Monday, January 12, 2009

Drop Words Not Bombs?

Every once in a while you encounter a perfect example of societies inability to really understand what we should be upset at.
This is one.
Prince Harry of the British Royal Family is in big trouble. Apparently videotape surfaced of him while serving in Afghanistan in 2006 where he uses the terms “raghead” and “Paki.”
The media went into a tizzy and he was forced to release an apology to anyone he may have offended with his thoughtless use of racist terms.

OK. No argument that the words are offensive. No argument that he shouldn’t be using those terms for other people. But let me get this straight. When you go to war it’s OK to kill people but if you call the people you’re killing a derogatory word, then you have to call a press conference to apologize?
I don’t get it. Is this what Political Correctness has given us after more than 20 years of influence? We have replaced real physical harm in war with words as the cruelest thing you can use on other people.
Sticks and stones may break my bones but use the wrong word and now you have really hurt me! I highly doubt that any of the people killed or wounded in Afghanistan seriously gave a shit about what the white guys were yelling as they pulled the trigger.
Would you?
Do you think that with their final breathes they looked into the eyes of their enemy and said, "Put a few dozen bullets in me, fine. But calling me raghead? Now you have hurt me deeply!"
I don't think so.

This is our greatest weakness. Think about it. The rest of the world has been trying to match our weapons technology forever. They don’t need to. If they want to cause damage to America all they need to do is fly over us with a loud speaker attached to the bottom of a plane and start screaming slurs. America would be brought to a stand still! It would be the top story every night. Think I’m wrong about that? The Prince Harry bullshit was the lead story on the CNN and BBC websites for two days. Beneath it ran news of the war in Gaza. I can’t think of a more pathetic example than that.

The thinking with all this do-gooder Orwell approach to words is familiar to anyone who ever took an office mandated sensitivity training class. When we use hurtful words to demean a person we take away their dignity. When you do that enough times, so the thinking goes, then it is easier to see that group as less than people. When that happens, well, you know history. When we no longer view another group of people as people it makes it far easier to kill them. It sounds nice and it sounds reasonable and we have all bought it. But it doesn’t seem to have ever worked. Talk to anyone in the military. They will tell you that while no instructor or commanding officer directly tells you words like “raghead” are OK, they don’t discourage anyone from using those terms either. Why? Because in war the first thing you have to do is dehumanize the enemy. The simplest way to begin that process is by calling the enemy by a derogatory often racist word.

Prince Harry was really doing what his training for combat taught him to do. It doesn’t matter that his training is in direct contradiction with the dictates of modern polite society. Murder we can accept. Causalities of war we can accept. Calling someone a “Paki” is something we simply cannot. The thinking is of course that by stopping the use of these words we will see everyone as equals and war will become a thing of the past. That is, until we need to bomb them. Then, go for it! Bomb, shoot, destroy-just don't use any racist words while you do it. That would be mean.


Anonymous said...

So according to you its alright to call people anything as long as we don't kill them? Thats the kind of stupid thinking that leads to people using cruel words. There is nothing wrong with wanting an end to racism.

Joe said...

Yes. You nailed it perfectly. That is exactly what I am saying.
Thank You for grasping it.
Well done!

Dean said...

"It's crazy, I tell ya, just crazy!" (adjusts tie and mugs for camera)

Anonymous, how's about we stop bombing and shooting people FIRST and THEN work on addressing them respectfully?

Joe said...

Anonymous made my point better than I made it! The entire focus of their outrage is on the words we call each other to hurt each other without grasping where the real harm is coming from. No, I do not think people should be free to call others mean things. But on the scale of the evil men do to each other, cruel names doesn't really rise to the level of murder, war, starvation, torture or death.
But thats just me. I doubt very much anyone would feel better about getting the shit pounded out of them if the attacker was yelling, "Take that, Sir!"