Tuesday, 5 December 2006

Essay on identity, political correctness, and the uncontrollable factors of one's life

Though I consider myself centre-left, liberal in modern, relatively conservative America, I do not believe in affirmative action. Is it not hypocrisy to fill up positions that would be for those possibly better suited for them with people who are minorities — just because they are of “minority” ethnic status? Keep in mind there is no “average American” (you can’t have 2.2 children), though the vast, vast majority of those living in the United States describe themselves as “average”. Another issue I have been dealing with is that of identity. If I were black, or African American, would I care more about African American civil rights in the US, or anywhere with those of African descent? Race is something that is biological. Although the term “race” sometimes makes people forget we are all of the same race; we are all humans… for the sake of this writing, I’ll ignore that semantic aspect.

Traits that are biological are — for the most part — uncontrollable factors by us, as is gender, etc. We have seen what happens when people change the color of their skin or modify the sex of their body, and that receives a usually-bitter response from society in general. If we are to look at each other in a way where we cannot change these biological and uncontrollable traits, and many times it is scientifically impossible to do so, should the fact that I am not black hinder me from caring about the human rights of those who are not of the same close descent as me? Although I think you are what you are, people should be able to do those things to their body unless it is endangering themselves or the livelihood of others.

Since the era of African American civil rights, largely in the 1950s and 60s, all of America seems to be stuck in a time warp. Of political correctness — which is often hypocritical and irrational, like religion —, of viewing others as equal even though many think otherwise, of not questioning how Americans are supposed to look at things and keeping the status quo. Although I am not totally against political correctness, it does stifle free thought and free speech in ways I obviously do not promote. This era of excessive close-mindedness needs to come to an end, as does the one oppressing homosexuals, which is quite tantamount to past oppressions of those of African descent, et al. (See my views on gays in this post and this one, more soon.)

So, my question is this, does someone view the world differently for being different via an uncontrollable factor, e.g. being black instead of white? Even if they are not treated differently (which is sadly unlikely, even in this day in age)? Even if they can dissociate themselves from racial and other uncontrollable factors’ generalization and stereotypical labels from society as a whole?

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