Political Correctness vs. Humanism



I’m sick of everyone complaining that New Zealand is becoming too ‘PC’.

These days it seems as if anyone who calls someone out on being rude, they are criticised for being too PC or unable to take a joke. Well, I’m here to inform everyone that I actually can take a joke. I even make a few jokes of my own from time to time. But there is a difference between making a joke and being disrespectful, offensive and derogatory.

Anyway, where does that argument come from? How can you be ‘too’ politically correct? What does it even mean to be ‘politically correct’ and why / how is this a bad thing? This is a serious question. I’m genuinely trying to understand the dynamics of this oh-so-tolerant society of ours.

From what I can gather from recent events, being offended by racist cartoons is too politically correct and therefore a bad thing.

So wait, does that mean that being racist is a good thing? Does that mean that we can go back to the days of ‘curry-muncher’ and ‘coconut’ because it’s just a joke?

Ok, that makes sense. It really doesn’t matter that the people for whom these terms are referred to associate these words with inferiority, marginalisation and being spoken to in a patronising and sub-human way. Why did these words go out of fashion in the first place? Why don’t we just go back to how it was 50 years ago? Personally, I have no problem being branded a curry-munching retarded woman who can’t leave my home.

During the 2012 Euro Cup in Poland a group of hooligans were monkey-chanting the Dutch squad. And then of course Eddie McGuire said that the Aboriginal AFL player Adam Goodes would be a good person to promote King Kong. Is this meant to be a joke? Am I meant to laugh at these two incidences knowing the history behind the association between indigenous populations and monkeys? If I don’t find it funny, does that mean I’m too serious and too PC?

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

All I can gather is that ‘political correctness’ is the same as humanism. It’s about being respectful towards all people. I don’t find racial profiling a joke, or any type of profiling or stereotyping for that matter. And because it’s about the fundamental core of being human, there is no way it can be subjective either so Mr Key, your argument is invalid.

To say that this Marlborough Express cartoon is a ‘joke’ is to say that it’s perfectly acceptable to assume that all Maori and Pasifika parents are scam artists who only care about booze, smokes and pokies and couldn’t care less about their children. Caring for others, especially your young is a fundamental instinct of all animals including humans. So when you say Maori and Pasifika don’t care about their young, what exactly are you implying?

Call me the Fun Police if you wish but how exactly am I supposed to laugh at that? Am I being too PC by saying that Maori and Pasifika are in fact, human?


  1. Yes but define being ‘ human ‘ ? We humans are a tricky lot , as I’m sure you’re aware . I know people who say the most toe curling things and sometimes it’s with icy intent but they’re also genuinely charming , gracious and empathetic . They would put themselves in harms way to protect those same people they marginalize , judge and frankly laugh at .

    The concept of ‘ political correctness ‘ rose out of the same camp as the unhealthy , obsessive and vile madness of having to wear fluro orange vests . We all know that to be visible is important . Especially if one is surrounded by large moving vehicles in complete darkness but frankly , if you’re wandering around amongst large moving vehicles in complete darkness you deserve to be run down like the dope you are . But to have to wear an orange fluro vest while pulling out weeds in the middle of a paddock is , in all seriousness , demeaning and humiliating to any thinker .

    Humans will never , and I repeat ‘never’ not abuse one an other . We will always slag each other off for this or that . It could be for race , skin colour , language , up bringing , intelligence , dress sense , shoe type , length of hair , no hair at all , back hair , front hair , gap teeth , hump back , odour , flat feet , dopy laugh , not laughing , harrumphing , TV abuse , sniffing , sighing , lack of cooking skills , insufferable cooking skills , being lippy , mouthy , snarky , too cool , not cool at all , lazy , manic , too horny , not horny , whether one munches curry , tulips , turnips , tobacco , TNT or titanium . One way or another , if you take in air , you will either be non PC to someone or someone will be non PC to you .

    And we are not animals . We are Human . We are not apes , or chimps . We are that which exists inside a bio-mechanical structure , or body that enables ‘ us ‘ to move about to do things for God only knows what purpose . ( I believe it is to have fun . As much fun as possible before the bloody thing wears out . )

    Political Correctness is a term for nothing more nor less than a means of Control .

    When we humans become too intimidated to speak openly , particularly if it’s to say stupid , hurtful , ignorant things , we’ve become afraid . Fear is a great controller and makes billions of dollars for insurers and banks who rely heavily on the urge for instant gratification as a salve for the anxieties they cultivate in us .

    Have you seen a British TV series called ‘ Love Thy Neighbour ‘ ?

    I’ve seen images of brown humans blown to pieces by missiles launched from drones . We DO all look the same inside . Thank goodness the Corporate World gave me that valuable , politically correcting insight .

    • Excellent writing Countryboy; in the darkness it is healthy to laugh at ourselves, our smiles will light the way.

    • I notice along with a comment you’ve made elsewhere on this site, you disagree with orange fluro vests – frankly I agree with your point. Many of these jobs that require the wearing of a fluro vest can also carry the stigma of a lousy job in the eyes of others and derision. Frankly I think it would be more uplifting if they wore patched vests with FTW (f**k the world) on it. After all who would get on the wrong side of such characters? In many cases putting fluro vests on someone can be synonymous with a system branding them as drones in a class/hierarchy obsessed world where everyone is made to “know their place”.

      In the past discrimination was probably more open compared to now, also more people would stand their ground and use their fists as a resolution. If you can’t logically reason with someone who obnoxiously degrades your dignity with their ignorance, resorting to the ignorance of physical force usually got the message through – also boosted a victim’s confidence. Try doing that now, Police turn up at your door and a whole number of charges are pressed against you. People never intended to kill anyone, but contrast that with today where there are problems with many carrying concealed weapons and if in a fight are intent on going beyond limits with intent to seriously wound or kill.

      Humans are complex creatures; in my opinion the past celebrated that complexity more so. Many had characters that were gruff, idealistic and charming. Today we find a society whose face is generally polite but with an impolite authoritarian over-man presiding. The indiscriminate bullying from the top can be more damaging than the discriminate bullying amongst ourselves. Neoliberalism can be thought of as revenge of the “squares” after having received the finger in the past. I suppose our society has been groomed to where we are too polite to say f**k-off more often. The idealistic but gruff rebel is vilified.

      With classic British comedy a common theme was women, non-British cultures and homosexuals being the subject of jokes in many cases. Such jokes may be construed as discriminatory now, but many today overlook where the victim had the last laugh.

    • “Political Correctness is a term for nothing more nor less than a means of Control . ” is of course complete drivel. “political Correctness as Latifa points out is simply a term used by racists, sexists and homophobes to belittle their critics. “I don’t want to change. I don’t like being criticised. i want to hold on to my archaic views so an challenge to thoise views is PC Gone Mad”. Yes we have seen Love Thy Neighbour. It was superb satire. And it would have lined up Nisbet’s supporters beautifully if it was still on air.

  2. Humans are undoubtedly the worst species ever to have evolved on Earth.

    Pre-industrial humans converted cedar forests into deserts, chained up other humans and worked them to death, harness horses, donkeys and children and worked them to death, invented ways to torture other humans, often for fun……

    Industrial humans cause rapid destruction of the natural world, and are now driving something like 200 species of animals and plants to extinction every day, and are in the process of causing such major disruption to the Earth’s chemical balance that the Earth will become largely uninhabitable for most mammals, including humans, in a matter of decades. (that’s if we haven’t killed off all the large mammals before 2020).

    ‘Civilised’ humans, especially of the subset Industrial Society, are in the process of exterminating the entire human species, via fossil fuel use and consumption. And making themselves sick in the process.

    Of course ‘civilised’ people don’t get upset about any of that. But they do get upset about silly word and images.

    Doesn’t that make ‘civilised’ humans the most pathetic sub-group of the most vicious species on Earth?

    Of course, since all present economic and cultural arrangements and most food arrangements are dependent on oil, and since oil extraction is falling (propped up by last ditch desperation of fracking etc.) we must expect all current economic-political-cultural arrangements to collapse within a decade, perhaps earlier if abrupt climate change hammers industrial food production enough.

    So it turns out that ‘political correctness’ is actually political incorrectness’ or in fact political absurdity.

    Life at the End of Empire on the Planet of the Maniacs.

  3. What if we replaced every instance of “political correctness” in complaints about it having “gone mad” with “basic human decency”?

  4. Absolutely. Why would anyone think “jokes” about rape and child abuse are funny? Yet time and time again presenters for The Edge radio station make these crude comments belittling pain and long term harm caused by such abuse. If you respond negatively, the response if “can’t you take a joke?” Rape culture, like these jokes, increases the risk of bystander complicity, and of survivors feeling ashamed. Its sick.

  5. The biggest issue I have with those who say we’re too PC is it’s an excuse used primarily by privileged people to defend their own ignorance.

    If they had the balls to say it to my face I wouldn’t have as much of a problem with it but (in the case of Michael Laws anyway) so rarely people that use such a line don’t.

    I have no problem with racist jokes so long as they are funny and/or clever. Al Nisbet is neither.

  6. CountryBoy says:
    “And we are not animals . We are Human”

    Actually, we are. We are a species of primate, a sub-group of mammals. Animals is exactly what we are. True, we are not *non-human* animals, which is clearly what CountryBoy means.

    Not sure what this has to do with using “joke” to excuse a filthy smear of the character of both non-pākeha, and low income people of any race. All the truly great comedians (cartoonists included) have used comedy to poke the eye of the powerful, and stick up for the underdog. Nisbet is not a comedian, he is a cowardly, toadying propagandist.

    • My father says: “Humans are called humans because they are an insult to animals”.

      Nisbet’s cartoons are a joke – a bad joke. No decent person would appreciate such “humour” – it takes bad-eggs to appreciate a bad joke. Whatever defiance decent people can make to point out the stink from such bad humour helps prevent the stink from becoming unbearable.

  7. I bet when these things came out it was all:
    Seatbelts: “it’s PC gone mad”,
    Wheelchair toilets “it’s PC gone mad”
    Sprinkler systems in buildings “it’s PC gone mad”
    Hats and sunblock on kids at school “it’s PC gone mad”

    I guess those are more healf un safety gone mad but hopefully one day we will look on cartoons like Nisbet’s in the same way, as a view of an outdated world view.

  8. I dislike the term “politically correct”. To my mind it brings images of an impotent left thinking that changing the colour of rubbish bags is a blow against racism.
    I hate those who complain about “political correctness gone mad” whenever they’re called to account for offensive behaviour.
    Make a joke about racism? Why not? Use a racist joke as part of a larger campaign to portray Polynesian parents as useless bludgers? No way.
    Lighten up? Nah, the bloody racists can lighten up. I feel like taking to them with a sjambok. That’d be a joke.
    By the way, I’m an old(ish) white man. Racism exists and flourishes in much younger bodies than mine. It won’t die out when my generation goes. The graphic is wrong. Am I offended? Nah, just a bit sad because blaming shit on baby boomers won’t change anything.

  9. “Political correctness” probably has a dubious meaning in variously authoritarian or dictatorial regimes.

    It is, on analysis, meaningless.

    It first surfaced here (and slavishly promoted by our ever vigilant and intelligent media tattlers) as a dog whistle.

    It started, (as I recall) in the late Muldoon years as dog whistle against the Labour Party.

    It has a cousin in “nanny state”. The Nats and their spin doctors are good at this.

    They know that media expressionists are always looking for short cut to “stories” or “reports”.

    A meaningless pejorative giving a pseudo communal authority to an emotional (and probably) illogical opinion.

  10. Calling somone or something “politically correct” is a trojan horse for attacking the progressive moment. The conservatives begrudgingly gave an inch over 30 or 40 years and now believe they are entitled to go back a mile the other way.

  11. Great article.

    I’ve long been of the opinion that a conversation is over the instant someone makes an accusation of “political correctness”. Because it’s generally trotted out unthinkingly by people who simply lack the intelligence to express why they don’t like something. And done in the surefire knowledge that everyone will nod their heads and agree with them because we’re all supposed to loath political correctness.

    The cry of: “It’s not racism, it’s political correctness gone mad,” is made by people who want to hold racist thoughts in their heads, want to make racist jokes with their friends, and want to behave in a racist manner, without actually being called out for being racist.

    THanks also to “Sam” for arming me with a great new reposte: “It’s basic human decency gone mad!” Love it 🙂

Comments are closed.