Monday, February 05, 2007

Political Correctness Gone Mad

The title phrase is not one I generally use; it is more commonly heard (in the UK) from the kind of rightwingers who read the Daily Mail, call black people "darkies", and think the country went downhill when women were given the vote. But once in a while you have to concede that they may occasionally have a point.

On a recent trip to Britain (hence the lack of posts in the last few weeks) I had occasion to make a lost property report to the police. The details were taken down by a polite and helpful young constable, but I was surprised to find that even on lost property reports the police are now required to enter the "ethnicity", as they call it, of the contact person.

Now I can see that for many police matters this detail would be highly relevant: cases of incitement to racial hatred; defilement of synagogues or mosques; and senseless racially motivated attacks, such as the tragic murders of Stephen Lawrence and Anthony Walker (among many others). But lost property? Come on!

I have alarming visions of a battalion of dedicated civil servants toiling away in a Whitehall basement somewhere to produce detailed statistics showing that Bangladeshis are 4.2% more likely to lose their wallets but 3.7% less likely to lose their mobile phones than Vietnamese. Absurd.

1 comment:

David Duff said...

"[T]he kind of rightwingers who read the Daily Mail, call black people "darkies", and think the country went downhill when women were given the vote."

I suppose, by general consent, I come under the broad heading of 'Right-winger' despite my protestations that I am, in fact, more of a 19th c. liberal (small 'l'); also, I am a (skim) reader of the Daily Mail, it being the little 'Memsahib's' newspaper of choice (and who am I to argue!); however, I have never used the term "Darkies" mainly because it is rather out of date but I do use other knicknames and diminutives to indicate, in a rather lazy fashion (like 'Right-wingers'?), a group of people who share some characteristic. As to your last generalisation "and think the country went downhill when women were given the vote", that is surely a statement of fact, the 20th c. being, as it is, a history of the decline and fall, not just of the British empire, but of Britain, too. Of course, it is *probably* coincidence - perhaps your sociologist brother and his wife might care to investigate and report!

Anyway, all that overlong preamble was simply to pave the way for me to express my thanks for your post. In these grim NuLabour days of everlasting night, one is always grateful for a chance to cackle out loud at the imagined sight and sound of an impeccable liberal treading in the result of his own folly!