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How Political Correctness has Eroded our Freedom

Updated on October 6, 2018
Leland Johnson profile image

Leland is a life long student of history, politics, and current events. He wishes to respectfully engage readers on those focus points.

Protection of Free Speech Under the First Amendment to the Constitution

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the FREEDOM OF SPEECH, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for redress of grievances.

Kanye and Trump

Hip-hop entertainer, Kanye West, has recently had his life threatened because he openly supported President Trump. Noted for his use of profanity and explicit lyrics, West has never been censored or threatened for his use of free speech until he stepped out of the mainstream and into a torrential flood of threats and potential violence.

Remember Trent Lott?

The Establishment of Fear

The impact of the political correctness movement is felt by most, if not all, Americans. The dread of saying the wrong thing, being labeled a racist, bigot, or hate monger has permeated the very fabric of our society and drives an internal fear of speaking our minds. That, in and of itself, should convince the most disagreeable skeptic of the fact that political correctness is a bold violation of the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

What makes political correctness so sinister as a concept is the way it presents itself; ostensibly as a guardian to the oppressed. Yet, it not only fails to function in that capacity, but is itself an invisible force of oppression and suppression. One example that comes to mind was when Senator Trent Lott gave a speech at Rutgers University in 2002 in honor of Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday. Lott made a remark saying that the country would have done well to have Thurmond as President. (Thurmond had run for the office of President in 1948 on the Democratic ticket.) Reporters, eager to smear Lott, dug up some remarks made by Thurmond over 50 years earlier regarding his favorable stance on segregation. The wiley reporters accused Lott of meaning the country would be better off had it remained segregated. This was a ridiculous allegation, but it stuck. It stuck in part because Lott, instead of firing back at his false accusers began profusely apologizing to every group he could think of so he wouldn't appear racist. Lott wasn't racist. He was just weak in his response. Those accusations coupled with his weak response damaged his career and smeared his legacy. Lott asserted again and again that he wasn't a racist, and how sorry he was if his comments offended anyone. Well, if you didn't say anything wrong why apologize? Simple- fear. Political correctness has the power of the spoken word behind it knowing that negativity is far more likely to have an impact than a compliment. If we wish to turn back the P.C. tide we'll have to do it by addressing false accusations, not caving in when they come by apologizing for things we didn't do. Perhaps it is incidents like this that fuels President Trump's vigorous responses to accusations. He refuses to appear weak or to back down.

Who Does the First Amendment Protect?

It is crucial to understand that freedom of speech applies especially to the one whose views are not mainstream, the one with whom no one else agrees. The person no one likes because he has "weird" or "unpopular" ideas. As long as such individuals are not bringing harm to others they can say whatever they want to say. This isn't as much forgotten in our society as it is ignored. Allow me to provide a very recent example. Now we know there is a sensitivity to certain words, and I think this is a good thing. You will not hear me utter racial epithets or insult people of color either by stereotyping or making racially charged statements. I think most of us are like that. However, I recently saw the film The Black Panther and that film is inundated with racist remarks. So why is it doing so well at the box office? Why are critics and members of the media failing to point out how wrong racism is and how this film is contributing to it? It is because the racist remarks, so plentiful in the film, are directed at white people. I can assure you, if similar remarks were made from white people toward minority members of society there would be a great outcry from the press. Why is that? Because it is safe for them to be brave regarding an issue everyone assents to. It isn't brave to champion a cause that's already been won. No reasonable person thinks it is acceptable to throw racist remarks around in American culture. Oh, plenty of people are accused of it, but that's because the media wants to portray itself as the bold and brave crusader for the little guy. But isn't racism wrong regardless of its source? Isn't it wrong to hurl racist epithets at anyone? Of course it is. I just wish the media realized that. So when I hear the actors in the film The Black Panther referring to caucasions as "colonizers" and "white boy" I take offense, not because it offends me on a personal level, but because it is hypocritical to claim to stand up against racism, but laugh and applaud so long as the racism is directed at people you don't like. For me it is more a matter of principle that one of personal offense. People have the freedom to say dumb things, ignorant things, and obviously, even racist things. The cast of The Black Panther not only got away with it, but received rave reviews. Why aren't more critics, movie reviewers, and members of the media speaking out against the racial overtures in the film? The answer, as you may have guessed, is political correctness. Just about everyone has been successfully cowed into the submissive posture of a moral fetal position. We fear that speaking out against Black Panther will earn us the label of racist. I understand that fear leads to a contraction of moral strength and courage, but it was precisely that contraction that destroyed Trent Lott's career. Why didn't he come out fighting and pointing a finger at the press? Why didn't he say, "Shame on you all for trying to make a racial issue out of something that was nothing more than some kind remarks to an old man." Why didn't Lott say that? He was afraid to. That's my opinion. We must not be afraid. Fear is only making things worse. If/when we are falsely accused of anything, especially racism, resist that accusation vigorously. Your reputation depends upon your measure of resistance and willingness to stand up for the truth.


President Obama's Remarks about his Grandparents

Where was the media when President Obama referred to his grandparents as "typical white people." I ask, what are "typical white people?" I think if I were to make the same remark about any other ethnic group I would be called racist. Why are President Obama's remarks not analyzed with the same level of scrutiny?

"Typical White People" Then Senator Barak Obama

Equality

One of my hero's, Professor J. Rufus Fears, has said that "democracy is, in part, the progression towards greater liberties, and the expansion of rights for all people."

OU Professor: Dr. J. Rufus Fears

He also said that the expressions of our many freedoms should be "exercised with a judicious concern for the truth." So yes, the freedom of speech permits us to say whatever we wish to say, but with the understanding that we are speaking what is true, at least to the best of our understanding. Was it true when the media asserted that Trent Lott was making racially charged statements when he gave the speech at Strom Thurmond's birthday celebration? There is no way to prove that Lott was actually implying that the country would be better off had it remained segregated. Certain members of the press may suspect Lott's intentions were leaning that way, but suspicion doesn't equal fact. It equals opinion, and unfortunately, accusation alone is enough to damage if not outright destroy reputations, livelihoods, and lives. Today, the ones claiming to be the great protectors of free speech are in fact its greatest transgressors. The injustices perpetrated by the vast media in our country isn't merely a matter of what they say and print, but what they infer, the innuendo, the raising of questions aimed at tearing down it's target.

For example; hip-hop entertainer Kanye West came out in support of President Trump. I've read several articles since wherein Mr. West's sanity is brought into question. Is that "careful, judicious" use of free speech by the press? No, yet if the president uses his right of free speech to repudiate, or even disagree with the press, he is accused of violating the First Amendment.

Mr West has had his life threatened by fellow entertainer, Daz Dillinger. Dillinger has openly called for LA gang, the Crips, to do bodily harm to West for publicly supporting President Trump. Using the foulest language imaginable, Dillinger uses several racial epithets and issues threats of physical violence if not outright murder, depending on how you interpret "f...him up." Free speech for Kanye West could cost him his life. I haven't heard anyone in the media condemn or vilify Dillinger for his actions. The silence of the media is equal to consent in my opinion. Why has the media been silent? I suspect it is because most outlets and members of the press do not like President Trump, therefore anything goes when it comes to him.

You see, it isn't politically correct to publicly state support for President Trump. It isn't acceptable to the press so they tolerate threats of violence and violent outbursts against anyone with whom they disagree. The press claims to expose racial and social injustice. Well, here's an opportunity for them to stand up for both. Kanye West is an African American who has boldly stated his support for an unpopular, as far as the media is concerned, president. Will the press stand up for him? I don't think so. That's the strange, ironic power of political correctness. It subdues and neuters the very ones that perpetuate it.

P.C. Quiz

Is political correctness eroding our freedoms?

See results

© 2018 Leland Johnson

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    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      Brad Masters 

      4 weeks ago from Orange County California BSIT BSL JD

      Leland

      That shows why you are not like the left, if they were in your place they would be shouting it to anyone, making sure they were heard and demanding that it be stopped. But since they are the ones responsible for this diode effect. We only have the silent republicans to shout for us.

      Oh I forgot, the republicans are the "silent" party. They follow PC like a puppy dog follows their master waiting for their treat.

      Hang in there, quack quack:)

    • Leland Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Leland Johnson 

      4 weeks ago from Midland MI

      Respect is definitely the key. For the most part I let it roll off like water off a duck's back, but it is troublesome to see the attitude of respect not expected to go both ways and not enforced for one gender over the other.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      Brad Masters 

      4 weeks ago from Orange County California BSIT BSL JD

      Leland

      There is also data showing more and more women getting their degrees in science, math, and engineering. As a manager of computer programming projects, I have hired many women. And I never even had to consider their gender. It was there accomplishments, and experience that put them on an equal footing with other job candidates. When you have to get jobs and projects done, you want to make that happen with the people that you hire. BTW, these females were respected by their male coworkers. I won't say that there were no glitches, but it wasn't gender that caused the glitch, it was the "programmers" and their idiosyncrasy.

      Now, I can't speak for anyone but myself in that regard.

    • Leland Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Leland Johnson 

      4 weeks ago from Midland MI

      I'm also skeptical about the glass ceiling as it is frequently referred to in our society today. Factors like moms taking maternity leave and losing wages are not considered when gathering data to demonstrate wage disparity. Also, I learned from Laura Ingraham that more women possess Masters degrees than men do in the US, so opportunity, especially educational opportunity, has been equalized even tipping in favor of women.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      Brad Masters 

      4 weeks ago from Orange County California BSIT BSL JD

      Leland

      That is a perfect example of the political diode.

      It also proves my point that everyone but white males have protection from the government.

      And the ironic thing about this bias is that the democrats keep talking about equality. They have even applied it successfully to things that can't be equal. They also worry about the lower wages of women to men, but they don't care about all the men that make much less than a lot of the other men.

      Today, I believe that there is sufficient evidence to show that white males are the target of racist democrats. Another irony for equality.

    • Leland Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Leland Johnson 

      4 weeks ago from Midland MI

      Brad, commenting on an earlier post you made here- Your posts are so insightful that it's easy to miss one! The point I wanted to highlight is how you said the PC movement only goes in one direction. Where I work the upper management is very sensitive to sexual harassment issues, that is as long as it is a male that is the offender. It isn't something I have to worry about because I wear my faith on my sleeve and everyone knows I'm faithful to my wife, so I know I have a good reputation in regard to respecting co-workers etc, however, the same does not apply in the opposite direction. I once had a superior make a sexual remark to me that, had I made it to her, I would've been fired. I reported the incident to the appropriate authorities and nothing was ever done excepting that I believe she was given a warning due to the fact that she acts resentfully towards me. I still have to work with this person and there is still a tension between us. No apology or anything- just an attitude that I in some way betrayed her by reporting the issue. So it definitely isn't a 2 way street.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      Brad Masters 

      4 weeks ago from Orange County California BSIT BSL JD

      Leland

      The sad thing about that is the people supporting the left think that is fair and OK.

    • Leland Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Leland Johnson 

      4 weeks ago from Midland MI

      The left certainly retains a teflon quality. I recall an interview with then Senator Obama wherein he referred to his grandparents as "typical white people." I think the thing that troubles me about that statement is, well there are multiple things, but for one thing it reveals that he has a predetermined attitude towards "white people," he sees all "white people" as a certain way, or a typified way. I don't feel that way about blacks, asians, whomever, and if I ever prefaced an ethnic group with the word "typical" I would be vilified, pilloried etc. I remember when Clinton ran against Obama for the primary in 08 and Bill made a racist remark about Obama, so did Biden "he's very clean" he said. It's a joke, but unfortunately one that is played on the American people. I think that the major political players in American politics see themselves as so elite that they are actually above race. I mean, Trump has done more to help African Americans than Obama did. I think there are definitely true believers out there- college professors, the Maya Angelou's and a lot of celebrities, but I don't think the politicians care one way or the other about race. I think they are a-convicted about it.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      Brad Masters 

      4 weeks ago from Orange County California BSIT BSL JD

      Leland

      did hp change the home page layout?

      Anyway, after commenting on your 1st amendment piece, I reread this article.

      What I see and have seen is the PC problem is that it is like a diode it only applies in one direction. The left can make any statement they want because the right is block from even commenting on it.

      Roseanne gets pummeled because of a word equation that she tweeted in the wee hours of the morning and she deleted it six hours later.

      The right side of the word equation simply equaled VJ.

      Who the heck is VJ? The left PC police told the Tweet world it was Valerie Jarret then they had to tell what she was. There was no patent racist connotation attached to this word equation.

      There could have been thousands of references in the movie the Planet of the Apes, and I know you know that people were the unintelligent. So how could any reference be taken as racist.

      Yet, the left burned her on the cross for something she never said. The racism wasn't coming from her, it was coming from the people that called her a racist.

      There are many examples of how people on the left break the PC with impunity. Because they are on the side of the diode that doesn't conduct.

      When anyone would question or comment on president Obama the left would always make it a racist comment or question. It was impossible to comment on the performance of Obama the president because it would be grounded with the left's Racist Hammer.

      But the left can say straight out the Trump is an Orange Orangutan. They don't hide from that statement they are proud of it.

      The orange refers to skin tone, but that is not racist.

      The orangutan reference is not racist.

      Why because white people can only be Racists, or be called Racists.

      When did you hear anyone on the left being called a racist?

      BTW, why doesn't the NAACP change its name, because if your say Colored People even though it is in their name, you will be struck down as a racist.

      The left is the hammer, and everything they see is a nail.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      Brad Masters 

      4 months ago from Orange County California BSIT BSL JD

      Leland

      PC was created and used by the left. They made it unidirectional making it difficult for any fair dialogue. It has a chilling effect on free speech.

      Words without companion deeds should be fair.

      Defamation protects any abuse in free speech.

      It however only protects when the speech is True.

    • Leland Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Leland Johnson 

      4 months ago from Midland MI

      Paula, thank you so much for the kind words and for reading my article. I'm going to go check out your work and give you a follow. It's great to connect with like minded people. Thanks again and God bless :)

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      4 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Leland.....Bravo....I do applaud you. This is real, accurate, gut honesty with a good dose of my favorite, "common sense." Where ever PC began, whoever gave it birth, for whatever reasoning believed....It has been taken much, much too far, caused even more disconnect and disruption in all our lives and quite literally, has become just another means to dumb-down Americans.

      Personally, I have had it up to my eyeballs with "special groups," holding the imaginary gun to our heads, demanding we speak as we're told. Excuse me, but, Yours Truly will remain the sane, intelligent, respectful individual she is and has been for 7 decades & rely on her own constitution to determine her speech & actions. Kudos to Kanye and all Americans who state their allegiances. It is our right! Thank you very much. Great work, Leland.

    • Leland Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Leland Johnson 

      4 months ago from Midland MI

      Thanks AB and again, I find our views align. In fact, I really used to dislike Kanye, but I have to hand it to him- he's really shown some guts putting himself out there like that, not caring what his peers or anyone else thinks about it. THAT I can respect. Thanks for your comments :)

    • abwilliams profile image

      A B Williams 

      4 months ago from Central Florida

      I am not a fan of Kanye West, but I admire his boldness, as he has not wavered in his support for the President.

      I remember all of that ridiculousness over Trent Lott’s speech and him caving, he certainly could have used some of that Kanye boldness.

      Great job Leland, as always!

    • Leland Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Leland Johnson 

      4 months ago from Midland MI

      Thanks Jessie. Nice hearing from you!

    • Jessie L Watson profile image

      Jessie Watson 

      4 months ago from Wenatchee Washington

      Bravo, sir.

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