male, colonialism, etc. I think you missed hegemony, paternalism and neo-liberal/neo-con. This is precisely what I talked about in my original post, all the usual excuses. Here’s what you don’t get. I’m not a Scientologist. I never have been and never will be. I’m not a Mormon or a Catholic or any of that nonsense, and never will be. None of those things are my culture. They are not even remotely my culture. L. Ron Hubbard is no more my man than Mohammed is. My culture is Charles Darwin and all of the rest of the fruits of the Age of Enlightenment. Me mocking my culture would be me mocking Carl Sagan or NASA. Yet plenty of people who have never been Scientologists, Mormons or religious in any other way mock such things and see them as fair game. This is one of the great contradictions at the heart of this relativistic bullshit though. It’s okay to lump all white people in together, even if my world view and culture have nothing in common with whatever weird shit Tom Cruise or Mitt Romney believe, but if anyone dares to lump any non-white people together, oh my fucking God, we’re being condescending, culturally insensitive, etc. Absolute hypocrisy. Complete and utter liberal, cognitive dissonance and white guilt.

Of course, all of this misses the point that even when people from “inside” the culture, such as Aayan Hirsi Ali criticise it, people still don’t want to hear it.

How is there an imbalance of power between the West and Islam? What utter rot. The power imbalance, if it exists at all, is that OPEC nations have massive leverage over Western nations. The only reason the U.S. didn’t go and turn Saudi Arabia into a glass parking lot after 9/11 (remember which country most of the hijackers were from, which country Bin Laden was from?) was oil. If it had been, say, Bulgaria, Paraguay or Vanuatu that had done it, shit would have gone down. The entire House of Saud and half that nation are the most insidious fuckers on the planet, and promote the most backward sect on the planet through their oil money, yet everyone tip-toes around this, precisely because they do have oil. There is your power imbalance. One hundred years ago, the world couldn’t have given a fuck about half the nations on the Arabian Peninsula, now those nations in that region are in everyone’s shit, and unashamedly so. The power balance is that half of the Islamic world was once white/Christian/Western and was colonised. How many countries were colonised and converted from Islam to Christianity that weren’t ever Christian to begin with?

No, mocking these arseclowns would be productive because it would expose all the lies of so-called religion of peace. How was Piss Christ, or even Life of Brian, for that matter, “productive”? How is any art “productive” for that matter? None of that has anything to do with making sure people aren’t persecuted for wanting to go to school. It’s not either/or. I love that art somehow has to be valid by being “productive” now. That kind of nebulous term ironically sounds like something that would come out of a repressive regime.

As for “kicking down” vs “kicking up” what utter relativistic bullshit also. You either don’t kick or you do kick. None of this Robin Hood nonsense where something is morally reprehensible if you do it to one person, but better than okay if you do it to someone else. Rule of law which is applied evenly for all. It’s a fundamental principle of Western civilisation and precisely why we’re not like the rest of the world, though fast becoming like it.

“White guilt” is a BS term invented by the far right to condemn liberals and liberalism. Those on the right seem to be trying to make guesses at understanding our thinking and motives, and failing laughably miserably in the process, coming up with absurd ideas like “white guilt”, “envy of the rich”, “hatred of America”, “cultural relativism” and plenty of other absurdly way-off-the-mark guesses. “Guilt” for being white is certainly not an emotion I have experienced or any white liberal I’ve encountered has expressed experiencing.

So GUY you have nothing but chest thumping and cheap insults? Not surprising.

Nothing to do with white guilt as the son of a poor Irish immigrant I don’t have any of that (and as Chris says, it’s a bullshit term meant to stifle free speech - shame on you!). Met plenty of people from minorities who had life a whole lot easier than me growing up and suffered a whole lot less discrimination. But that doesn’t mean I am stupid enough to realize that parodies are lateral or directed up, or they are perceived as cruel, viscous, mean, and oppressive. That’s just the way movies and books and jokes work.

You may not be a scientologist or Mormon but you largely share the same culture with the people who are and they are not, to drive the point in again, a marginalized poor minority. Mocking the well off for their foibles is not the same as mocking the poor for theirs. The latter can be done, think Stepford and Son, but it is rare and takes real talent.

Seems to me she has a pretty decent platform. Named by Time Magazine in 2005 as of the top 100 most influential people in the world. I can think of thousands of writers who would love to be as “unheard” as she is. :unamused:

South Park has done so to an extent.[/quote]

There’s also an American journalist who organizes a “draw Mohamed day”. But Guy, what you don’t seem to get is that parodies such as Life of Brian were done from the inside of the culture: by people who are white male Christian, etc, or at least raised in a Christian society and so have both the credibility and the creative right to do such a thing. Having some white western male or female parody Muslim would almost certainly be lame if not downright offensive.

[/quote]

If Monty Python had been brown, Iranian and made a similar movie about Islam they would all have been killed. As it were a few cinemas were picketed by nuns holding placards.

Anyway, regardless of that point, if people can only create humour about themselves or those considered similar to them then the comedy options are becoming very limited. It’s difficult to have humour that doesn’t offend somebody. Especially nowadays.

I don’t dispute that. Not really relevant though.

Sure. But there’s an obvious reason why a lot of America’s top comedians are black or Jewish, and the really successful white guys mock themselves (like the brilliant Louis CK).

That’s a load of nonsense, and you know it. Every time liberals use the words colonialism, power in balance and all the rest of it, they’re engaging in white guilt. As far as I know, no one here was in Pizarro’s expedition to Peru or worked with Cecil Rhodes (which also ignores the fact that Muslims kidnapped at least one million white Christians and sold them into slavery just in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries). So why even use those stupid terms?

Of course though, don’t actually address any of my points, such as the fact that I’m not one of Tom Cruise’s cronies, or that I don’t wear magic underpants, but it’s okay to lump all white people together because they’re all part of the same culture. Tom Cruise actually makes this point – that most people know bugger all about Scientology, yet mock it mercilessly – yet that only makes people think he’s more of a kook. That’s okay, apparently, as was everyone thinking Mitt Romney or any of the other Republican primary candidates were religious nutcases (they were), yet talking about shit about Islam is not okay when people don’t know much about it.

This ignores the obvious contradiction that abolitionists didn’t actually own slaves, yet were still justified in criticising those who did, non paedophiles condemn Catholic priests who have engaged in paedophilia, etc. Belonging to the “in group” is an absurd requirement for criticising something and it’s rarely used as a line of argument anyway, except with things like cultural relativism, hence the white guilt.