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The Issue of Incorrect Political Correctness

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What has the world come to? People are being unfairly punished for exercising their right to use the first amendment of this great country. Dave Chappelle tackled this issue in an ingenious way with his most recent show on Netflix ‘Sticks & Stones’. Also, according to Deresiewicz’s “On Political Correctness”, PC has become more about gaining power over others than what it was meant to be when the term first came out, and students are beginning to realize it. Moreover, both him and Chappelle can agree that people are not being real and exposing their true selves and beliefs due to fear of backlash or labeling from what some call the ‘PC police’. Given these points, this has become an unvoiced major issue in today’s society. The people forgot their fundamental right of free speech, which caused fear and panic over the idea of losing power or being punished, in addition, people are lying to both themselves and others by hiding what they truly believe in from their friends, and when Chappelle confronted this issue and as a result of his jokes he received intense criticism (as expected). However, he did prove his point on how far-gone the world is today when it comes to many issues including “political correctness”.

Chappelle proved that nobody likes being silenced, in any context what-so ever. Nevertheless, this is what political correctness has come to, people forgot that they are allowed to say anything without the fear of being punished. Nowadays people are being silenced figuratively and sometimes quite literally such as what happened to Dave Chappelle fifteen years ago. He had written a sketch which had the word ‘faggot’ in it. While he may have had not seen that as a problem, his network manager did. She had told him that the sketch was great except for the fact that he had to take the word ‘faggot’ out. He apologized and agreed to take it out. However, just as he was leaving he had the thought of why he was not allowed to say ‘faggot’, but was allowed to say the word ‘nigger’. So He asked the manager to try and figure out why that was, and she responded with,’ because David….you’re not gay”, Chappelle went on to say, “Well, Renée… I’m not a nigger either.” This joke had an extremely powerful double meaning which states that he is ‘allowed’ to say the word ‘nigger’ because he is still viewed that way in today’s society. By the same token, Deresiewicz mentioned, ‘When the latter are accused of opposing free speech, they invariably respond, “How can we be opposed to free speech? We are exercising it right now!” But everyone is in favor of their own free speech (including, for instance, Vladimir Putin). The test of your commitment to free speech as a general principle is whether you are willing to tolerate the speech of others, especially those with whom you most disagree. If you are using your speech to try to silence speech, you are not in favor of free speech. You are only in favor of yourself.’ He explained that in the world we live in today, free speech is considered to be the belief that your opinions and your views are the only ones that matter and are correct. In addition, most people have different views and thoughts on societal norms, but are too scared to announce them as a consequence of the judgement they will receive from “normal” people who think “normally”. The first amendment was written to give everyone without exception a voice, so who are we to take that voice away from comedians like Chappelle for instance, because it contradicts with our opinions, beliefs, and societal norms.

Chappelle interpreted to the audience when he told a joke about the audience sounding like power hungry idiots to him, that he believes that people only want to bring down other people for mistakes or things they said in the past. In a mocking voice he said, “Hey! Durr! If you do anything wrong in your life, duh, and I find out about it, I’m gonna try to take everything away from you, and I don’t care when I find out. Could be today, tomorrow, 15, 20 years from now. If I find out, you’re fucking-duh-finished. – Trump .– Who… Who’s that? – Trump – Trump That’s YOU! That’s what the audience sounds like to me.” Chappelle stresses that people nowadays are hungry for celebrities’ heads, and the only way to satisfy that hunger Is by “feeding” the people any and everybody that makes the slightest mistake in their career. The way that everyday people correspond to today’s view of political correctness has turned 180 degrees than what it was once meant to be. It has turned to an issue of power. People realized that they can acquire immense power over others with PC. A supporting idea to the Chappelle joke would be when Deresiewicz stated in the beginning of his article “On Political Correctness”, “But so much of political correctness is not about justice or creating a safe environment; it is about power. And so much of what is taking place at colleges today reflects the way that relations of power have been reconfigured in contemporary higher education. Campus activists are taking advantage of the fact (and I suspect that a lot of them understand this intuitively, if not explicitly) that students have a lot more power than they used to.” Deresiewicz explains how college students today differ from their predecessors when it comes to power over their professors, and many more. When it comes to taking people down and having power of them it is basically in our DNA, and that’s where Political Correctness deteriorates into something truly awful.

Honesty is the foundation of any relationship of any kind. During his show, Chappelle made quite a bit of comments that were ‘wrong’ and ‘inappropriate’ about topics that would offend a good number of people. Chappelle talked about how he is and feels as a person when it comes to victims. He stated, ‘I… I am what’s known on the streets as a victim blamer. You know what I mean? If somebody come up to me like, “Dave, Dave, Chris Brown just beat up Rihanna.” I’ll be like, “Well, what did she do?” “Dave, Michael Jackson was molesting children.” “Well, what were those kids wearing at the time?” . Some would argue that everything about that joke is offensive. However, all Chappelle did was embrace his own truth. He owned up to his own beliefs and ideas without the slightest fear or paranoia from peoples’ judgmental thoughts. He opened up about how he felt about a topic, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Similarly, Deresiewicz had realized from his time teaching at college campuses that people are holding their beliefs for the sole reason of fitting in. He went on to explain in his article that he had a ‘strong feminist’ student who told him that ‘she tends to keep quiet about everything, because she never knows when she might say something that you’re not supposed to’. Who wrote about a friend whom she had known since the beginning of college and who, she’d just discovered, went to church every Sunday. My student hadn’t even been aware that her friend was religious. When she asked her why she had concealed this essential fact about herself, her friend replied, “Because I don’t feel comfortable being out as a religious person here.” To put it briefly, the point that both Deresiewicz made and the idea that Chappelle implemented about the subject is, fear of judgment by the ‘pc police’ causes people to hold back their real selves from others. Consequently, relationships do not last as long as they used to, before the horrid term political correctness emerged.

All in all, Chappelle’s ‘Sticks & Stones’ seems to be simply provocative at first, however when given ones’ complete attention and analysis of the meaning behind his jokes, one would find a lot of points and ideas parallel to those of Deresiewicz’s ‘On Political Correctness’. Such as , the idea of our freedom of speech getting taken away both indirectly and sometimes quite directly. Also, they had both pointed out the idea of people chasing after power using the excuse of political correctness. Above all, both the author and the comedian proved an extremely important point on people hiding their views and ideas in order to fit in, and who are we without our own unique views and ideas.

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