I've said for along time that I'd like to delete a few words from the
The first I'd delete is hate. The idea is that if you could erase the
word, hate would no longer exist. Of course, it doesn't work that way. Then, the problem
is that we'd have a problem without a word to describe it, and then it would go unnoticed,
and no one would do anything about it.
In the United States, we've all sort of been convinced into thinking that
if we tolerate diversity, then we are creating an environment of equal opportunity and
freedom, and are color blind. And, we make believe that by making people feel bad for
using words like nigger, that racism and bigotry will go away, and that the problem will
go away by ignoring it.
The problem is, for people who have experienced racism, the word nigger
still hurts. That's an indication that the problem isn't solved, and the healing that has
always been needed isn't complete.
When Attorney General Eric Holder said that Americans don't have the
courage to discuss racism, I think he's wrong in one way, and right in another. He's
wrong, because people are willing to discuss it. The problem is, you have to have the
courage not to discuss it, but to be honest about it, knowing that honesty would have you
be criticized no matter how correct your point on a topic is.
For example, if I was a black person in this country, I would be just as
offended by people saying they are tolerant of me. To me, tolerant means putting up with
something I wish I didn't have to deal with, but am forced to. Diversity is a pretty
impersonal word. So for me, tolerating diversity is like saying I have to put up with
something that resembles more of an object than a person to me. I would never expect
someone to say publicly "I put up with niggers", but that's the way I hear it
when politicians speak of tolerating diversity. And it annoys me, because, like so many
other people, I've done my share of work toward causing real equality among people
in general, and to me, glossing over a problem is no way to resolve one.
But, if we're going to put a label or catch phrase to our approach to
human relations, why not acceptance and community? I think it expresses something a little
friendlier and inclusive - and caring.
TRANSCRIPT: Susan CANDIOTTI: Twelve-year-old Marcus Allen (ph) is her son, says he was
sitting outside the pool and heard white adults say this.
MARCUS ALLEN, VISITOR: They was like oh why are these black kids here. And then they were
saying oh I'm afraid they might do something to my children. I don't know if they might
steal -- might try to steal some of my stuff or might try to like harm my children. And I
was like amazed that they would say something like this because we're just like you --
like we're just like your kids.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not enough room.
CANDIOTTI: Mrs. Wright says the swim club's director told her he was embarrassed, held an
emergency board meeting, and called her back the next day to say they could not come back.
WRIGHT: And he said the membership said let the chips fall where they may.
CANDIOTTI (on camera): You know, Marcus, I see tears coming down your face. Why
does this make you cry?
MARCUS: Because it's kind of like sad that like people are still thinking like
this when I felt like these things was over.
WRIGHT: This is 2009. Children should not be subjected to that.
CANDIOTTI (voice-over): The swim club's director is quoted by local media saying
the day camp kids changed the "atmosphere and complexion of the club" -- a club
I'm certainly in favor of people being sensitive toward the feelings and
sensitivities of other people. I don't say things like I just did for the sake of shocking
you. I did it to draw your attention to the fact that we can not have conversations as
individuals, or as a society, if we are not able to speak freely and tell the truth, so
that we can exchange additional information and ideas that will lead us to greater
One other thing on this subject: sometimes people think I am being
politically incorrect by calling people with dark skin black people. I am actually very
sensitive to respecting how people like to be addressed. However, while trying to be
politically correct while living in Atlanta years ago, a friend of mine objected to being
called African American. I asked him why, and he said it was because he was from Columbia.
I grew up with memories from the 50's and 60's when it was considered
granting greater dignity and respect by referring to black people as colored or Negroes,
which I was never comfortable with either, despite knowing it was better than the
alternatives of the time. And still, I find it necessary to be concerned at who I might be
offending by calling people with dark skin "black people". I call myself a white
But even more, it's a perfect example of how, even when we try to
appropriately elevate the image and dignity and respect for a group based upon any kind of
stereotype, it stifles open discussion as people almost always want to do the right thing,
but are concerned about speaking up because they don't know the right words despite having
no negative intent toward anyone.
Being politically correct would mean I could not tell Latinos that
technically, they are illegal aliens, and I have no problem with the idea of creating
better ways to provide work and not have undocumented workers threatened with deportation,
but by legal means that is fair and equitable, ensures people's rights, and... and even
It would have me fail to also report that they should be aware that
proponents of the Council on Foreign Relations, failed portions of NAFTA and the
unchartered goals of our nation's politicians to cause a North American Union is promoting
the easing of "undocumented workers" in the United States in order to fulfill
the coming need for cheap labor in the near future. Cheap labor at subsistence wages, also
known as slave wages. Further, that such a union would compromise Mexico's sovereignty,
and the security of its natural resources, as well as destabilizing its economy further.
Again, the problem is not really about the willingness to discuss matters.
It's about the ability to discuss matters respectfully, in a way that allows for truth and
doesn't gloss over the stereotypes and negative images of other people that damage the
fabric of our society to benefit politicians and business people.
It's not just about racism. It's about religion, likes and dislikes,
sexuality.. you name it. And every time you pigeon hole something into a stereotype, you
forget that, for example, a man who wears long hair isn't necessarily a drug addict, a man
in dirty clothes on the street hitchhiking may not be a slob, but a man with a car
problem, that single men over 40 are automatically suspected child molesters...
Think about all the types of people you now think of in your mind as
dangerous or people to be careful of for one reason or another. Think about it for a few
days. Start noticing how when you approach a man or a woman, how do you prepare yourself
mentally to deal with that person. Notice the sexuality in play, your considering the
differences between sexes, how clothing affects the way you assess and treat people.
You'll begin to notice those built-in reactions we have been trained to have toward each
And then, imagine the conversations you'd need to have if you were to
discuss the things that come between you and other people because of those observations,
and do so by being politically correct. It could be done, but it would be difficult. Think
about that until it becomes obvious to you, because it will.
Then, think of what it would be like to have those conversations on TV, in
a public forum as a means to have a truly meaningful discussion.
Sometimes I believe it's good to be politically incorrect to show
people how it can get in the way.
Or, how using a word or a phrase or an example of something, even as an
abhorration, will generate publicity from something taken out of context just because it
contains a sensitive word.
That's how divisive politics works, and one way the media is used to
suppress social issues until and unless the political agenda of the government can make
use of it.
In specific regard to racism, I am quite pleased to know that much
progress has been made since I was a child in the 50's. But I also know the work
isn't done, but it can't be completed by using sensationalism to generate more division
that will delay true equality.
Like I said, there's nothing wrong with being politically correct, I do it
all the time. But, I also know, people don't say things frequently because they're afraid
of "getting in trouble" for accidentally saying something that the media has
decided to punish people for saying, and encourages other people to do the same toward any
others who dare say a word that's been "banned" through re-education propaganda
in the media.
One day I'll tell you a story defending Bill O'Reilly for something he
said. I didn't like the way he said it, but his point was clear and very true a great deal
of time. But the only thing that got attention was the way he said it... and when he said
what he said, he actually opened the door for someone, anyone, to eloquently walk in and
say "I don't like the way you said that, but your point is well taken, and I
appreciate the opportunity it provides for people to know you're affected by stereotypes
that give you false impressions of things, and that you've realized how false those
impressions are, and that your audience now knows that maybe they have false impressions
Instead, O' Reilly was accused of being racist. Trust me, I'm not really
defending Bill O'Reilly, I'm defending the point he was trying to make. A courageous
discussion possibly, lost to the sensationalism for political correctness, which stifles
intellectually honest conversation, and discourages mutual understanding and equality.
I have no doubt that this writing will be considered politically
incorrect, maybe even condemned for it. Or, maybe, people will understand what I'm saying,
and start a conversation called, the dangers of political correctness in the face of
expressing respect and granting others their right to human dignity. Something like that.
We might discover a way to agree to really talk to each other.
That truly would be politically incorrect these days.