Political correctness is where one tries to think about the words one uses before speaking. It’s about diplomacy and tact. You also try to keep in mind if you would like it if someone used offensive words at you. On the other hand I don’t support censoring people who sound like assholes. They should be able to say what they want when they want. What I don’t support is when the assholes get angry and complain when their assholeness is pointed out to them. That isn’t censorship. It’s making an observation and if they can’t take it then maybe they need to shut their pie hole.
*Trigger warning: the following post uses some coarse language and could be offensive to some people*
There was incident during the holiday season here in Columbus where a homophobe decided to express his bigotry while in line at food truck:
This past weekend I was a part of something incredible that happened in my community of Columbus, Ohio. After a fun night out in the Short North, my friend Ethan and I ventured down the street to a popular pizza truck called Mikey’s Late Night Slice. As a frequent late night visitor to the truck I knew the requisite wait in line is part of the process for securing an insanely good slice of pizza. It was really cold so Ethan and I were holding hands and standing close together to keep warm, we were laughing and joking about all the fun we’d had that night, when all of the sudden the guy in front of us turns around and tells us to cut our “gay shit” out.
I was a bit startled by his words but I didn’t expect what happened next. Almost every single person in that line made it known to him it was not OK for him to speak to us like that. By happenstance my friend John, who is also gay, was standing in front of him and as he continued his rant about being disgusted by us we both let him know that this was our city too and that we were not about to stand down to his bigoted ideas, especially not in one of the gayest neighborhoods in town. As he continued it was actually the straight people in line who spoke up that were so awesome.
I didn’t expect to see allies so willing to chime in and let this guy know that his hate speech wouldn’t be tolerated. The best part though was as he grew more irate and vocal the guys who work the truck stopped what they were doing and leaned towards the window and told him they would not serve him because he was spewing hate. They said they support everyone in our community and that he should get out of line because they would not be serving him. He begrudgingly got out of line and walked away escorted by a friend who had been hanging back.
The homophobe didn’t like it when people pushed back at his bigotry. Additional info I learned about the incident when it was on our local TV station was the bigot was complaining about his rights being violated as he walked away. I kind of agree with him somewhat on that point. I didn’t think it was okay for the pizza truck workers to refuse to serve him because he was being an asshole.
It’s a tight line to walk since businesses can and do decide who to serve and who not to serve. I just think the bigot should have been able to get his slice while at the same time get slammed from the crowd for his stupid remarks. Assholes are people too. It’s best if the assholes are out in the public so we know who is one and who isn’t. That would save time on who to talk to or be friends with.
Another example of my argument that assholes have no right not to be called an asshole is part of the on going firestorm over treating women with decency in the freethought movement:
Anyway, this person came onto my radar as an excellent example of the kind of attitudes that are harming the atheist community. Just because he calls women “bitches” and “fucking bitches”, and just because he makes taunting, obscene “jokes” about having sex tapes of women he dislikes (because, as you know, nothing discredits a woman more thoroughly than proof that she’s had sex) – just because of that, I had the absolute gall to hint that he might be a misogynist! Well, he hit the roof, let me tell you, posting a string of angry tweets in which he loudly, repeatedly, and vehemently insisted that he didn’t care the slightest bit about my opinion of him and demanded to know just who the hell I think I am.
Again this is something that has been festering for more than year. I’m glad the sexism and misogyny is being pointed out but I also think the assholes who spew it should be allowed to do so as long as they want but they can’t then claim the push back is wrong or an attempt at censorship. As Adam Lee continues in his post:
Judging by his raving about “censorship”, [he] seems to think that by criticizing him, I’m trying to silence him (the so-called “freeze peach” mentality). Nothing could be further from the truth! Just as I said about Justin Vacula, it would never be my first choice to kick anyone out of the atheist movement, even if I had the power to do that. We need all the activists and the allies we can get. I just want them to drop the sexist attitudes and the gratuitous insults aimed at their fellow skeptics, and instead direct their anger at the real injustices in the world that are genuinely worth getting angry about.
The reaction that Lee got is what religious fundamentalists use when their intolerant or bigoted statements or ideas are called out for being intolerant, bigoted, or irrational. They whine and cry about censorship when nothing like that happens.
I get it. I use to call random women I didn’t know “bitches” and I even used the “C” word because I thought it was so funny… when I was in Junior High. The women in my family ultimately corrected me of that stupidity by pointing it out to me. One of the best lessons I got that I remember to this day is don’t call someone a name you wouldn’t call your Mom or Grandma. If you don’t understand that then you have some serious mental issues to deal with about a general respect for humanity.
One more time, assholes should be able to show their assholeness without restrictions. However having your biases and bigotry pointed out to you is NOT censorship. And just because you think you can call women all kinds of names you would never call your Mother doesn’t make your warped view about women valid. It just makes you sound like an asshole.
If that offends you then you need to get over it.
(*Side Note* Yes, this blog’s general rule is to not quote anything from Huffington Post but in this case it was the only place that had the quote I used in my post)