Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo® – 01/14/19
In the footsteps of Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, and Billy Crystal, no one is willing today to accept the job of emceeing the Oscars. What was once a huge visibility, highly sought position is now a position wrought with danger. Why? Because something someone said a decade or more ago may upset someone today who will bring all the weapons of the political correctness minority to bear. The once-important defense of the ACLU, for example, has now become an offensive weapon.
I would submit that every one of us in our youth, or under stress, or drunk, or in an ignorant moment has said something we regretted, either immediately or in retrospect. I’ve heard “national leaders” such as Jessie Jackson have to apologize in the media for anti-Semitic slurs inadvertently caught by a live mike—and they were forgiven after an apology.
I know of no restriction on free speech so onerous or malicious as political correctness, where even innocent utterings (“You said ‘he’ and not ‘he or she’”) or even a failure to reference absolutely every interest group (“You didn’t mention our community, which is disrespectful”) can create furious backlash. California is legally mandating the number of women who must be included on public boards of directors, and it’s only a tiny leap to then require that no more than three Caucasian males be allowed on any one board, for example.
The United States grew to historic greatness as a melting pot, not as a salad. We all ought to have less of a sense of self-absorption, more forgiveness, and less need for retribution over every slight we can imagine.
We need to stamp out bigotry and we need to stamp out scapegoating. Otherwise, there will come a time when we won’t be able to tell the difference.
Political correctness does not legislate tolerance; it only organizes hatred. —Jacques Barzun