Stop Policing Language–We Don't Always Need To Be Politically Correct

Stop Policing Language–We Don't Always Need To Be Politically Correct

We are all too concerned with the "right" way to say things

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College campuses across the country have become the debating ground over free speech. My own college, The University of Florida, was subject to this debate when white supremacist Richard Spencer spoke here last year. While I don't remotely agree with any of Spencer's ideology, I do believe in his right to speak because of the greater importance of free speech.

Strong proponents of free speech argue that political correctness is a threat to our democracy. I tend to agree with this line of thinking. I believe people have become too concerned with what is the "right" thing to say not knowing there are detrimental consequences in doing so.

However, I do want to make a clear distinction between being politically correct and hate speech. I'm not arguing anyone should be able to say anything they want and not expect certain repercussions. If one participates in hate speech the backlash they receive as a result of their actions is merited. But, not being politically correct does not necessarily equate to hate speech. This is because political correctness involves altering one's speech so as to not to offend anyone. This policing of our language can be relevant in certain circumstances but is typically being done in excess.

A popular form of political correctness is the term African American instead of black. White Americans are so accustomed to saying African American because that's the current politically correct term to use but they may be wrong in doing so. It isn't always safe to assume that every black person we see in America is African American. There are black Canadians, Europeans, Haitian Americans and other black people who don't identify as American citizens.

This scenario is exemplified in a 2017 article by the New York Times titled "Readers Respond: Which Racial Terms Make You Cringe?" reader Emily Brown writes, "The one I have recently begun to hate is 'African-American.' I think it perpetuates the myth that all blacks come from Africa and so there are some who think they should go back to Africa. So I've begun to use the term "black" again. Calling someone black "African American" is like calling me an "Israeli-American" just because I'm Jewish. I was not born in Israel; I was born here in the U.S. I am no more Israeli than your average black person is African."

Additionally, overuse of political correctness softens our language over time. While this may not seem consequential now we can look at history and see it has arguably cost peoples' lives. The late comedian George Carlin articulated this point exactly in one of his comedy specials. He described how the word post-traumatic stress disorder use to have multiple different names. It was initially called shell shock in World War I, then battle fatigue in World War II, then operational exhaustion to PTSD in the early 21st century.

Carlin argued that if we still called the condition shell shock perhaps more veterans would be getting the care and attention they need. However, because we have softened the word so much and left it devoid of any humanity there isn't enough concern surrounding the serious disorder. This emphasizes exactly how political correctness can be detrimental. Even though PTSD is the politically correct term, I believe the condition needs a name that accurately reflects how potentially debilitating it is and doesn't sugar coat it for people. Because while we as a society may feel more comfortable concealing or ignoring the seriousness of PTSD this only does a disservice to our veterans.

Furthermore, concern over political correctness typically serves as a distraction from things that truly affect peoples' lives. For instance, in May of this year, a debate you probably saw sparked over Twitter. The dispute was about if it was okay for a white girl to wear a Chinese style dress to prom. This was a major story in the news cycle while during that same month refugee children were being taken from their parents at the Mexico-United States border, the U.S. pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal and the shooting at Santa Fe high school in Texas took place. Clearly, these events should take precedence over a girls' prom dress.

On his HBO show, Bill Maher declared his frustration with this phenomenon when he stated, "What matters is that while you self-involved fools were policing language at the Kids' Choice Awards, a madman talked his way into the White House."

Lastly, as we increasingly police language or other forms of expression we are risking a domino effect. While I may not agree with the principles behind something such as the Confederate flag, every person has the right to fly that flag at their home. While I would certainly frown upon this and other forms of hateful expression if we authorize the government the power to chisel away our right to freedom of speech we are embarking into dangerous territory. The government should not have the jurisdiction to determine what symbols or words are okay and which ones are not. So, while we may hate hearing what some people have to say it is better to hear them than having silence forced upon us all.

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15 John Mulaney Quotes And Jokes To Get You Through The Day

"I went to the Delta help desk, which is an oxymoron..."
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This is going to sound bad, but it takes a lot for me to laugh out loud. Sure, I will chuckle at jokes and find things funny, but to make me belly laugh is a whole different story. I have never found comedians to be that funny and never thought I would. But then John Mulaney was introduced to me, and let me tell you, he is hilarious. Everything that comes out of his mouth is quotable and I use his jokes to respond to people every day without fail. Here are only some of his hilarious quotes and jokes.

1. “You have the moral backbone of a chocolate éclair.”

His Bill Clinton bit is one of the highlights of his show, “The Comeback Kid,” and I would highly recommend watching it. All in all, John as a kid comes home and he tells his father, “I’m gonna be a Democrat and I’m voting for Bill Clinton.” His dad responds with, “You have the moral backbone of a chocolate éclair.”

2. “Anyone who’s seen my d*** and met my parents needs to die; I can’t have them roaming around.”

After talking about how he got cheated on, Mulaney goes on to explain how it’s creepy to have an ex out there who knows so much information about you after things have ended. I died laughing when he said the above quote.

3. This:

4. His "Back to the Future" bit.

I can’t even choose one quote from this sketch because the entire bit is hilarious. Mulaney goes on to talk about how the plot of "Back to the Future" must have originally been pitched and in reality how weird the plot is when you actually explain it. It’s legendary.

5. On the phone with Blockbuster.

6. “Because Bill Clinton never forgets a b****.”

This is the punchline of the Bill Clinton sketch, essentially, so just watch it — I promise you it is well worth it.

7. Midgets.

8. “We started chanting, McDonald's, McDonald's, McDonald's! And my dad pulled into the drive thru, and we started cheering and then he ordered one black coffee for himself and kept driving.”

As a kid, anytime you saw a McDonald's your parents had to stop. But instead, John Mulaney’s father wasn’t having it and decided to do one of the coolest and funniest things.

9. "In terms of like, instant relief, canceling plans is like heroin."

10. “One black coffee, same motherf***er."

Yes, Bill Clinton sketch again. But, what’s great is how Mulaney ties previous jokes into other sketches. So when Mulaney’s mom got an invitation to a fundraiser where you could meet Bill Clinton, and having told a story about how his mother knew Bill Clinton in college, she said, “We have to go see Bill!” Mulaney’s father then replied with, “Why? It’s not like he’s gonna remember you.” And after a half gasp, half laugh from the audience, Mulaney goes, “One black coffee… same motherf***er.” Hilarious.

11. Opinions in school.

12. “I’m standing in the basement and I’m holding a red cup, you’ve seen movies. And I’m standing there holding a red cup and I’m starting to black out and I guess someone said like something something police. And in a brilliant moment of word association I yelled “F*** da police!” And everyone else joined in. A hundred drunk white children yelling f*** da police.”

Enough said.

13. Presidential Family Feud

14. This:

15. “Because it’s the one thing you can’t replace.”

Now, his last one may not seem funny at all as a quote, but the story Mulaney tells to set up this punchline is the greatest. If you already read the joke above, you know that Mulaney was talking about a party he went to in high school. The ending of the story was that the kid hosting the party said that someone at his party stole old antique photos of his grandmother. Two years later Mulaney’s friend shows him a closet in his house filled wall to wall with old antique photos. So Mulaney goes, “Why?...Why do you do this…?” and his friend responds with, “Because it’s the one thing you can’t replace.” And that, my friends, is quite a great story. Mulaney never fails to make me die on the floor laughing.
Cover Image Credit: laughspin.com

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Irish-American History Is Just As Important As Any Other Culture, You Can't Prove Me Wrong

I cherish being Irish and I will not let anyone let me feel bad for that.

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Depending on when you're reading this, Saint Patrick's day has either just passed or is around the corner. For me, Saint Patrick's day is tomorrow. I've been debating this article for some time now because I didn't know how it would be perceived. At this point, though, I feel it's important for me to get out. No, Irish people were never kept as slaves in America, and I will never be one to try and say they were. However, Irish people were treated tremendously awful in America. A lot of people tend to forget, or just try to erase entirely, the history of the Irish in America. So much so that I felt shameful for wanting to celebrate my heritage. Therefore, I want to bring to light the history that everyone brushes under the rug.

In 1845, a potato famine broke out across Ireland. This was a big deal because the Irish lived off, mainly, potatoes. They were cheap, easy to grow, and had tons of nutrients. So when the famine struck, many people either died of starvation or fled to America in seek of refuge. When the Irish arrived in America they were seen as a threat to the decency of America. People viewed them as drunk beasts, sinful savages, barbaric, violent, belligerent, stupid, and white apes. When the Irish would go to look for jobs, many times they found signs that read "Irish Need Not Apply," even when the job was hiring. Therefore, the Irish did the jobs no one wanted, and even jobs African slaves wouldn't do. The biggest example of this is when Irishmen built canals and drained swamps. They were sent to do these things because of the enormous amount of mosquitoes; in the swamp, they would get bit and ultimately die of malaria.

Also, during this time, Irish people were poor and therefore lived in the same neighborhoods as the free African Americans. A lot of the Irish people were friendly with their neighbors of color and even got into interracial relationships. Because the Irish lived in these neighborhoods they were seen as dirty and even a lot of people at this time put African Americans higher on the totem pole than Irish. One person during the time even said, "At least the black families keep their homes clean."

The main reason American's outlook on Irish people changed was that most Irishmen took up fighting for the Union in the Civil War. I make this argument, not because I think the Irish suffered more than African slaves. I don't say this in means of trying to erase the struggles of the African slaves. I do not think that any of our ancestors should have been treated the way they were. I mean to say that the Irish did in fact suffer. Irish people were treated wrongly on the basis of...nothing. Simply because my ancestors hailed from the shores of Eire, they were treated with malice. And I write this simply because I want people to remember. I want people to understand what happened.

On Saint Patrick's Day this year, next year, and for the many years to come, I want people to embrace the Irish culture. I want the folks of Irish heritage to not be ashamed of where they come from; to not be ashamed to share their culture the way I have for many years. I want everyone to have a beer, wear some green, eat a potato or two, and dance the Irish step; to celebrate the history of Irish people with a bit more understanding than before.

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