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Wed Jan 28, 2015, 03:26 PM

'PC culture' isn't about your freedom of speech. It's about our freedom to be offended [View all]

When a writer like New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait feels it necessary to whine in print about his and other (mostly well-remunerated) writers’ inability to write offensive tripe without consequence, I think: Boo-fucking-hoo. Get a real problem.

A man in the UK tried to kill three women because he was a virgin and thought of them “as a more weaker part of the human breed”. Another man who gave a thumbs up to the camera as he sexually assaulted Canadian teen Rehteah Parson – who later killed herself – was given probation. And here in the US, Republicans tried to pass a 20-week abortion ban that would only allow for rape and incest victims to access abortion services if they had first reported the crimes to police. And that’s just this month, and just about women, off the top of my head.

It is in that environment that Chait wants us to take seriously and without any offense his weighty, serious mind-baubles on everything from race relations to his frustration that rape laws are supposedly too strict and now his hand-wringing over imaginary affronts to white liberal men’s ability to speak freely (by which he means “without women or people of color getting mad at him”). Feminism might be dominating many conversations, but sexism is still horrific and, while there is a good conversation to be had over how ideological one-upmanship and “call out culture” impacts rigorous debate, that is not the conversation Chait is starting.

Chait conflates real incursions on speech – a University of Michigan student who was harassed and intimidated after he published what was seen as an offensive newspaper column, for example – and simple forms of activism like signing a petition to keep a speaker off campus. Most of the acts that Chait says are “perverting liberalism” are acts of free speech themselves: discussions of racial microaggressions, hashtag campaigns, and even complaints from women of color about racism on a Facebook group. It seems the only kind of speech Chait thinks should be “free” is the kind he agrees with.


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Reply 'PC culture' isn't about your freedom of speech. It's about our freedom to be offended [View all]
ismnotwasm Jan 2015 OP
F4lconF16 Jan 2015 #1
ismnotwasm Jan 2015 #3
Name removed Jan 2015 #2
freshwest Jan 2015 #4
oberliner Jan 2015 #5
1StrongBlackMan Jan 2015 #6
Tuesday Afternoon Jan 2015 #7
oberliner Jan 2015 #8
1StrongBlackMan Jan 2015 #9
BainsBane Jan 2015 #10