No, RWNJs; it’s actual manners
I’be often wondered why people are so resistant to changing the language with which they address people, groups of people, ideas, and so on. Why does it cause such anger (mostly on the right) to ask people to please not call Native Americans “Indians”? Why is there so much rage against addressing folks by their preferred pronoun? Heck, I read a right-wing lament prior to the 2006 Olympics that using “Turino” rather than “Turin” was some kind of PC insanity. I didn’t understand it. It’s okay when someone corrects your pronunciation of their name; why is this other stuff such a big deal?
Bigotry, sure. A lot of people are simply bigots, and would probably still be calling African Americans “nigger” and Jews “kike” and Irish “Micks” and so forth if they could get away with it. Sad but true, those people are still with us.
There’s also the piece in there exemplified by all those Tea Party demands to “take our country back!” Back from who? Back to what? WTF are they talking about? Well, probably back to the day when naming a baseball team “Redskins” was so acceptable that no one gave it a second thought. When the population of the US was so heavily tilted towards white Christians that they felt they could act and speak with impunity (and usually could, too). When it was widely accepted that GLBTs were aberrant, sick people engaged in behavior that was patentently amoral and accepted as such (at least openly). When you could pinch a woman’s ass at work, call her “honey” or “sweetheart” or “babe” or “girl” without so much as a raised eyebrow.
But ya know, I think some of that, and some of the backlash itself, comes from laziness, pure and simple. People don’t want to learn new terms, new ways of addressing people, new rules of politeness because they’re lazy. (I’m not excepting myself from this, by the way; I’m hella lazy, too. I just suck it up and deal, because it’s the right thing to do.) Learning new terms, integrating them into your daily language, remembering them…it’s all a big pain in the ass and people don’t want to do it. So instead of sucking it up and dealing, they scream and rant and rave and look like (to be blunt) bigoted douche-nozzles. It’s not about “we don’t want to give in to the PC police!” so much as “We don’t want to learn new things, waah waah waah!” (And yes, imagine that in the tones of your least-favorite local 3-year-old, because that’s the emotional level of the demand in my opinion.)
I don’t have a good solution for this—just as “the poor will always be with us”, the lazy will be, too. And in all of us, for that matter. If I thought it would help I would suggest you to stare these “the heck with being PC!” folks in the eye and tell them, “You’re only saying that because you’re lazy and don’t want to work! Would you call someone ‘PC’ if they asked you to please stop mis-pronouncing their name?” But I don’t think it would, honestly.
But maybe it will help you, when you hear or read about these whiners complaining about the “demands of the PC police”, to think of them whining like a bunch of spoiled 3-year-olds. It helps me a little bit, anyway.
Completely agree. As a college professor I have to learn new forms of address constantly, and I do it because it’s the right thing to do. It doesn’t harm me in any way to use a preferred pronoun for a trans person, the appropriate current term for a minority group, and so on. Is it tough to keep up? Sure. But the alternative is being a douche, and I prefer not to do that intentionally.