1. A real-world test of acceptable speech
2. Political partisans playing the race card
In researching my book on Rapidly Overcoming Racism, Bigotry, and Homophobia, I found there is a lack of consensus regarding the use of various words that some people claim are not politically correct (PC). Some words, such as the N-word, are almost universally condemned, while others are deemed acceptable by some but not others.
The following introduction is necessary to fully understand a conclusion I will later draw from it: I live near a city—I'll call it PCC, for politically correct city—in which political correctness is rampant. PCC is home to Gay Pride & Diversity Festivals and numerous things like it. Many of our mayors are homosexual, and companies who want to do business with the city must fill out forms and jump through other hoops to prove they do not discriminate against homosexual employees. Our city commission includes enough homosexuals that they were able to pass a motion compelling residents to pay for bumper stickers featuring the “gay and lesbian pride” rainbow flag as a logo. They also changed the official city logo to one with a “gay and lesbian pride” rainbow, and ordered it displayed on all city vehicles, including snow plows, fire trucks, and police cars.
I don't have a problem with promoting tolerance to homosexuality (doubters can read a relevant article I wrote), but I think that a city logo or taxpayer-funded bumper sticker is not the place for anything to do with sexuality. However, that's not the focus of this article; that Intro to PCC was included to illustrate how this area has a greater than average prevalence of encouraging diversity, political correctness, and as you may have guessed, a significantly above average percentage of liberals. I don't have a problem with that, either. One of my sisters-in-law is a brilliant über-liberal who knows Michael Moore personally. Before she married my brother, she was married to a good friend of Moore; they go way back to their GM-bashing days in Flint (Michigan) that launched their careers.
After reading that introduction to my area, you can now understand how a visit to a store turned into a perfect opportunity for a social experiment testing the acceptability of a word deemed OK by some but not others. If real-world usage of that disputed word passed the test of acceptability in PCC that's a haven for the liberal agenda, it is strong evidence that some PC folks are going overboard in defining that word as universally unacceptable.
The serendipitous social experiment
While recently shopping in PCC that is an upscale predominantly liberal yuppie town, a salesman mentioned how “the Japs make great products.”
Of course they do. Had they rather than China made many of the products I've bought, I wouldn't have needed to discard countless items that were still shiny hours, days, weeks, or months after I purchased them, but had failed prematurely. My reverence for buying products made in the USA would diminish if we purchased our stuff from Japan. Now, back to the subject of this article . . . .
Since the salesman and I had become the focus of others in the store who were intently following the conversation about product quality, the second he said the word Japs, I instantly realized I had a chance to see how others responded to it.
Answer? They didn't.
The saleswoman listening to our conversation did not take him to task, or even flinch, when he said Japs. Other customers participating in or listening to this discussion of product quality also did not respond.
Not even a blink.
No raised eyebrows.
Now imagine that he said the N-word: believe me, heads would turn, jaws would drop, and eyes would bug out. However, in this case, no one even batted an eye.
Conclusion: Although people who wish to be offended can find offense in almost anything, many ordinary people use Japs as an abbreviation for Japanese. Merely using that term does not make them racist; perhaps they are (as I was) simply not up to date with the latest cultural standards of acceptability as defined by some but not all people.
It isn't easy keeping up with all non-PC words and phrases; even illustrious and otherwise polished Ivy League grads make such blunders, too. Appearing on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, President Obama said “It's like, it was like the Special Olympics or something” in referring to his low bowling score.
Had President George W. Bush similarly insulted the disabled, liberal activists would have tarred and feathered him, excoriating him for years afterward. However, the liberal outrage over Obama's blunder was surprisingly mild. ABC News wasn't happy about it, nor was Tim Shriver, chairman of the Special Olympics. Rahm Emanuel, then White House chief of staff, also apologized to the Special Olympics head after he called a group of liberal activists “fucking retarded.”
As someone who once was called “slow” by my sixth-grade teacher, kindling a burning desire to increase my IQ (something I later did), and as someone with an intellectually disabled relative, I think we should all strive to not use offensive words.
But Japs? I've heard that word used myriad times on various televised military documentaries, beginning from the time I was a kid, until now in politically correct 2011 when producers dare not air non-PC words without bleeping them out. Japs has been used by Time magazine, the U.S. government, and many ordinary people in everyday life, such as the salesman in über-liberal PCC. It's even in the Merriam-Webster dictionary I bought in 1974 and have used since:
In 2010, I learned that some people now consider “Jap” offensive, which is reflected in most current dictionaries. I read my dictionary in 1974 - 1975, which is more than most people do, but who buys new dictionaries and reads them every few years to see if some words have since acquired a possibly offensive connotation? Especially when those words are used on television or by people in the real world without others around them responding as if the word were offensive, how is one to realize when words shift in meaning (as in this case) from an acceptable abbreviation to possibly offensive slang?
I must have missed that memo in which the PC police redefined an old abbreviation as being offensive. Of course, nothing is offensive to the PC movement unless it comes from a political opponent—explaining why they didn't eviscerate Obama for his “Special Olympics” comment. The goal of the PC police is to control political opponents, not make the world a better place.
And if the Japanese are so easily offended, they might start by zipping their lips and becoming less xenophobic. In Against the Odds, vacuum cleaner magnate James Dyson reveals how the fabled Japanese pleasantness may be more of a clichéd veneer than reality. He described how they openly mocked his appearance and oozed hatred of other cultures, even ones close to them, thereby manifesting that their racial hatred so evident in World War II was swept under the rug, not extinguished. They don't think they're better than you, they know it. They think they are the superior race—a superiority they once used to justify slaughtering and brutalizing millions of people, and a superiority now used to justify laughing at others and putting them down. And the PC police protects them? Do they have rocks in their heads?
According to Ben Hamper, author of Rivethead: Tales from the Assembly Line, GM used the word Japs trying to frighten their workers into building better cars. Their slogan was, “Here Come the Japs to Foreclose Your Mortgage.”
I was shocked to discover that “Oriental” is now considered offensive, at least in the United States. My dictionary gave no hint of that:
From that dictionary, I thought—with justification—that “Oriental” was a neutral term with a geographical reference to the East. From other sources, including some college professors who used the term, it seemed to have some suggestion of respect or admiration.
Two Japanese gun cartridges are commonly referred to as “Jap” rounds: the 6.5×50mm Arisaka and the 7.7×58mm Arisaka, which are usually called the 6.5mm Jap and the 7.7mm Jap (or just 6.5 Jap and 7.7 Jap)—even by their ammo manufacturers and retailers, who obviously want customers to find their products, which would be difficult if they called them something other than what customers do. Thus they call them the 6.5mm Jap (or 6.5 Jap) and the 7.7mm Jap (or 7.7 Jap).
I called a gun shop and asked, “Do you sell 6.5×50mm Arisaka ammo?”
“No, we don't.”
“Do you sell 6.5 Jap ammo?”
“Yes, but we have only two boxes left. How many do you need?”
From the Wikipedia:
“Abbreviated and contracted words are a common feature of Japanese. Long words are often contracted into shorter forms, which then become the predominant forms.”
Considering this, isn't it ironic that abbreviating the word “Japanese” offends some people?
I don't think that “Jap” as an abbreviation is inherently any more disparaging than using “Kev” for “Kevin” (incidentally, as someone named that, I greatly prefer “Kev”). The negative connotation of “Jap” resulted from their bad behavior. Had they sided with us in World War II, “Jap” would still be used, but it would have a neutral or affectionately positive connotation, like “Brits” for “British.” Because the negative connotation of “Jap” resulted from their reprehensible acts that should never be forgotten (just as we should never forget the Holocaust), sweeping “Jap” out of usage is akin to sweeping their misdeeds under the rug. The only ones who want to sweep the Holocaust under the rug are evildoers; why should it be any different for the Japanese war crimes?
As another example of how ignorance and changing standards can turn yesterdays's perfectly acceptable speech into a PC nightmare, my college professors always referred to a group of people, the Khoikhoi, as Hottentots, which is now considered offensive.
Times change, and keeping up with all those changes is so difficult that even an illustrious Harvard grad like President Obama cannot always keep his foot out of his mouth. With the amount of knowledge so vast that even the smartest people can master only a small fraction of it, ignorance and making mistakes because of it is an inescapable fact of life. However, some partisans (usually on the Left) are recklessly eager to brand anyone who makes a racial faux pas as a racist.
Might they simply be ignorant, as I was, of the latest cultural standards? “Nope,” say the political warriors from the Left, the same ones who pride themselves on their tolerance and kindness, “we anointed ourselves the sole arbiters of what is offensive, and if anyone steps on any of the potential landmines we've set or are all too happy to exploit, we're tickled pink to label that person as a racist. That's a convenient way to marginalize a person or group we're not otherwise capable of discrediting.”
Hence the predictable hair-trigger for labeling political opponents as racists.
If a politically partisan person or group brands an opponent as a racist, you can bet your last dollar that the allegation came from someone who fears the alleged racist (who often isn't a racist) has good points or ideas that might resonate with others. If the partisan cannot substantively refute those ideas, it's easier to play the race card.
The people in power obviously do not have The Right Stuff to lead the world as it should be run, so they hire henchmen to play the race card and use other chicanery to discredit people with ideas good enough to catch on. I don't care what party wins elections as long as they implement better plans, such as my proposal for how taxes could be made less painful and how we could reform the entitlement system so recipients get as much as they now do, or potentially much more, while substantially reducing the burden on taxpayers. My idea should be wildly popular with everyone, from those on the Left to those on the Right, and everybody in between.
I live in an area near PCC in which hunting is almost as common as breathing. I don't hunt, but I love hunter orange (fluorescent orange). If I wear a fluorescent orange jacket or coat into certain snobby stores or areas, people there will let me know that I am breaking a social custom by wearing a bright color.
Some of our social customs are downright strange, such as the acceptability of bright yellow if one wears a raincoat on a rainy day—but heaven help you if the rain stops or never materializes! I often wear my yellow raincoat on chilly days when it looks as if it might rain, but if it doesn't (the weather in this region is very unpredictable and changeable), on several occasions snobby busybodies have disapprovingly commented on my coat.
Thus, if perfect strangers feel entitled to issue judgments on attire even when it is perfectly acceptable and conforms to the Boy Scout “always be prepared” motto, you can bet your last dollar they would gasp in horror if a truly non-PC word were used in their presence. When they don't react to it, not even slightly, it is an indication that real people in the real world—even culturally snobby ones—think the term is indeed acceptable.
One need not be a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal to use the word “Jap.” The book The Roosevelt Myth contains at least four usages of “Japs”:
The author of that book? A journalist who graduated from Georgetown Law School.
“No car with my name on the hood is going to have a Jap engine inside.”
— Henry Ford II
Daniel Inouye, an American of Japanese ancestry and currently a United States Senator from Hawaii, witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941. As the Japanese planes roared overheard, he ran outside and yelled, “Damn Japs!” Was he racist for saying “Japs”? Of course not.
Part of me wonders if ever-changing standards (not just in language acceptability) might be a manifestation of ageism on the part of the younger generation to discredit the older generation, and hence give younger folks an excuse to shove older ones aside.
Although leftist partisans often think they are smarter than the majority of people who do not agree with them, they are oblivious to an irony: that in beating people over the head for using racist or allegedly racist words—even if that usage arises from ignorance, not racism—they are violating the principle they seek to enforce: that it is wrong to use language to offend someone. I agree that people should not intentionally do that (with one exception I'll discuss below), but is it really offensive to refer to someone as a “Jap” if he raped a young Chinese girl and then laughed as he sexually mutilated her? There is no word in any language that is even one-millionth as offensive as what he did. (See my articles on Japanese war crimes and Hirohito: the war criminal who got off scot-free.)
Now for the exception: While we should all strive to not use hurtful language, humans possess an innate tendency to verbally bash people who do bad things. Thus someone who derives a sick satisfaction from raping and murdering children in horrific ways can be called virtually any name in the book. The urge to verbally bash bad people is especially strong when authorities turn a blind eye to their misdeeds, allowing them to get away with murder—often literally. Casey Anthony knows exactly what I am talking about.
If the principle is that it is wrong to use language to offend someone, by falsely labeling their opponents as racists, leftist partisans don't see the irony in their actions: it is considerably more offensive to call someone a racist who isn't than to call a savage war criminal who delights in raping and murdering children a “Jap”—a term that was (and still is, according to many people) simply an abbreviation for Japanese.
We're all human and we all make mistakes. Mentally healthy individuals make allowances for the inevitable imperfections of others, while mentally ill people are more likely to go ape and make a mountain out of a molehill. Those who go apoplectic in this way often manifest their possession of another undesirable trait: bigotry.
bigot (noun): (1) a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing opinion, belief, or creed; (2) a person who is obstinately intolerant of any ideas other than his or her own, especially on politics or religion, and has animosity toward those of differing beliefs.
Many political partisans are bigots utterly intolerant of anyone who doesn't agree with them on everything. I strongly agree with conservatives on some issues and just as strongly side with liberals on others. Some of my positions have changed over the years as I've learned more or matured, so I am not now inclined to excoriate people who do not agree with me. Perhaps they are further along than I am, or perhaps they haven't come as far as I have. No one is born mature or wise, so good people help others become better, while immature bigots throw a conniption fit if they encounter people with different opinions.
“Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.”
I don't like lumping all Japanese in with the war criminals who gang raped and then butchered little girls, or did the other mercilessly cruel and depraved things I mentioned in my articles about Japanese war crimes and Hirohito: the war criminal who got off scot-free. Calling them Japs instead of Japanese was a convenient way to differentiate the barbaric war criminals from the majority of Japanese who are wonderful folks . . . and yes, they do make great products. Other than my Honda snowblower, which seems to have been engineered by people who weren't fully awake, and a Sony video camera with a recording glitch that failed to capture all of the audio when my electrician assaulted me, I cannot think of a single made-in-Japan product I bought that failed prematurely or was poorly engineered.
In marked contrast are products made in China. I won't paint with a broad brush and claim they're all junk, but a distressing percentage are. (Read more on this topic in Made-in-China junk.)
However, made-in-China products are too often not just of poor quality, but stuff that poisons and kills. According to The New York Times, they intentionally add melamine to rice protein and wheat gluten in animal feed products to falsely inflate their protein levels. If a valuable and/or loved animal suffers or dies as a result, who cares? Evidently not the Chinese businessman who deemed his profits more important than tricking us into unwittingly poisoning our pets and other animals. The list of their other deliberate or otherwise inexcusably negligent product safety errors is almost endless. I mentioned some in another article, but keeping up with all would be a full-time job. Or more. The mega-bureaucracy in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) obviously has many employees who work full-time, yet even they can't begin to adequately protect us from shady Chinese businessmen and their never-ending shenanigans.
Believe it or not, but I am not anti-China or anti-Chinese. One of my motivations for writing about what Japanese soldiers did to countless Asians, especially those in China, was that history seems to have forgotten about them; almost no one seems to care. But I do. I don't value a person any less because he or she was born in China. I want all people and animals to be treated with respect, dignity, and kindness.
One of the central lessons of the Holocaust is, “We must never forget.” I agree, but we must never forget all such war crimes. The evil perpetrated by the Nazis was mentioned repeatedly by my teachers and professors, but not one said anything about Japanese war crimes before and during World War II. Some of my Asian friends think (and I agree) that what Hirohito's men did to people in China and other Asian nations warrants outrage commensurate with that evoked by the Holocaust, but we don't have even a name for the more numerous—and arguably even worse—Japanese war crimes. Nor do we have a universally acceptable name for the bad Japanese who waged an aggressive war, while we have one for their German counterparts: Nazis. Oh, but the Japanese had unkind names for us, referring to Americans as “kichiku (mongrel beast or mongrelized apes).”
Ignoring Japanese war crimes sets a bad example for children. They're not stupid; they read between the lines and draw conclusions. One conclusion they could foreseeably infer from this neglect of Japanese war crimes is that what happened to people in China and other Asian nations matters so little that no one should question why:
- The Nazi Holocaust justified hunting down and executing German war criminals for decades after the end of the war. I agree, because there should be no statute of limitations on war crimes. However, few Japanese war criminals were brought to justice. The war crimes trials for them were intentionally limited, and none were pursued afterward.
- I've heard innumerable TV commercials requesting donations that reminded viewers of the Holocaust, but I've never seen one mentioning Japanese war crimes.
- Had we captured Hitler, we would have put him on trial, convicted him, and executed him—as we should have done. He was guilty as hell even though he never killed anyone personally; he “just” presided over a murderous nation. Hirohito's men started earlier, finished later, and killed more people than the Nazis. Hirohito's men also committed more rapes and sexual mutilations ending in murder—acts even more ungodly barbaric than putting people in gas chambers. I've never heard anyone with his head screwed on straight claim that Hitler didn't deserve to fry, but why did Hirohito get off scot-free? He didn't even pay a $10 fine! You could get harsher punishment for leaving your car five minutes too long in a metered zone! Oh, wait, we did punish Hirohito: we forced him to admit that he wasn't really a god, or descended from one (he claimed to descend from a Sun Goddess). For all the wonderful stuff the Japanese have made, the one glaring omission is an incredulity meter. Descended from a Sun Goddess? Really! On second thought, we did punish him severely: he was welcomed to The White House for a state dinner in 1975 with then-President Gerald Ford.
My teachers and professors had enough free time in class to mention their wives, kids, pets, homes, cars, hobbies, and favorite sports, but when not one of them uttered a peep about what Japanese war criminals did, one must wonder if they were really that ignorant or if they harbored a racist devaluation of China and other Asians. The take-home message might be that if you don't look like us, you don't matter.
I don't think all of my teachers and professors with a clear duty to discuss this important aspect of history were racist; I think our culture is inherently racist by ignoring crimes against humanity perpetrated against Chinese and other Asians. I have some dear friends in that part of the world, and they're not happy about how their suffering is ignored, as if it doesn't matter, and they don't matter.
Another still-relevant concern is what happened to all of the money plundered by Japan from them circa World War II. I'll discuss this topic in another article. Until then, you can wonder if the seemingly miraculous rebound of Japan after the war was partly attributable to gold and other assets they seized from Asian nations that, being relatively impoverished, had a more difficult time recovering economically.
If you read all or even most of what I've written, anyone can easily see that I advocate equal treatment and fairness for all. I repeatedly discussed the importance of putting yourself in the shoes of others, which is a wonderful principle to live by.
If my teachers and professors did that, I think they would have mentioned what happened to the Chinese and other Asians. I heard about teacher's auto problems, home repairs, and other trivialities, so they had enough time. If it happened to them, a relative, or friend, they'd mention it.
Context is everything. Example: Mitt Romney told a bold-faced lie in an ad that twisted what Obama said, making him appear to say the antithesis of what he actually said in context. For that outrageous distortion, PolitiFact gave Romney's portrayal its Pants on Fire rating. I agree. I'm no fan of Obama, but I am a fan of fairness and truth.
Although I agree with liberals on several issues, I think many far-Left libs are living in a dream world when it comes to self-perception. They envision themselves as being paragons of tolerance and blast conservatives for their supposed intolerance, yet far-Left libs are often in a class by themselves when it comes to being intolerant. At times, this enters the realm of extreme intolerance suggestive of mental illness.
“I have seen great intolerance shown in support of tolerance.”
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
When Media Matters went nuts over my use of “Japs,” I'd used it only a few times in my life referring specifically to Japanese war criminals who committed barbaric acts such as raping women and children, and then spearing some through their vaginas. The monsters who did that don't deserve any protection, but by siding with them and doing their best to make them untouchable, Media Matters evinced their warped sense of justice and bizarre sense of fairness. They scream bloody murder when conservatives aren't fair, but they reserve the right to lie through their teeth and twist facts to suit their agenda.
Challenge: Try thinking of a name for German war criminals that is so disparaging and lacking in political correctness that it provokes Media Matters to attack you for days, and their troll followers to attack you for months. I don't think that is possible. Whatever you call those Nazi monsters, no one in their right mind is going to side with them and lambaste you. The Japanese war criminals committed more and often even more depraved war crimes, so who would defend them? Media Matters.
I have absolutely no animosity toward Japanese people in general—just their past war criminals. I have Japanese friends (there and in the U.S.) and nothing but affection toward Japanese people except their past war criminals. The world has had a field day bashing Hitler, which he richly deserves for being a monster, but being a student of history and a fan of fairness and justice, I want all war criminals punished. I also harbor no animosity toward Chinese people, except the ones (such as their unethical businessmen who sell us junky and sometimes toxic products) who intentionally do us harm. I discussed this in articles about made-in-China junk and contaminated Chinese products.
Media Matters told blatant lies about me, such as claiming I sold something I never did, and suggesting I am tickled pink about the subjugation of Native Americans even though I am part Native American and I had forcefully explained why that subjugation was wrong and why it shouldn't be ignored. What's next for the liars? Claiming that Colonel Sanders wasn't fond of chicken? That Santa hates children? That Girl Scouts don't want people to eat cookies?
I give Media Matters my Pants on Fire rating. They're not as stupid as they seem; they are blinded by their emotions, which compel them to violate basic principles of fairness. Yet they have the audacity to repeatedly bellyache about the unfairness of Fox News!
I agree with Media Matters that Fox News isn't as fair as they claim. Even my most conservative friend bristles when hearing Fox News boast of being “fair and balanced.” She thinks such an assessment is as accurate as Oprah claiming to be naturally skinny. Fox News isn't as “fair and balanced” as they claim, but they are a light-year ahead of Media Matters. MM actually makes some very good points, but they trash their credibility by going overboard and playing footloose and fancy-free with the facts when the facts don't fit their agenda.
Me, happy about the subjugation of Native Americans? Hardly! You could spend the rest of your life searching but not finding someone who is more irate about that issue than me. In my humble opinion, I did a better job than anyone of illustrating the unfairness of that subjugation, which really irks me. I'm an ardent fan of fairness (something that should be obvious to people who read everything I wrote), and that subjugation was not fair, period. It was inexcusable, and sweeping it under the rug (as most people do, with their minds attending to more important matters, such as who won Dancing With The Stars) is also inexcusable, so I don't. I stuck my neck out and addressed a historical injustice that most people prefer to forget about. Frankly, on this issue, I am further left than most folks in the far Left, yet the sages at Media Matters painted a picture of me as being further Right than Attila the Hun. Thus if you don't believe Bill O'Reilly when he complains of outrageous smears by Media Matters, believe me. Or judge for yourself. Read my opinion of Native American subjugation and ask yourself if you think I am happy about it, or support it in any way. Absolutely not!
Another Pants on Fire-type of lie that Media Matters told about me concerned a free site I developed (MySpamSponge) to give anyone an easy way to quickly solve their spam problems. The liars at Media Matters suggested that I lure people “to a page where he tries to sell you his anti-spam software.”
First, I've never heard anyone else use the term “software” to refer to a website. Second and most importantly, I don't sell it, I never sold it, and I never will sell it. I developed that free site and offered it free to anyone who wishes to use it to eliminate spam. My site is considerably more advanced than the anti-spam offerings from Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, et al. Unlike annoying spam filters, my site blocks 100% of spam but never any legitimate messages, plus it does other useful things, and it is all free.
If you programmed a free site that gave spam a KO blow, you should be justifiably proud of how you helped others. If you developed such a free site and the Media Matters hit men bitterly complained of you selling your anti-spam software, you'd wonder if they had rocks in their heads, or if their sense of fairness was so warped they didn't see how they were misleading their readers.
Claiming that I tried selling anti-spam software is as misleading as saying that Florence Nightingale refused to treat anyone unless they had medical insurance and paid the co-pay in advance. It is not just wrong, not just a Pants on Fire-type of lie, but a distortion of truth so extreme one might wonder where Media Matters employees took their ethics classes. On Mars?
Thus, their motto should be Media Matters, but the truth doesn't. Like immature spoiled brats, they want Fox News to live up to their claim of being fair and balanced, yet they want to feed their readers outrageous distortions. Without those distortions, they would be much more credible and hence effective. By lying, they are missing an opportunity to exhibit the trustworthiness that could help them prove that Fox News truly isn't fair and balanced.
As an erstwhile über-fan of Fox News (before I saw their disappointing lack of fairness and balance), I think Media Matters would be performing a worthy public service by helping improve a good but flawed news organization. However, by lying as they do, Media Matters is blowing its chance to fulfill its mission. Blinded by their partisanship, they declare war on others who don't march in lockstep with them, thereby manifesting their bigotry.
For Media Matters to complain of the unfairness of Fox News is like a bloated couch potato criticizing an Olympic athlete for not having a perfect body.
Media Matters looks in the mirror and sees perfection, while anyone who isn't blind sees several problem areas that need work.
Media Matters, stop kidding yourselves. Like other bigots, you're even worse than the targets of your attacks.
I bend over backwards to get my facts straight before writing, sometimes spending months doing research. If I'm wrong, I correct my errors and admit my mistakes, while bigots characteristically cling to their preconceptions. In another article, I explained why I never attempt to be consistent; I attempt to be correct intellectually and morally, and to constantly improve.
Simple minds have difficulty processing the nuances in my thoughts, but my positions really aren't that difficult to figure out. I like fair rules and people who abide by the rules, treating others as they wish to be treated. I detest people who try to get away with murder (literally or figuratively), but my animus is clearly targeted toward the wrongdoers, not any country in general or its inhabitants. Race has nothing to do with it; behavior does, along with factors related to it.
Simple minds gravitate toward racism, which provides simple (but erroneous) answers to problems that simple minds cannot solve.
One reason why I get along with so many people—from poor folks to CEOs—is that I have an easy time finding the good in others and appreciating what they have to offer. I like people who are smart, creative, interesting, industrious, productive, hard-working, principled, or* conscientious.
* That is a Boolean OR list, not a Boolean AND list! :-)
I also like people with good hearts: folks who genuinely care about others and strive to help them.
I like people who care about animals (not just pets) and try to make their often miserable lives easier. (Here's an example of how you can do that.)
I like people who are down-to-earth, not snobs who think they are better than others just because they have, for example, more money or a better appearance.
When I think of all the reasons I like people (the above list is not complete), the common denominator is a good heart or mind. Race or skin color has nothing to do with it, but if it did, I'd favor those who are darker, because I think people with more melanin are generally more attractive. Most people agree with me. Want proof? Consider the percentage of people who think a tan is attractive, and the many millions of people who purposely tan for that reason despite the fact that tanning can prematurely age skin and increase the risk of skin cancer and cataracts—unless you keep your eyes closed or shielded while you're in the sun or in a tanning booth! That said, I don't dislike people with light skin; I just think they have one beauty strike against them.
If I hated Japanese people, why would I side with them in denouncing the unconstitutional internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II? The token reparations (about $20,000) they received as a result of the 1988 Civil Liberties Act is insultingly inadequate and a slap in the face tantamount to giving a waiter a penny tip; that pittance is so pathetically incommensurate it is itself virtually open-and-shut evidence of racism. If the government illegally deprived you of your Constitutional rights, uprooted you from your home (à la Nazis pulling Jews out of their homes), took you away from your job and friends, and locked you away for years, would you think 20 grand was enough? Hardly! How about a million dollars or more? Wrongfully incarcerated prisoners often get that much.
If I hated Japanese people, why would I laud their Toyota production system? Here's what I wrote about that in From Bailout to Bliss:
GM, Ford, and Chrysler like to boast about their quality, but consumers aren't buying it—or their vehicles. Experts know that the Toyota production system (discussed earlier in the book) is superior to the antiquated methods used by the Big Three, enabling Toyota to easily surpass those hidebound manufacturers in terms of quality. Incidentally, the Toyota production system is a great model for teaching anything, not just automobile assembly. Our current educational system is great for graduating half-wits who only “kinda” know what they are doing. People educated with the Toyota method of mastering new information can leave others in the dust—just like Toyota is doing with the Big Three.
If I hated Japanese people, why would I hope that we had a chance to buy more of their (almost invariably) great products instead of the made-in-China stuff that is often junk?
If I hated Chinese people, why would I take weeks out of my busy life to research and write about war crimes committed against them decades ago? If that happened to people in your family, you wouldn't forget about it. The Chinese victims of Japanese aggression—even savagery—are no less important because I am not closely related to them. I genuinely care about them. If I didn't, I could do what others deem more important: tune into Dancing With The Stars. I was so busy in the past year that I worked about 16 hours per day on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day, yet I found time to write about Japanese war crimes perpetrated against Chinese and other Asians.
One thing is clear: our military and police cannot win the war against evil without our help. If you watch true-crime shows on TV or work in emergency services as I did as an ER doctor, you know that the police and justice system have been as effective in stamping out evil as our nation has been in stamping out obesity. We aren't even close to winning the war against evil, but most of the harm resulting from it could be prevented if ordinary people got involved instead of sitting on the sidelines and letting the pros strike out time after time. My series on combating evil will present easy ways that average folks can combat evil.
I respect and admire the amazing strides made by the Chinese in recovering from World War II—and some might say, from Communism, too. The tiny percentage of Chinese I loathe are the unprincipled businessmen who knowingly sell us (and others around the world) poor quality and sometimes toxic products that quickly ends up in landfills.
The mutual military tension between the United States and China is just plain nuts. We're both like giants with strong muscles but eggshell-thin skulls that could be caved in by one punch. Like other nuclear powers, we have a phenomenal ability to inflict damage but so little capacity to withstand it that we dare not swing at them (bomb them) lest they swing in retaliation and send us back to the Stone Age. The current peace is too tenuous, as evidenced by mutual suspicion that prompts staggering military expenditures that could be put to much better use.
We could be good friends with China. Without the United States, Japan would have conquered China and likely extended their hegemony over other nations in that region. I'm very happy that we helped restore Chinese sovereignty and given their people a chance to live peaceful, happy lives instead of being butchered by Japanese soldiers who invited themselves into homes and did things worse than what Charles Manson's followers did in slaughtering actress Sharon Tate and others.
The United States saved many Chinese people from what would have been a miserable fate. How could they reciprocate that kindness? Stop the saber rattling, cyber warfare planning, and prosecute the businessmen who give Chinese products a bad name. If the transgression was wanton (e.g., using lead paint on toys for children or adding lethal toxins to food), seize their businesses.
My girlfriend thinks that I am naïve for believing that most people are basically good and the world could be one big happy place filled with folks who get along like buddies, except for the small percentage of sociopaths (learn how to spot a sociopath) and the leaders who nurture strife between nations as a way to cement their power.
I think she is wrong. I think evil has had the upper hand in this world for too long, but it is not too late for those of us who care about doing the right thing to combat that evil by catalyzing kindness and compassion. I realize this sounds like a pipe dream from an idealistic hippie, but the cure I propose in my book on racism isn't specific to that problem; instead, it is virtually a universal elixir for many of the problems that plague the world today.
My articles on Japanese war crimes and Hirohito: the war criminal who got off scot-free attracted the attention of Dr. Michael Brett-Crowther, the Editor of International Journal of Environmental Studies, who asked me to write a paper on the psychological or cultural environment that permits such awful atrocities.
In medicine, we study the etiology of disease: that is, we study its causes or origins, which helps us prevent future disease. Similarly, by studying and writing about the etiology of war crimes and other evil, I hope to help prevent it.
That's idealistic and perhaps naïve, but what is the alternative? To tune into Dancing With The Stars and give a pass to the evildoers? Hitler and monsters like him were able to infect the world with their evil ideas and actions because too many good people didn't have the guts to get involved and fight for what is right.
In writing of the evils in history, I've also discussed the crimes against humanity committed by Great Britain. There is no excuse for what they did to people in India and other nations. My teachers and professors were too busy talking about themselves (one prof repeatedly wasted our time by discussing his sex life and how all the babes in class should focus their sexual energy on him instead of men their age) to mention British war crimes, but they are exhaustively documented for anyone who knows that education is a lifelong endeavor.
UPDATE 4-11-2012: An article (Canada's newest coin glows in the dark) published today contained this sentence: “Made of cupronickel, the coin has a face value of 25 cents but is much larger than a regular Canuck quarter.”
I checked several dictionaries and found different opinions on whether “Canuck” is considered offensive; some gave no hint of that, others said it is sometimes offensive, and the Wikipedia said “Canadians use 'Canuck' as an affectionate or merely descriptive term for their nationality. Other nationalities may use the word as an affectionate, or derogatory, or merely a descriptive term.”
There you have it, clear as mud: “merely descriptive,” “derogatory,” or “affectionate.”
UPDATE 8-17-2012: Be sure to read comments 230 – 235, 237 – 240, and 242 (below) submitted by a professorial genius.
UPDATE: While searching for something unrelated, I stumbled on a page discussing Gookie Wafer Rolls (cookies?) that are reportedly “Chinese in origin.”
When the Left's icons cannot pass their litmus test of acceptability, they look the other way; when political foes make PC blunders, they go on the warpath. You must be a racist if ___________ (fill in the blank):
- You hate war criminals who murdered millions of people and gang raped infants and grannies, or you hate their leader who got off scot-free.
- You hate businessmen who intentionally poison their customers. Isn't it funny how much the Left hates American companies that abide by the law but defends Chinese businessmen who sell not only junk, but toxic junk? The Left chooses its friends and enemies using a double standard that is more warped than many Chinese products.
- Rush Limbaugh said (2-26-2014) that black professional football players commonly use the N-word as a “term of endearment” and wouldn't stop even when implored to do that by a team owner they highly respected.
- I am more sympathetic than you likely imagine (after reading the above article) to discouraging the use of non-PC words. In my book on Rapidly Overcoming Racism, Bigotry, and Homophobia, I present a personal experience that changed my mind on this matter. However, I still do not agree with people and organizations who go bananas if a non-PC word is used. As part of their extreme reactions, they sometimes feel justified in trying to ruin the life of the person they target, as if only their feelings are important. This manifests their self-centered immaturity that is often accompanied by frank mental illness. When I researched non-PC words and phrases, I found the list so long I knew that virtually everyone says non-PC things, often every day or even every hour. Just because someone uses a non-PC word or phrase doesn't mean that person intended to offend; it often merely reflects living in a culture in which most people use language in ways that do not meet the rigid standards of the PC police.
- Fallacy of quoting out of context
- U.S. Government publication on spotting “Japs”
- Usages of “Japs” from The U.S. National Archives
- Washington, DC, tops list of cities where people curse at work
Comment: Ah, yes, Washington, DC, the cultured epicenter of the PC movement …
- Ostracism Cuts Both Ways: Hurting Someone Else Can Hurt the One Who Inflicts Pain Just as Much
- High school yearbooks that labeled special needs students ‘mentally retarded’ recalled
- ‘Tragic Witch Hunt’: Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee Says Holder Contempt Charges Are Racist
- Snobby staff can boost luxury retail sales
Comment: Snobby restaurants try the same approach, but only fools fall for it. As a consumer, nothing repels me more than staff who put on airs.