People charged with "politically correct stupidity" are actually quite intelligent.

The title of the thread is my thesis. Every few months someone starts a thread about the latest instance where some group is having a cow about a single use of the word “nigger”, facial makeup that looked vaguely like blackface, or something of that nature. Invariably the author says that those who are complaining are stupid. I think that the complainers in that situation are actually quite smart, probably a great deal smarter than those who complain about the complainers.

In times long past, some kings and despots would mete out severe punishments for minor offenses, such as death for an insult or amputation of the hand for an inappropriate gesture. They did this as a show of strength and also a show of unpredictability. The implied message was: “If I’m willing to do that as punishment for an ordinary insult, imagine what I’d do to someone who actually opposed me.”

So when a civil rights group goes bananas over a terribly minor offense or a misinterpretation of something that’s not an offense at all, they’re using a psychological underpinning of a similar kind. (Obviously they’re not killing or torturing anyone, as someone is sure to accuse me of implying.) The implied message is: “If we’re willing to ruin someone’s life just because they used the word ‘niggardly’, imagine what we’d do to anyone who actually opposed us.”

And it works. That is to say, we all know that politicians, corporations, and almost everyone else tends to walk and talk with extreme caution whenever they’re dealing with issues of race or gender and to bend over backward to please those special interest groups.

It also dilutes the credibility of those groups.

But they never do that with religion, do they?

Seriously. Why are you leaving out religion from the mix? At least once a week I see Bill Donohue on TV throwing a tantrum about something or the other.

Indeed, a religion tends to have a more obvious political agenda, and it’s a much more blatant power play when religious people play the victim.

Well yeah. The ringleaders aren’t really offended, they’re raising money and gaining personal power. Their supporters aren’t offended, they’re looking for an excuse to attack people they don’t like.

It must be tough not being able to use the word nigger. I feel for you.

Just because there are certainly some people machiavellically champing at the bit to attack anyone who gives them an opportunity, doesn’t mean that there aren’t some people who are actually offended. (Which I guess makes them stupid.)

You can’t judge intelligence by one factoid.

Simple disagreement doesn’t imply or require a lack of intelligence. Nor does it imply or require a lack of intelligence in all members of a group.

“More” is a comparative, so you’d need to say what you’re comparing it to for this statement to make any sense. If you’re saying that the typical American religion has a more obvious political agenda than civil rights groups or feminist groups, that’s obviously untrue. But in any case, bring up religion is a complete non sequitur in this thread, so I don’t know why you posted at all here when you don’t have anything relevant to say.

A possible long-term issue, yes.

Yes, to be perfectly precise I could specify “more intelligence regarding this particular issue”.

Religion is not a non sequitur. Religious groups (the Anti-Defamation League, various Catholic organizations, Morman groups, Protestent groups, CAIR, etc…) have all done exactly what you mention in the OP - call out individuals or groups for seemingly minor infractions of political correctness in order to silence opponents to their goals.

Even if that were true, how does such an approach help them? I believe they end up weakening themselves every time a Hallmark greeting card says “black hole.”

True dat. Every time some one goes ballistic over using the term “niggardly” it [list=A][li]makes them look stupid, which is exactly the effect you don’t want, and [*]makes it that much easier to overlook use of the term “nigger”.[/list][/li]
Regards,
Shodan

I don’t see a difference between people getting upset about the n-word and people getting upset about someone desecrating a communion wafer. Although, I’m not aware of Dr. Laura getting death threats, while the people who desecrated communions wafers certainly got them. If you are going to consider that use of the n-word a “terribly minor offense,” then I’m going to consider desecrating a communion wafer a “terribly minor offense.”

As others have brought up too, you’re leaving out religion for some reason, and I think the typical religious outrage towards whatever is perceived as insulting behavior or speech is at least as clear an example of what you’re talking about (that is; raising a ruckus over fairly minor things to head of any potential discussion of real issues, if I’m reading you right).

Anyway, yes it seems to work. That’s why people do it. “Political correctness” (broadly defined) is a means to an end. Make it socially unacceptable to use certain terms and actions with the hope that that will influence the general thinking.

I meant to say weakening themselves every time they throw a fit over Hallmark cards saying “black hole,” in case that wasn’t clear.

No, even then, it’s certainly not guaranteed. You may well be a purveyor of politically correct stupidity. Perhaps you aren’t, and your opponent is wrong but not stupid. Perhaps you are, but your opponent is stupider. And so on. In and of itself it is by no means a good test.

As others have said, it works in some aspects, and not in others, often within the same case.

Take the example of ‘Rev’ Sharpton and his harrangues against Imus when his (generally funny, IMHO) flunky made the ill-advised comment about the ‘nappy-headed hoes’. He accomplished his mission, assuming it was to a) kick Imus off the air, b) establish his alpha-dog cred, and c) entrench (in his own mind) as BlackCop, thereby earning more media interviews, fundraising, and some support from the dimmer elements of his following.

Has anyone thrown such a fit?