Can political correctness go too far? Yes.
It is said that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Many times people do things they hope will produce positive results, but the actions unintentionally produce unwanted consequences.
I firmly believe the movement towards political correctness is one of these good intentions gone horribly wrong.
Though started long ago, the current manifestation of political correctness began in the late 1980s and gained widespread acceptance by the early 1990s as an effort of eliminate disparaging phrases and ideals from the public’s consciousness.
Racial slurs became taboo, sexist ideas became reprehensible and equality among all people seemed to be within grasp. These are all positive effects from the political correctness movement that only the most hate filled racists and sexists could argue were a bad influence on society.
Then it all got out of hand as people searched for racism or sexism, often finding it — or at least what they perceived as these traits — in the most minute of areas. The result has been a devaluation of common sense in favor of an attitude of not offending anybody.
While there are several examples of this I could use to fill the remainder of this column, I am limited in space and will focus on a single story.
The Telegraph, the largest newspaper in the United Kingdom, published a story in its Sunday edition about people who want to alter the way things are done in preschool programs to be more politically correct in an effort to prevent racist ideas developing in early childhood.
One proposal includes no longer portraying witches in black apparel.
The reasoning behind this idea is that the black garments witches are portrayed as wearing can lead young children to associate darker colors with bad. It will only be a matter of time before these kids associate dark clothing with dark skin and make the assumption that all darker skinned people are evil.
This is a good case of never letting the facts get in the way of a good story. Black has always been associated with evil for a very simple reason and it has nothing to do with racism.
Black offers good camouflage at night — the time most witches (and criminals) do their deeds because the low levels of light protect them from identification. Look back to the art of Europe during the dark ages — a term I am surprised has not fallen to the side thanks to political correctness — and you can clearly see evildoers cloaked in black garments, and that was a time there were few minorities in Europe — none of which were portrayed in art.
The black garments at night offers such good camouflage at night it was used by cultures all over the world, not just black cultures. Have you ever seen a ninja wearing a neon yellow outfit?
The fact remains that witches and other people with bad intentions will do their evil deeds whether they wear black, white, pink or, in a momentary lapse of fashion judgment, mix stripes and plaids.
Besides, there is another flaw in this plan. The theory behind this idea is that black garments on witches will lead to the association that dark skin is evil. So wouldn’t portraying witches in white garments lead to the association that light skin is evil?
Let us not forget that these children are at preschool for a limited period of time each day. They can pick up racist attitudes at home or by watching television — where the witches, even the good ones like Harry Potter and his allies, will continued to be dressed in black.
At first glance this policy seems to make sense, but taking a moment to analyze it shows there are serious flaws to this theory. A little analysis is a good thing, but too much can lead to finding problems where none exist — and that is where the politically correct movement is at these days.
All it takes is the application of common sense, which, unfortunately, is not all that common these days.