Conservatives have long ridiculed liberals for their political correctness, characterizing it as a deliberate avoidance of unpleasant truths to promote extreme left ideology. For decades they have railed against gender-neutral pronouns, identity politics, wokeness, trigger warnings and cancel culture.
Despite these protestations, however, the far-right has developed its own lexicon for discussing race, a set of buzz words and catchphrases that make bigotry sound more respectable.
In the 1990s conservatives weaponized political correctness to attack liberal intellectuals allegedly policing language to promote an ideological agenda and stifle opposing views. The January 1991 cover article of the New York Magazine, provocatively titled Are you Politically Correct? decried the rise of new fundamentalists comprised of multiculturalists, feminists, radical homosexuals, Marxists, [and] New Historicists who insisted that Western culture and American society are hopelessly racist, sexist, oppressive.
Such arguments, based largely on hyperbole and anecdotal evidence, misrepresent an effort to respect diversity and promote inclusion. Political correctness recognizes that language reflects what we believe and affects how we behave. If elementary students read sentences referring to doctors, lawyers and politicians as he, that will discourage young women from entering into those professions. If calling an adult male a boy is unacceptable, referring to a grown woman as a girl is equally offensive. But critics saw inclusive language as ideologically driven and an attack on free speech.
Politicians quickly glommed on to what began as academic debate. Since the Democrats promoted civil rights, affirmed action and gender equality, Republicans labeled them peddlers of political correctness. No politician made greater use of this strawman than Donald TrumpDonald TrumpStoltenberg says Jan. 6 siege was attack on 'core values of NATO' Christie says only regret about Trump debate prep is catching COVID Woman who trespassed at Trump's Mar-a-Lago deported to China MORE, who employed it to deflect criticism from his own outrageous statements and mobilize angry white voters.
While political correctness has been identified with the left, conservatives have been master manipulators of language to suit their political needs. During the Oct. 11, 2000, presidential debate, the moderator asked then-Gov. George W. Bush if gays and lesbians should have the same rights as other Americans. Yes. I dont think they ought to have special rights, he answered, but I think they ought to have the same rights.
With a clever turn of phrase, Bush dodged the question while appearing to answer it and reframed the debate. LGBQ rights were not equal rights or human rights, they were special rights. Once elected president, Bush supported an amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
Nowhere has coded language been used more effectively to hide the truth than in the far rights effort to promote its narrow vision of American identity. Extremist groups, unaffiliated individuals and even mainstream politicians insist that the United States is a white Christian nation. Rather than openly vilify minorities, however, they employ euphemisms to make racism sound less offensive.
Identity Evropa, for example, frames its racist rhetoric in innocuous-sounding terms. Our main objective, its mission statement proclaims, is to create a better world for people of European heritage particularly in America by peacefully effecting cultural change. The group eschews racist language and denies emphatically that it advocates white supremacy. We do not believe White people should rule over non-White people, it maintains. Rather, we are ethno-pluralists: We believe that all ethnic and racial groups should have somewhere in the world to call home a place wherein they can fully express themselves and enjoy self-determination. The message is clear: People of color dont belong in the United States.
Proud Boys have also taken great pains to phrase their bigotry politely. They not only avoid explicitly racist terms but have an antibias statement. We do not discriminate based upon race or sexual orientation/preference, they insist. Their agenda says otherwise. They hide their misogyny behind the claim to be venerating the housewife, and their racism beneath the cloak of reinstating the Spirit of Western Chauvinism.
Coded bigotry is not confined to extremist groups and their followers. Conservative politicians also use it to get away with racism and sexism.
In July 2020, Jim HagedornJames Lee Hagedorn'Legacy American' is the latest catchphrase in the racist lexicon Ethics watchdog finds 'substantial' evidence Rep. Malinowski failed to disclose stocks House Ethics panel reviewing Rep. Malinowski's stock trades MORE (R-Minn) declared The Democrat 'Black Lives Matter' Party, along with armies of rioters, are at war with our country, our beliefs and Western culture. When people of color march, they are rioters and looters. When white people do the same thing, they are peaceful demonstrators.
In August 2019, Trump declared: I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty. He invoked the well-established antisemitic trope that Jews cannot be loyal Americans. The great critic of political correctness had his own version of it.
Now Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonThe Memo: Rittenhouse trial exposes deep US divide 'Legacy American' is the latest catchphrase in the racist lexicon Buttigieg says administration will keep fighting for family leave MORE has added a new term to the coded racism lexicon: Legacy Americans. In a September broadcast, Carlson accused President BidenJoe BidenUS bishops to weigh whether Biden should receive communion Congress barrels toward end-of-year pileup Biden taps former New Orleans mayor Landrieu to spearhead infrastructure MORE of encouraging immigration of non-Europeans to dilute the voting power of Euro-Americans.
In political terms, he asserted, this policy is called the great replacement, the replacement of legacy Americans with more obedient people from far-away countries. The Great Replacement, is a white supremacist conspiracy theory that dark-skinned, non-European people are replacing those of European descent. Neo-Nazis expressed a version of this theory when they chanted Jews will not replace us during their tiki torch parade at the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va. The man who murdered 51 Muslims in Christ Church, New Zealand and the one, who killed 21 in an El Paso, Texas Walmart also subscribed to replacement theory.
While replacement theory is decades old, legacy Americans is a relatively new term. Carlson did not define it, but his meaning seems clear from the context. He is referring to white Americans whose ancestors have lived in the country for a long time, the people he and his followers consider real Americans.
With an average of 4.33 million viewers during the second quarter of 2020, Carlsons show gained the largest audience in the history of cable news. The failure of Fox News to take any action in response to his racist comments shows how mainstream such views have become. Coded racism works.
Tom Mockaitis is a professor of history at DePaul University and author of Violent Extremists: Understanding the Domestic and International Terrorist Threat.
Go here to see the original:
- The growing attacks on cops and other commentary - New York Post - May 11th, 2022
- 30 Helens Agree Amazons Kids in the Hall Revival Is Hilarious: Review - Consequence - May 11th, 2022
- Parents are 'sleeping giants' who will fix American education - Fox News - May 11th, 2022
- Abortions and the pendulum - Kathimerini English Edition - May 11th, 2022
- Labour may think its moving on, but working-class voters arent following - The Guardian - May 11th, 2022
- Grace Hyland says she 'hates' being politicised as the transgender community is 'the antithesis of a political issue' - 9Honey - May 11th, 2022
- The Cathedral Vs. The Orthodox Church - The American Conservative - May 11th, 2022
- Chadar At Ajmer Sharif And Praises On Prithviraj Chauhan Cannot Go Hand-In-Hand; Chishti Blessed Ghori To Defeat Prithviraj, As Per His Biography -... - May 11th, 2022
- The Name "Indian" and Political Correctness | HuffPost ... - May 3rd, 2022
- PCU (film) - Wikipedia - May 3rd, 2022
- Reading between the lines of "1984" in 2022 | Opinion | morgancountycitizen.com - Morgan County Citizen - May 3rd, 2022
- Why 2022 is the worst year for anniversaries - TheArticle - May 3rd, 2022
- ITV DI Ray fans left divided about show but all in agreement on one thing - Birmingham Live - May 3rd, 2022
- Republicans making critical gains among Hispanic and non-White voters ahead of 2022 election - Washington Times - May 3rd, 2022
- Bell: Kenney government wants hands off old John A. - Calgary Sun - May 3rd, 2022
- Parapsychologists, sects and secret services: Remembering the most tense chess game in history - EL PAS in English - May 3rd, 2022
- Austin Powers: 10 things you didn't know about the landmark '90s comedy - Tilt Magazine - May 3rd, 2022
- Kerr: GOP's 'stokeism' is replacing substance with the surreal - Seacoastonline.com - May 3rd, 2022
- POTUS Broadway Review: The President Cant Be Held Responsible for This Mess - Yahoo Entertainment - May 3rd, 2022
- Letter To The Editor: A Response to the OpEd 3/21 The Reed College Quest - The Reed College Quest - April 15th, 2022
- Bill Maher's #Adulting and Comedians' Obsession With Haters - TIME - April 15th, 2022
- Replacing Human Rights Act will weaken protections, say peers and MPs - The Guardian - April 15th, 2022
- Elon Musk, Twitter, and the Politics of Disruption - The Bulwark - April 15th, 2022
- Slave Coin Or Freedom Coin: Which Way Western Man? - Bitcoin Magazine - April 15th, 2022
- Another Trump hate rally: The threats get worse, and polite America turns away - Salon - April 15th, 2022
- Comedy Is More Dangerous Because Of Will Smith: DL Hughley Weighs In On The Consequences Of The Slap (Video) - Radio Facts - April 15th, 2022
- Oingo Boingo little Girls Song Controversy, Meaning Of Little Girls And Still The Creepiest Music Video Of All Time? - The Current - April 15th, 2022
- Seth McFarlane's 'Ted' Series Announces Its Main Cast - We Got This Covered - April 15th, 2022
- The abortion culture and atrocity in Ukraine - The Christian Post - April 15th, 2022
- No, Russian artists have not been cancelled - The Indian Express - April 15th, 2022
- S N Balagangadhara Interview Part IV: There Is Intellectual Poverty In Islamised Regions; India May Be Headed The Same Way If It Does Not Watch Out. -... - April 15th, 2022
- The Problem with Political Correctness Life Lessons - April 9th, 2022
- Has political correctness gone too far? | The Economist - April 9th, 2022
- 'Politically Correct': The Phrase Has Gone From Wisdom To ... - April 9th, 2022
- Political Correctness Run Amok - The Post & Email - April 9th, 2022
- Is Real Time with Bill Maher new tonight, April 8? - Last Night On - April 9th, 2022
- The futility of framing one another as progressives and evangelicals, devils and dummies - Baptist News Global - April 9th, 2022
- "The Real World of College: What Higher Education Is and What It Can Be" - Public Radio Tulsa - April 9th, 2022
- Oreos Gone Woke: Is Nothing Off Limits to LGBT Left? - Daily Signal - April 9th, 2022
- Political Correctness - Munk Debates - April 6th, 2022
- Today's letters: Readers comment on the one-party system and school lunches - Daily Commercial - April 6th, 2022
- The Oral History of PCU, the Culture Wars Cult Classic - VICE - April 6th, 2022
- So-Called Cancel Culture Is a Vacant Concept, So It Can Be Turned Back Against the Culture Warriors - Justia Verdict - April 6th, 2022
- Ideology and Disunion - The American Conservative - April 6th, 2022
- Hungarian media freedom is alive and well - Washington Examiner - April 6th, 2022
- PR News | Earth to Jeff: There's Trouble Brewing - Wed., Apr. 6, 2022 - O'Dwyer's PR News - April 6th, 2022
- Why does Twitter think Russian lies are OK but Trump isn't? - The Spectator - April 6th, 2022
- The Saints goal that counted... for the opposition! The odd tale of Brian Walsh - St Kilda FC - April 6th, 2022
- Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, running for a third term, expects education issues to motivate voters in the fall - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - April 6th, 2022
- Did Guy Gibson and his mates go to war in vain? asks ANN WIDDECOMBE - Express - April 6th, 2022
- In a word: Marx Brothers: Absurd, wacky and still relevant - Lewiston Sun Journal - April 6th, 2022
- Disney succumbs to whims of the woke left - Fort Bend Herald - April 6th, 2022
- Kevin Smith Remembers His Best Movie On Its 25th Anniversary - Giant Freakin Robot - April 6th, 2022
- Empire of Asylumdom - The American Conservative - April 6th, 2022
- The War In Ukraine Or 'The Special Military Operation In Ukraine'? Analysis - Eurasia Review - April 6th, 2022
- Putin, the haters White Knight - The Jewish Standard - April 6th, 2022
- How did we get to where political correctness and woke-ness rule in our society? - Paris Post Intelligencer - March 31st, 2022
- Will Smith's Slap Is Political Correctness Taken to Its Logical Conclusion | Opinion - Newsweek - March 31st, 2022
- Letter to the editor | Free to express thoughts | Readers Forum | tribdem.com - TribDem.com - March 31st, 2022
- There is no free-speech right to a university platform - Times Higher Education - March 31st, 2022
- Chris Freind: Open letter to Will Smith: Your worst performance ever - The Delaware County Daily Times - March 31st, 2022
- How The Kashmir Files has caught our bleeding-heart liberals off guard and their lies exposed - Firstpost - March 31st, 2022
- There Will Be No Power Instinct Re-Release on Its 30th Anniversary - Siliconera - March 31st, 2022
- No, America Does Not Have a Free Speech ProblemAt Least, Not the One The New York Timess Editors Imagine - Justia Verdict - March 31st, 2022
- The politics of nothing and the enabling church - Baptist News Global - March 31st, 2022
- If the BBC is cancelling anyone, it's cancelling the Left - The Canary - March 31st, 2022
- Today's letters: Readers comment on the term 'progressives' and the Democratic plan - Daily Commercial - March 31st, 2022
- I refuse to take my kids to the playground after parents were made to sign DISCLAIMERS in case they get... - The Sun - March 31st, 2022
- Ukraine devastation puts 'Partygate' in perspective | Alex Brummer | The Blogs - The Times of Israel - March 31st, 2022
- The culture of nastiness: insults have replaced arguments in political debate - Stuff - March 31st, 2022
- 'Politically incorrect' | Fred Clark - Patheos - March 21st, 2022
- The EU's Shameful Treatment of Poland and Hungary | Opinion - Newsweek - March 21st, 2022
- 'This is the game: you're an employee' - Maverick Viales and political correctness - Motorcycle Sports - March 21st, 2022
- Woke Pat Forde Remains Silent On Lia Thomas Winning A National Title Over His Daughter & Her Olympic Friends - OutKick - March 21st, 2022
- The Indians Are Coming! The Indians Are Coming! - Watson - GoLocalProv - March 21st, 2022
- Why did Jeff Garlin leave The Goldbergs? - GEEKSPIN - March 21st, 2022
- Putin does his best Stalin in threat to 'cleanse' Russia - Fox News - March 21st, 2022
- Florida's racist and anti-LGBTQ bills are already having a chilling effect - The Real News Network - March 21st, 2022
- Suspect in Grisly Mosque Murder Was Obsessed With 'Race War' Group - The Daily Beast - March 21st, 2022
- Theres More Than Just Whats on the Page in Licorice Pizza - The Ringer - March 21st, 2022