The student news site of Esperanza High School
Image obtained through Google Commons.

Image obtained through Google Commons.

Political Correctness: 1997 vs. 2017

November 13, 2017

Has political correctness gone too far?

The following story was published by The Aztlán in the November issue of 1997. We did not publish this story because we agree with the stance it takes, but because it shows that the discussion of political correctness is actually one that has been going on for much longer than we usually think.


 

Well, my fellow students, the newest indictment has been made in the social witch-hunt known collectively as ‘Political Correctness”. According to a September decision made by some board somewhere, it is now illegal, immoral, and disgusting act of racism to emblazon school property with, or condone the use of Indian (Native American) mascots. Several schools, including perhaps our own, may be forced to change their symbolic namesakes to appease the extreme political left in our midst. Most effected, according to Shel Elrich of the Los Angeles Unified School District will be the Birmingham High School Braves, the University High School Warriors , The Gardena High School Mohicans and the Wilmington Middle School Warriors. If these schools do not comply with the recent legislation, and do not do so by the end of June, they will be penalized by some undisclosed legal ramification.

Am I the only one astonished by this? Not only is this an act of extreme small-mindedness, but also an infringement of our constitutional rights of self-expression. Okay, I’ll admit that Washington fans doing the “Tomahawk Chop” every Monday night is somewhat offensive. Not all tribes used tomahawks. Some had hammers, or slings, or the occasional big-rock-on-a-stick. Nevertheless, I feel that the calculating minds behind this move are raising a furor over a rather unimportant issue, merely for the sake of a few extra tentative votes. Why won’t they just leave us alone? We’re not hurting anyone.

Oh, but we are offending a nation of people. In that case what about the “Fighting Irish” of Notre Dame? I’m an Irish-American and quite frankly, I happen to believe that the image of a pipsqueak, pipe-smoking, boxing LEPRECHAUN is pretty blast demanding. Regardless of my extreme emotional pain and loss of ethnic pride over this obviously RACIST stab at my dignity, no one hears my cries! I don’t see throngs of protesters chaining themselves to the school walls, or charging the field in an act of suicidal act of patriotism. No, of course not, because I, and others like me do not represent enough of a VOTING MARGIN. In summation, this is not justice or civil rights activation. This is a thinly veiled agenda. I don’t know about you, fellow Aztecs, but I don’t feel much like being used today.

PC: 20-year difference

Upon inspection of old newspapers in The Aztlán file cabinet, we came across a very specific paper dating back twenty years to this day: Nov. 14, 1997. In it, an article written by then-opinions editor Matt Connelly criticizes a decision made by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) that banned Native American mascots. Connelly felt as though the legislation was an infringement on the First Amendment and was taking political correctness too far.

Obviously, the appropriation of Native American culture is still an issue to this day, the Washington Redskins controversy being the most prevalent example. However, average views on the matter are much less heated than those presented in Connelly’s article. Though some of the difference can be explained by a difference in time period, one has to wonder how much is accounted for simply by his own beliefs.

In the time since its writing, “PC” culture has evolved considerably. Much legislation on issues such as gender, sexual orientation, religion, and race has been fought for and passed in the 20 years since the article’s writing. As a result, it’s much more commonplace for less accepting people and practices to be called out on their behavior.

This is far from a bad thing, however. To live in a more accepting society is to understand that your opinions will differ from those of your peers, but to maintain one is to ensure that such opinions do not disenfranchise those same peers. This means that the evolution of political correctness has the capacity to broaden the conversation beyond hateful confines of forced division and ostracization, such as those presented in Connelly’s article.


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