February 07, 2014

Political correctness is the worst kind of censorship, Ctd

Political correctness and fear of offending has become a horrendous societal tick. As Newton Emerson said: "Ever since the Good Friday Agreement, [snobbery] seems to be the only crime you can commit in Northern Ireland." Alex Massie spoke in equal terms here; that being offensive has become "the greatest sin imaginable." By these standards Jenni Russell (@jennirsl) has been waving her offence all around the place, breaking with the PC orthodoxy and causing a whole load of trouble. Why? For speaking facts. She has written here and here. And here in particular:
"Middle-class children are having important character traits instilled in them at home, while poorer children are not. A nursery-age child needs to have many qualities already in place when they get to school if they are to succeed. He or she needs confidence; the belief that if they try something it will work. That is the first gulf between the two groups. By the time they start school, research shows that a middle-class child will have heard six times as many words of encouragement as reprimands. A working-class child will have heard only twice as many, while a child on welfare will have been criticised twice for every word of praise."
Amy Chua, The Tiger Mother is like the America version of Jenni Russell. Harvard Professor Amy Chua and her husband have written a book 'The Triple Package'. It's got them called "racist" and "despicable". Any Chua would say she's only presenting facts, speaking plain English. Vivia Chen said in Time Magazine:
"Already, the criticisms are reaching a crescendo. This time, though, Chua is condemned not just as an arrogant elitist and abusive mother but something else: racist... Chua is under attack because she and Rubenfeld are talking about ethnicity in a way that makes people uncomfortable... The fear is that acknowledging those differences is to place cultures in a hierarchy, to be elitist."
She continued:
"But what’s outrageous about some of the criticism against Chua is that it essentially censors discussions that might touch a nerve. Labeling the speaker or the topic as exclusionary or racist is a quick way to undermine the legitimacy of the whole conversation."
Amy Chua said:
"Merely stating the fact that certain groups do better than others — as measured by income, test scores and so on — is enough to provoke a firestorm in America today."
For she had said:
"Because wilful blindness to facts is rarely good policy. If just stating figures reported in the national census provokes fear and accusations of stereotyping, we aren’t going to be able to understand or address some of society’s most pressing problems, such as growing inequality and what it takes to make it in an ever tougher economy."
Chua also writes in The New York Times here. Previous post in the series here and here. My post on civil intolerance here. Post on journalistic self-censorship and prior restraint here. My blog post for Loyalists Against Democracy on self-censorship and the silenced majority, here.
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