American political correctness gone wild
5 Jan, 2011 21:56
Whether you’re a member of the White house Press Corps, the White House chief of Staff, or even an ESPN announcer, it seems no one is off the hook when it comes to saying something that might offend another person.
From Helen Thomas’ rant about Israel to General Stanley McChrystal’s comments about the Obama Administration in Rolling Stone, loose lips have cost many big names their jobs this past year. Has America gone too far in the name of political correctness or do those who speak first and think later deserve what they get? Comedian Dean Obeidallah, the Dean of Comedy, explained that political correctness in America comes with a double standard. “In America if you make a racist statement against blacks or an anti-Semitic statement against Jews you’ll probably lose your job or suffer. If you make an anti-Muslim statement or anti-Arab statement often your ratings go up, you sell more books and get a new job,” Obeidallah said. “There is clearly a double standard and it’s a challenge, but it’s the world we live in. We try to change it.”As a comedian freedom of expression is very important he explained. The question is; where is the line between comedy and demonization?“Every time I do a joke, somebody is being mocked,” he explained. “But I’m not making it about a whole gender or whole race. I’m making it about a specific persona, a political figure who has thrust themselves into the lime light. Demonizing a whole group of innocent people however is wrong, he added. Journalist Helen Thomas lost her job following a political rant about Israel and Palestine. Obeidallah explained all individuals have free speech, but you have to be accountable for what you say.“People are held responsible for their comments,” he said. “She should have known better.” Comments on the Palestinian – Israeli conflict should focus on brining the people together, not making the issue more divisive, he argued. Thomas is not the only media talking head who has been bitten for speaking in a non politically correct fashion. Dr. Lara to Rick Sanchez both made heated comments regarding race that cost them. More recently, it came out that a Navy commanding officer made and broadcast a video filled with vulgarities and anti-gay comments. He too has been fired.“If you’re a public figure and you make comments, there are consequences,” explained Obeidallah. People have free expression but you must be held to a certain standard and if you say something, you must be prepared for that, even with a right of freedom of expression, he argued.