Political Correctness In Children’s Literature

I’m for it. ‘Politically correct’ is not actually a disparaging thing to say about a work of art.

“Those who disparage political correctness offer two basic objections. First, political correctness is framed as dishonesty and inauthenticity. It becomes a character flaw for those who practice it, because someone who watches what she says and tries not to offend everyone she meets is incapable of genuine social interaction. The second objection to political correctness describes how the individual failings of those who live by the politically correct code produce greater social problems. The claim is that those who spend too much time crying and complaining about poor word choice are missing the big picture and distracting themselves from more important issues. […]

The common threads tying politically incorrect pearls of wisdom together is that (1) they are grounded in racial and sexist mythology designed to protect white privilege and cement the “normalcy” of straight, Anglo, Christian masculinity, and (2) they ignore the diversity of groups marked by race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, and other axes of distinction. We cannot allow defending the right to speak freely and the pleasures of reveling in anecdote to morph into foolhardy generalizations about group differences. When this happens, shorthand racial and cultural “truths” (falsehoods) become metalinguistic smokescreens for processes of separation and social control.”

– Michael P. Jeffries, Paint the White House Black

 

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