Thursday, October 11, 2007

Question for my Readers

(Note: The expanded version of the original VFR entry sheds some light on this question.)

I was reading the recent VFR article on the noose incident earlier when I ran across this (increasingly) familiar statement:

"I am not saying that this kind of moral depravity exists among all blacks or a majority of blacks or a large minority of blacks."

I immediately recalled having read the same statement, or some version of it, several times in the very recent past at the same site. This got me wondering why these qualifying statements always (or seemingly always) attend these exact kinds of posts? I speculate that they are included in anticipation of charges of racism, or of reducing the numbers and kinds of negative responses one is liable to get when identifying racial peculiarities of this sort unattended by such qualifying statements.

Now, (a little qualification of my own here) I'm not implying it's wrong or useless or anything of the sort to continually attach these qualifications to these kinds of posts, but I am wondering how useful it truly is to attach them to virtually every racially sensitive entry. If the purpose is to control the negative feedback, as I speculate, I just wonder how well it works; does it actually reduce the number of unfavorable replies one can expect to get on such topics? If there's some other purpose to it, I'd like to know that as well.

Anyone have any ideas?


Vanishing American said...

Terry, I know I've included statements like that when I make some point which might be construed as 'stereotyping' or 'profiling' or 'generalizing.' I do it because almost inevitably, someone will object. The statement by Lawrence Auster which evoked the PC response was a classic example. The commenter accused Auster of saying that blacks were the sole source of depravity, when clearly he didn't say that.
It's always a case of somebody constructing a straw man. Say, I make a comment about Moslem terrorists. Somebody will chime in and say 'how can you say all Muslims are terrorists? I know some very nice Muslims who are good Americans.' The liberals will always distort your statement to make it sound like a blanket condemnation. It gets tiresome, so I usually make the disclaimer in advance: 'I am not saying all Moslems are terrorists.' However even when you do that, it doesn't deter the accusations so it seems pointless really.

Terry Morris said...

VA, thank you for that reply. It's very helpful to me in answering to my own mind the question that I pose in the entry.

My reply to LA in that thread is not my full reply, wherein I also said that "no; I wouldn't respect you more ... but I personally would not respect you less either if you used the disclaimer less frequently."

I think it just struck me, on reading the same disclaimer several times within a short span of time, as maybe being, I don't know, overly cautious when broaching the subject? It makes me wonder whether "overdoing it" might actually yield undesirable or unintended results.


Vanishing American said...

Terry, I think it's a case of being overly defensive and 'protesting too much.' I will personally try to stop doing it myself, but it is a hard habit to break.
It's just another example of how political correctness is warping our communication. We become excessively conscious of 'offending' or of making a statement that will be attacked by someone.
Maybe by refusing to play the game, we might break the cycle.