Some of you may have read my blog the other day and you saw 24 photos from my wedding. And many of you told me in the comments how happy we all looked and how you enjoyed the photos.
But one of my readers, a M. Le Clown, emailed me to let me know that the caption for the photo shown below is racist and xenophobic and generally “just fucking awful.”
Initially, I laughed at his comment and wrote back, “really, from you??” Since anyone who has read Le Clown’s blog knows that he can offend the hell out of people. And Le Clown and I went back and forth as we do and wound up strongly disagreeing with each other as we often do.
I didn’t intend this to be offensive unless it offends Terrorists and I am a strong supporter of offending Terrorists. In the photo, my friends and I have pashminas on our heads because it is raining. Then we thought it was funny and made our serious Terrorist faces.
I can see that it may have been construed as being racist or xenophobic, if I had captioned it:
“Fending off the rain and doing our best impression of Muslim women, Arabs, Middle Easterners, etc. who are all terrorists.”
But I didn’t. Eric says that the wearing of the scarves with the word “Terrorist” in the caption make this a racist picture caption. Here’s the uncomfortable truth is that many terrorists wear headscarves and make scary faces. That’s just true. Racial profiling is frowned upon in international airport security but that doesn’t erase the fact that 99% of terrorist attacks are committed by Muslim men. (No, that 99% is not scientifically proven figure but I bet the number is up there.)
I think this is an example of political correctness going off the rails. In the U.S., in my opinion, we have gone overboard in our “sensitivity”:
- The Washington Redskins football team is embroiled in a lawsuit because various groups don’t like their name.
- It isn’t acceptable to say “Merry Christmas” or have a Christmas tree in a public space because it might offend someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas. Thus the new December tradition the “Holiday Tree”. What holiday? Umm, I think it’s Christmas.
- The mention of God in the Pledge of Allegiance is offensive and results in children not being allowed to recite the Pledge, in let’s say a 5th grade graduation at my daughter’s school.
- “Manhole” is not to be used for a the hole in the middle of the road that takes workers down to fix whatever is down there.
- Don’t get me started on Chairman, Congressman, Waitress, Stewardess.
My point is, has this Political Correctness, Cultural Sensitivity gone too far? What has happened to Free Speech? If you don’t like what someone says that doesn’t mean it is wrong or racist, cruel or demeaning; it just means you don’t like it. And if you don’t like something then why not vote with your delete key, or your wallet, or your ballot?
In the U.S., I am finding more and more that Free Speech is fine as long as certain parties approve of what you’re saying. And that’s not really how it should work.
So what do you think? Am I wrong? I can be wrong, that’s fine. Is the caption to that picture offensive and racist? Or is it just some people goofing around?
I thank Le Clown for having a civil (kind of) conversation regarding our difference of opinion and for giving me something to write about.