The Hatred of Political Correctness
by Matt Coot
Millennials! What a bunch of self-centred, easily-provoked, poor little snowflakes! How dare they have an opinion and how dare they show offence! Bah!
On a day when Cornwall has received a ‘serious’ warning of snow during the week ahead, it seems appropriate to be writing this article about the use of the term “snowflake” as an insult to anyone who shows even a slight bit of offence being taken, or sharing an opinion that defends equality.
I was ‘triggered’ into writing this article by spotting a Tweet sharing a post on The Spectator blog. The post was about Justin Trudeau and his recent state visit to India. The Canadian Prime Minister has had many critics panning his trip and this post wasn’t any different. It did, however, give the prime minister a new title: Captain Snowflake.
You see, to many, Justin Trudeau represents everything that the ‘snowflake generation’ is about. Stephen Daisley, the writer of the blog post, wrote that “Trudeau presents like an alt-right parody of liberalism. He’s gender-neutral pronouns. He’s avocado toast and flaxseed soy smoothies. He’s safe spaces and checked privileges”. He then went on to say that Trudeau has “no vision beyond the next group hug or national apology”.
Now, I’m going to admit it, I’ve been something of a Trudeau fanboy since the moment he became Prime Minister of Canada. He, along with Barack Obama, are the two leaders in my lifetime that I have actually found reason to believe in. So it actually baffles me that Daisley believes Trudeau has “no vision”. Let’s just think about what Trudeau has done so far:
- Lowered the taxes on the middle class and created a new tax bracket for those earning over $200,000;
- Given more leave for those who need to care for sick family members;
- Has welcomed 28,000 Syrian refugees since November 2015, and he reintroduced a health initiative so that they had some health care benefits;
- Combating climate change and promoting clean energy;
- Self-confessed LGBT ally and has attended many Pride events;
- He’s fighting to reduce childhood poverty.
Oh and let’s not forget that he created an ethnically diverse gender equal cabinet when he came to power in November 2015. Not only that, but the cabinet consisted of people who actually had experience.
For example, the health minister was a doctor; the minister of science was a scientist (with a Nobel prize!); minister of defence was a war hero; minister of status of women was a woman; minister of sport and persons with disabilities was a paralympian athlete; and the minister of transport? An astronaut. The cabinet also consisted of at least two aboriginal ministers, three ministers born outside Canada, at least two ministers are Sikh, at least one is Muslim, and at least two are atheist. Justin Trudeau basically created a cabinet to be proud of and one that should be replicated around the world.
Justin Trudeau has worked hard to accomplish achieving what he has promised the people of Canada, but not only that – he has been a role model to what leaders should be. But that scares a lot of people, especially those who have been in politics for a long time or who believe in a different type of politics than that of Trudeau. To the south, Trudeau has the likes of Donald Trump shouting the words “fake news” as much as he can whilst criticising everyone but himself and declaring that teachers should have guns; across the pond, Trudeau has the Theresa May’s Conservative crumbling combined crises of Brexit, homelessness, and the struggling NHS; and across the Pacific, he has Putin. Clowns to the left of him, jokers to the right… Is it any wonder that the greatest leader is making the rest worried of how he could inspire their own citizens so instead he’s ridiculed as a “snowflake”. It is ridiculous.
Then again, maybe Trudeau should wear the title of Captain Snowflake with pride. After all, if being a snowflake means that you respect people, what the hell is wrong with that?
The thirst for truth and knowledge
Whilst researching the topic for this article, I came across an article from The Telegraph, written in 2016. It was written by Martin Daubney. He was giving out awards to famous snowflakes. Among them, he awarded “Professional Snowflake of the Year” to actor Amy Schumer.
He said that Schumer had “elevated victimhood to a lucrative art form” by sharing posts that had “fat shamed” her by trolls. He ended the paragraph by saying: “plus-sized Schumer somehow landed the lead role in the forthcoming Barbie movie, which is a bit like casting Seth Rogen to play Superman”. You know what? Amy Schumer is a fantastic actor and I reckon she will do a fantastic job of playing Barbie. She is a superb role model to young women everywhere, and a great role model to men too. As for Seth Rogen? Another talented actor who could probably play a brilliant Superman. Daubney’s insulting award to Schumer is way out of order. Yes, Daubney, I am offended. Respect costs nothing, but insults can cost lives.
Later in his article, Daubney attacks Lily Allen for showing emotion when visiting refugees in the Calais Jungle. He gave her the award for “British Snowflake of the Year” and attacked her, as well as other politically conscious celebrities with: “she became a lightning rod for all that is wrong about pampered celebs “doing” politics”.
Once upon a time, journalism was about more than just insults, libel, and lies. Journalism meant something. Journalism is supposed to be the thirst for truth and knowledge, with the eventual sharing of that truth and knowledge to the reader. It has now turned into churned out nonsense with the aim of being clickbait so that sponsors can share their adverts whilst you read so-called journalists insulting good people. Journalism should be more than that.
We are now living in an age where mainstream media ignores thousands of people marching in the capital city; where newspapers spread malicious lies about a political leader; and where the media celebrates those who take a stand against sexual harassment but then continue to pay paparazzi who attempt to get up-skirt images of those same celebrities getting out of vehicles. We live in an age where the media doesn’t care for truth and knowledge, but would rather concern themselves with what sells. Media barons donate disgusting sums of money to political parties then instruct their so-called journalists to churn out unfounded accusations against the opponents of those political parties so that they can control what the government does.
Journalism should mean more than this.
No-one told you life was going to be this way…
I was among the thousands of people who loved Friends, the TV sitcom that was first released during the 90s. I was too young when it first came out, but I caught a few episodes during my teenage years, when it was repeated on a tv channel (I forget which!). I then bought the boxset when I went to university, because obviously I needed an excuse to procrastinate when I should have been writing assignments. It became a staple of student living, and housemates soon found similarities between the characters and the people they were living with. I was described as Chandler, always using humour to deflect.
Anyway, when the show was released on Netflix, it was great because now I didn’t have to go hunting around for the DVD discs, as I could just click on it on the online streaming service. Fantastic! And again, I watched it and I laughed.
And then I read articles about “snowflakes” who were pointing out the politically incorrect aspects of this much-loved sitcom. Unlike the many others who criticised these “snowflakes” as being easily offended, I actually looked into what they were saying and I understood where they were coming from. Some of the jokes and representation of characters could be seen, with today’s perspective, as inappropriate and offensive. If made today, I doubt the sitcom would have got through the censors without being told to change a few things. I still love the show, though. I think that at the time, things were different and we were not as culturally aware as we are now.
So what exactly is wrong with people pointing out how a television programme made in the 90s could be seen as transphobic, homophobic, and sexist in today’s society? Isn’t this what we’ve been doing throughout time? We point out the differences in Shakespeare’s time to now, including the fact that we would frown upon an 18-23 year old Romeo grooming a 13 year old Juliet. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain has, on occasion, been banned for its use of ‘racial slurs’, despite being published in 1884 when the racist terms were not seen as such. Also considering television sitcoms, do we not point out the inappropriateness of sitcoms that were popular in the 1970s? For example, Love Thy Neighbour referred to a character as ‘nig-nog’ and ‘Sambo’. We are aware that times have changed and we have become more aware of what is offensive and what excludes, marginalises, and insults groups of people. We know now what we didn’t know then, or, maybe more accurately, wanted to ignore then.
I think we should be encouraging young people to engage with this type of discussion. Why disregard their criticisms as them being “snowflakes”? I remember that I taught my former students about how many different books had been banned throughout the world for many different reasons. I presented these books to them, wrapped in brown paper, and asked them to decide whether the book should be banned and to argue for or against. Most of the students argued against banning of any book, but nonetheless pointed out the many reasons why certain texts could be seen as offensive. Tintin in the Congo was a book that surprised many of them. They opened it up and were completely surprised that such images and language could be used in a book aimed at children. It wasn’t until the date of publication was mentioned that they began to understand. However, they also argued that the context of the time is important to remember, but it is also important to consider contemporary context too.
We shouldn’t criticise those who are showing respect to others. We shouldn’t disregard or mock them. We should learn from them. We should debate with them. If we disagree, then we should show them why.
“The avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.”
– Oxford English Dictionary
People do not like change. People do not like being told that what they are doing, what they have always done, is wrong. This is why political correctness is mostly seen as a nuisance and something that is wrong with the world.
“This is political correctness gone mad!” Admit it, this is a phrase that we have all heard many times. The thing is, I never really know what is wrong with being correct. Surely being correct is a good thing? Apparently not.
Did you know that most political correctness stories are made up or spun into something else? It is done out of misunderstanding, although sometimes it is also done to manipulate people into believing that political correctness is wrong.
Baa Baa Rainbow Sheep
You’ve heard the story about the political correctness brigade banning Baa Baa Black Sheep right? You heard that it was offensive to use the word ‘black’ so it has been banned, right? Yeah, about that… that was made up. There were a couple of nurseries in Oxfordshire who decided to make the song longer and more stimulating for the children. So they started by changing the description of ‘black’ and replacing it with a range of other adjectives. People heard about this, misunderstood, said it was about race, and there we go… as Donald Trump would say “Fake news!”
Shh, Humpty Dumpty didn’t fall!
Those poor snowflake political correct brigade couldn’t cope with poor Humpty’s fall, that they banned the real lyrics and changed it. Apart from they didn’t. You can sing Humpty Dumpty in full. Humpty Dumpty is an egg. Nobody is protecting the feelings of a fictional egg. A BBC children’s show changed the lyrics for creative reasons and this inspired other organisations to do the same – for creative reasons – and it was never because of political correctness. Again, Donald Trump would say: “Fake news!”
England shirt and flags upset people!
Don’t be idiots. This was also fake news. It was a misunderstanding after the Metropolitan Police gave advice to pubs in Croydon about how to try to dissuade violence and riots. There has been a long history of football riots around this area in London, and so they gave a list of advice, in which was the suggestion of a dress code. They suggested “no football shirts”. All football shirts. To stop violence and riots. Not because foreigners would be offended.
Christmas is banned!
I walk around city centres throughout this country between September and 25th December, and everywhere is covered in Christmas decorations and shops are full of stock covered in the word ‘Christmas’. Most shops are also blasting out Christmas music. Spaced out throughout city centres are also choirs and brass bands, also blasting out Christmas music. The word “Christmas” does not offend. It is not banned. Sometimes, I wish it was, just so I don’t have to hear another “All I Want For Christmas Is You”. The only reason that the word ‘festive’ is used is marketing. It can include more than just Christmas that way, so it covers a lot more. It isn’t because it is offensive, it is purely money.
So what exactly is wrong with being politically correct?
Nothing. It isn’t madness. It isn’t ridiculous. It is the sensible avoidance of excluding, marginalising, or insulting people. Basically, it is showing respect.
I am a snowflake
David Hogg is one of the surviving students from the Florida mass shooting. He has been among the many other surviving students who has been brave enough to take a stand and demand stricter gun control. That’s right, after the traumatic event of being shot at when just innocently trying to learn, he stood up and demanded no more.
Thing is, people didn’t like this. First, they accused him and the other students of being “crisis actors”. In other words, David Hogg and the other people demanding no more mass shootings and stricter gun control were actors called in to manipulate the public. These are children. These are young people. They’ve been shot at and now they have to defend themselves to idiots.
I believe Cameron Kasky, one of the other student survivors, said it best when he told one newsreader that: “if you had seen me in my school’s production of Fiddler on the Roof, you would know that no one would pay me to act for anything”.
Not only did these young people have to defend themselves from idiots about being “crisis actors” but they have also been called “snowflakes” for being offended by guns. People who don’t want more gun control laws are saying that these young millennials are just crying over nothing and are just offended. Yeah, these people, who were shot at by someone with mental health issues who was allowed to get hold of a gun, are being called “snowflakes”.
Right, well now that I am coming to the end of this – very long – article, I am going to to stand up with my fellow snowflakes. If being respectful and standing up for your opinion is being a snowflake, then I am a snowflake. If fighting for equality and against violence is being a snowflake, then I am a snowflake. If bringing to light the disrespectful and insulting nature of trolls is being a snowflake, then I am a snowflake. During my research into this article, I have read nothing to convince me that being a snowflake should be an insult. The title seems to be given to people who deserve to be respected, deserve to be encouraged, and deserve to be applauded.
And I suppose if that offends you, welcome to the Snowflake Club.