We’re Running Out Of Fighting Words

Antonio Diaz / Shutterstock.com
Antonio Diaz / Shutterstock.com

There’s a great Jim Norton joke about political correctness that goes something like, “You can’t say nigger, you can’t say bitch, you can’t say faggot…how’s anybody supposed to know when you’re addressing them?” When it comes to confrontations between people of separate ethnic and sexual groups, this is especially pertinent. Progressives continually wage war not on human aggression and loathing but on the way these feelings are expressed, and this suppression of thought can only add to the general tension and resentment between individuals and the groups to which they belong.

Case in point: A mixed-race guy I used to hang out with once told me a story. He had been walking through a bad neighborhood late at night when he witnessed a mugging. Four black guys had set upon a scrawny white kid and snatched a bag containing a laptop. My friend was close enough to hear the victim say, “Aw, come on! That’s my laptop!” That somehow failed to stop them and they tore away on foot, whereupon he let out his frustration at being publicly humiliated by screaming “Fucking niggers!” Amazingly enough, they didn’t turn back to stab him.

So what did my friend do? He scolded the poor dweeb. He walked right over and told him, “You’re a fucking racist. I swear to God, man. I should fuck you up.” Now, far be it from me to tell anyone of black ancestry not to be offended at hearing a white guy drop the N-bomb at the top of his lungs, but given the extenuating circumstances, you’d think he could have cut him some slack. Keep in mind that my friend expressed zero outrage at seeing a fellow human being assaulted and jacked in public; it was the language the victim reacted with that put a fire in his belly. You can see why I don’t hang out with him anymore.

I am a volatile and highly confrontational person. Thankfully, most of the arguments I get into are with white people, and so in the heat of the moment I can let loose with pretty much any epithet I feel like without having to worry about incurring the wrath of any nearby ethnic minorities. Two white boys are duking it out? Great, let’s pull up a seat and watch. When I do come close to blows with nonwhite aggressors, however, I have to watch my words—not because I care about protecting the other guy’s feelings, but because I care about protecting my delicate skull. I’m 6’3” and know how to throw, but I don’t much fancy my chances against a racially aggravated flash mob.

So what do you call someone outside of your racial or sexual group who is pushing your buttons, who cuts in front of you at the self-checkout line, who sees you walking with someone attractive and through sheer jealousy decides to heckle you and test your mettle? Do you call them an idiot? That seems kind of weak, as well as unfair to the world’s historically oppressed idiots, who were routinely branded as “feeble-minded” and sterilized and forced to sit in the corner wearing dunce caps before media execs decided they could be useful started giving them record deals and reality shows. How about ugly or fat or obnoxious? I think you’ll find that all of these terms will be somehow offensive to someone, and in such an easily offended world it’s becoming increasingly difficult to fight fire with fire.

I don’t want to call anyone a faggot, a bitch, or a nigger, but then again I don’t want to be put in a situation where I feel even remotely tempted to do so. If the social-justice mob truly wanted a more peaceful world and not merely a more stifled one, they’d do away with all of their polarizing and demonizing and blaming and simply adopt a credo of universal peace and love. But they’d never do that; they’d sound like a bunch of faggots. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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