This topic was bound to appear at some point and I thought now was the perfect time to unleash it due to a mystifying event in class today.
I was swiftly reprimanded at the start of a lesson by a disgusted teacher after I noted that I had seen a lesbian earlier in the day. I must stress that I did not mention or even imply that there was something derogatory about being a lesbian but by the look on the teachers face you would have thought that I’d killed them.
I do not think this is an isolated incident, publications such as the infamous daily mail and daily express spout off various examples of where people have been arrested or prosecuted for innocuous actions or comments. Take for instance, the recent case of the cross on a van drivers dashboard that caused the driver to be fired. No body was offended by the cross as was the lesbian not offended by my comment, however someone had to get involved and take offence by proxy.
The fact is that, in England, and especially in a rural Oxfordshire school, minorities tend to be isolated and, in this case, quite rare. This means that when you see something/someone out of the ordinary it is a significant and, in my case, a comment worthy event. The example I used for the teacher was that of the red squirrel. Red squirrels have become very rare in England due to the invasion of the American grey squirrel, therefore it is a significant event when you see one and something that you hear people comment about once in a while. I don’t think anyone is under the impression that a single person in Britain has ever been derogatory about red squirrels through these comments and so why should this differ for minorities? By saying they deserve different treatment and by not acknowledging difference I believe people are more ignorant than those making off hand comments.
However this sort of PC thinking is entirely prevalent in our Western society and is made legal by over zealous human rights laws which seem to prevail in every area over other laws such as freedom of speech (see the super-injunction news). It is something that people such as radical Muslims take advantage of and, while trying to avoid discrimination against minorities, promotes positive discrimination to the detriment of the majority. It was mentioned earlier in the year that Oxbridge universities only admit a very small proportion of coloured students. What was the British public’s answer? That we should prefer coloured students over other applicants to reduce this statistic. This is entirely unfair to non – minority applicants and creates the very discrimination it aims to prevent.
In conclusion, while it would be better for common sense, it is unlikely that the British public will change their pc attitude for fear of offended someone. And that’s the problem, the fear of offending.