Baby, it’s ‘politically correct’ outside…


Baby, it’s ‘politically correct’ outside…

I don’t really care one way or the other about the song “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” I don’t really like the song nor do I like any of the traditional so-called “holiday” songs. In fact I’m not a big fan of the “holidays.” I’m not against joy and peace, but I know that these things cannot be obtained by mugging each other at Walmart the day after Thanksgiving. I’m not offended by the song, but if I have a choice I won’t listen to it.

At the same time it’s not impossible to understand the critics of t he song. The man keeps insisting “stay,” but the woman keeps responding “no.” Does “no mean no,” or doesn’t it? Try to imagine the song with Bill Cosby as the male singer.

When I was a kid my dad used to tell ni**er jokes. He wasn’t alone; a lot of people told ethnic “jokes” at the time and still do (think Irish “jokes,” a shadow of the vicious discrimination experienced by Irish immigrants in the 19th century.) My dad was from Iowa, completed a military career that included service in the Navy in the Pacific during WW2 and in the Air Force in SAC during the Cold War. He wasn’t particularly racist. He was a product of his time, and made efforts to reach across racial and ethnic barriers. But he didn’t think twice about telling those “jokes.”

I don’t know if he ever stopped. I imagine he did. I think he knew it was a reflection of American racial injustice, and he believed in the America that had a place for everyone — the one the WW2 generation fought for. There were others who lived through the Civil Rights Movement who would have responded to criticisms of telling ni**er jokes by, I don’t doubt, railing against “political correctness” gone wild. Yet what was done openly and without reflection in the 50s and 60s is now not tolerated in polite society.

Did we become more just? Or are we victims of political correctness? Does the fact that Disney will not re-release “Song of the South” or that kids can no longer see the cartoon version of “Little Black Sambo” on morning television demonstrate progress? Some synonyms for “politically correct:” inclusive, inoffensive, sensitive to others. Look it up.