This first appeared on http://blog.storymojafestival.com/
When is being politically correct an infringement of free speech?
Recently I posted an update on my Facebook page from a conversation with my friend Alice. Alice’s attitude towards the world is more commonly phrased as “zero f***s given” meaning she’s blunt with her words and as a result very socially awkward.
Adam: you’ve seen N*****’s baby?
Alice: Yeah, I find it interesting that everyone says she’s beautiful. it’s proof that we’re now living in a society that has stopped conforming to set standards of aesthetic beauty.
Alice: his baby is ugly
This got a lot of laughs from my Facebook friends but one friend in particular took offence. She told me that she though the update was childish and thoughtless citing post-partum depression as a result of such sentiments and the pressures of pregnancy. She went ahead to ask me to take it down or else we would not be friends as she can’t associate with anyone who would share such tid bits for the reasons I did (I thought it was hilarious). I didn’t, we aren’t talking right now. Her message however has been bothering me all week, should I feel guilty for posting it? How many of the other things that I post on a daily basis do I need to go back and look at and ask myself “Will this offend or affect anyone negatively?”
I’m vocal about a lot of issues; drug abuse (my views on cocaine and marijuana use are unconventional), abortion (pro-choice), rape (castrate all male offenders, still trying to figure out what to do with their female counterparts), religion (god has to be up there to hear you), gay rights (let them be damn it!!) and ethnicity (we can’t all keep typing #weareone if we keep self-identifying along tribal lines). So I figure each and everyone one of my posts will offend at least a tenth or more of the one thousand people that might, over time, see it. Should I censor myself? Should I think about my friend, a recovering alcoholic, whenever I post an update about my torrid love affair with tequila?
It also had me thinking about eliminating rape culture and the steps I’ve seen suggested we should take to achieve this (some of them by me). Robin Thicke has been a target for feminists both male and female, from mainly the States and the UK, who have condemned his song blurred lines and even managed to get it banned from being played in some universities. The song, this was news to me, is rapey apparently. Am I too ingrained in this patriarchal culture of rape that I didn’t recognize this? Because, to me, the song is essentially about women who send mixed signals. At what point do you cross the line from being flirty to being rapey? If you’re not sure she wants you, should you just give up and move on hoping that she does and chases after you? Or do you persist till you’re sure and ‘know she wants it’ or doesn’t and then move on? Mindbender isn’t it? Should Thicke have considered rape victims when he and Pharell penned the song? Is it really that different from a lot of soul, RnB and hip hop (actually most) that’s played today?
Should we go over radio playlists and eliminate a large bulk of the love songs because they might be a trigger for rape victims? Should we sit down and take time to consider every single thing we play, watch, post, text, IM, say or think? Should we consider our muslim brethren on Facebook before we post up pictures of bacon or cry “”oppression!!” whenever we see a niqab or hijab? Should we look at Gaza and think twice about our Jewish friends before uttering the words theft and atrocity? Should we slow our roll whenever we want to tell a joke about how Kalenjin’s run or how every joke about greed involves a Kikuyu? When is being politically correct an infringement on free speech? Are we taking being PC too far?