A pilot from an American Airlines flight waves a Haitian flag.
Originally uploaded by Official U.S. Navy Gallery
This is a new category you'll be seeing on my blog as I ponder the question, "Is PC BS?" Does PC etiquette prevent true discourse? Is anyone really capable of being PC and honest? I have listened to so many non-PC statements since I've been in Germany that I'm beginning to wonder if PCism exists, if it's on a path toward slow death or if it is regarded as a serious form of communication at all?
I should have started this category months ago but it was a seemingly banal interaction that I had recently, which made me sit down and start writing this.
I met an interesting group of Korean people at a party last week and somehow we got on the topic of people confusing them for being Chinese, Japanese, ______ (insert Asian nationality here). I immediately said I couldn't believe how ignorant some people are.
"Well, sometimes we can't tell either," one Korean woman said to me. "Like sometimes I can't tell between a Japanese and a Korean."
I was in shock, rendered speechless.
Then her Korean friend added in, "And you know what's really hard? Telling apart Germans."
My eyes must have been enormous by this point.
"I swear to you," the friend continued, "my grandmother calls all of my German friends by the same name. She can't tell one blonde person apart from the next." He was serious.
So here I am wondering, "Ok, so true PC behavior says we're not allowed to say all people of one race or ethnicity look a like. For one, it's not true. If one more person says I look like Michelle Obama. . . .but when Asian people say this, then I'm tripped up. Do the rules bend? WTF?
I used to HATE IT when people confused me for a black girl who looked absolutely nothing like me. But then I got to college and people trying to be PC were afraid to say that I was black. They kept referring to me as "the tall girl."
So are we now post-PC?