You're Either Politically Correct or Socially Corrupt

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You're Either Politically Correct or Socially Corrupt

© Jack Straton 1998University Studies
Portland State University
Portland, OR 97207-0751

Teaching multicultural awareness to my classes of first year college students has made me more aware than ever of the power of nonsense to mold people's responses to their world. Inevitably some of the more privileged students, i.e. those who are white, male, heterosexual, rich, and/or Christian, shrug off the reality of stories by oppressed people with their handy Teflon coating, the accusation "You're being Politically Correct."

This linguistic detergent is just the thing to whiten and brighten all that gloomy talk from the day. It's great for nipping those pesky little protests about patriarchy in the bud. Why stop at simply oppressing people when you can double your investment by blaming them for sewing discord?

Of course one can try to counter with an argument such as the following:

Anges Repplier must have had some foreknowledge of "political correctness" when she wrote in 1897, "There are few things more wearisome . . . than the monotonous repetition of a phrase which catches and holds the public fancy by virtue of its total lack of significance." She also said, "People who pin their faith to a catchword never feel the necessity of understanding anything." (Casey Miller, Kate Swift, and Rosalie Maggio, "Liberating Language," Ms., p. 50-54 at 54 (Sept./Oct. 1997).)

But those who refuse to think are asleep by the third line.

What is needed is some thoughtless counter-drivel. It's time to strike back against the phrase "Politically Correct" with an equally meaningless-with-a-whiff-of-truth catch phrase. My friend Theresa and I were slinging words one day when out popped "Socially Corrupt." This phrase gets to the root of the issue. It is perfectly obvious that those who spout the "You're just being PC" thought-virus do this so they can treat other people badly with impunity. "Socially Corrupt" has got that great Nyah, nyah cadence: "Oh DON'T be so Socially CorRUPT!" And its "SC" short-form comes in handy for extended wordplay: "You're so PC." "Yeah, well you're SC." "Am not!" "Are so!!" . . . A nicely dualistic retort of "You're either Politically Correct or Socially Corrupt" might actually have a chance of scratching that Teflon oppressiveness of hate mongers.

So don't be so SC; get out there and be a pest!

  • You know you're being Socially Corrupt when --
    -- when you under-expose family photos to make sure the skin looks white enough.
    -- when you wish you were "Black" because then you would surely get the job.
    -- when you decide not to "compliment" a woman about her body because she is jogging with a Doberman.
    -- when you chastise gay non-monogamy and oppose gay marriage.
    -- when you cut down trees and name streets after them.
    -- when you are outraged to hear of Jesus being played by a "Black" man instead of how he "really" looked, with blond hair and blue eyes.
    -- when you squirm when seeing gay men kissing on screen and buy lesbian pornography.
    -- when you think that shamanic healing is "mumbo jumbo" and exorcism is a sacrament.
    -- when you hesitate to shake the hand of a person of color, and try to get a good tan.
    -- when you are anti-Semitic and pro-Israel.
    -- when you fear gays in the military and sexually harass your cadets.
    -- when you want to slash public welfare to beef up corporate welfare.
    -- when you cut education funding for kids to pay for prisons to house them when they grow up.
    -- when you abhor child abuse and promote the ideal of "intact" families, ignoring that some parents abuse their children.
    -- when you are "pro-life" and pro-death-penalty.
    -- when you ship DDT overseas because it is banned in the US.
    -- when you say that anyone who works hard in America should get a decent wage, and cut welfare payments to mothers.
    -- when you pledge allegiance to the flag and undermine liberty and justice for some.
    -- when you force people off of welfare into the workforce and raise interest rates to keep unemployment "high enough" to fend off inflation.
    -- when you are prejudiced against dark skinned Caucasians from India and light skinned Japanese.
    -- when you don't want to let "illegal aliens" into the country, and are proud that your ancestors barged into this land from the Mayflower.
    -- when you teach the Central American police methods of torture to keep America safe for democracy.


Of course there are some ways in which even good-hearted people are inconsistent. Folks might even cut you some slack --

-- when you recycle diligently and drive a sport utility vehicle.
-- when you can't bear to catch and kill a fish but buy dead fish at the supermarket.


Then there are socially corrupt behaviors that don't nicely fit in ironical form, such as --

-- when you tell your clerks to follow African-American shoppers around because "they are more likely to steal."
-- when you excuse an Asian-American batterer because "that is part of their culture."
-- when you think that "the alternative" to evolution is the Christian creation story rather than those of the other world's religions.
-- when you think that your job is more important than the environment you leave for your children, not to mention the other animals and plants on the planet who have a stake in living.
-- when you leave your shopping cart in the parking space reserved for disabled people.
-- when you site polluting factories in low income and/or ethnic neighborhoods.


And, of course, there are nasty, vicious, mean, and cruel things that some folks do that are so socially corrupt that to try to express them as in ironical form is to dishonor their victims. These include:

-- rape
-- gay bashing
-- domestic violence
-- child sexual assault
-- cross burning
-- violating treaties with Native Americans
-- inciting war


Profile: Meet Jack Straton


With a background in jazz, quantum theory, and diversity training, Jack Straton infuses his classes with creativity, interdisciplinary experience, and interpersonal connection.

Jack Straton earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in photography from the University of Oregon in 1977, worked as a professional jazz drummer for three years, and then returned to the U of O in the 1980s to earn a doctorate in quantum theory. Both as a volunteer and professional diversity trainer over the past 18 years, he has presented several hundred workshops on ending sexual assault and racism. Jack founded Men Against Rape groups in Eugene, Oregon, Washington, D.C., and Manhattan, Kansas. He has published extensively in professional journals from his research in Quantum Scattering Theory, Gender Equity, and Diversity Training Methods. He has served as co-chair of the National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS) and, as coordinator of the NOMAS Task Group on Child Custody Issues, is recognized as one of the leading writers and speakers in the country with expertise on ethical and public policy issues related to the overlap between child custody, child abuse, and woman abuse.

Jack has been teaching Inquiry courses at PSU since 1995, currently Popular Culture and Pathways to Sustainability and Justice, always seeking to infuse them with creativity, interdisciplinary experience, and interpersonal connection.


Analytically Continued Hypergeometric Expression of the Incomplete Beta Function

The Incomplete Gamma Function Expressed as a Sum of Macdonald Functions


Jack C. Straton, Associate Professor, Physics & University Studies (Photo © Brent Hirack)

E-Mail: <straton [at}> 

The Myth of the "Battered Husband Syndrome - Filed under Ending Men's Violence, Paper. By Jack C. Straton, Ph.D. 


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