US political correctness implicates a Chinese filler word

By Li Qingqing Source: Global Times Published: 2020/9/5 19:03:19


Greg Patton, a professor at the University of Southern California, was placed on leave after he gave a lecture about a Chinese filler word that sounds like the "N" word in English, according to National Review on Thursday.

"Neige", or "um," is a commonly used Chinese word. There has been a joke saying that people should not use the word in the US to avoid being caught in trouble. Unexpectedly, this joke has actually become truth in the US.

In terms of race and ethnicity, an extreme and overcorrected atmosphere of political correctness has risen in the US, spreading to various fields such as academia, the culture industry and people's daily lives. It has become an American-style speech crime, and the country is now crazily obsessed with political correctness.

In such an extreme atmosphere, many absurd instances have occurred in the US, the world's most powerful country: Many statues of Christopher Columbus have been toppled; Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman expressed regret for the lack of racial diversity on the TV series; the dean of the nursing school at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell was allegedly fired after saying "Black lives matter, but also, everyone's lives matter."

However, do these political stunts provide any substantial help in resolving the problem of racial discrimination in the US? No. From George Floyd's death, to the black man who was shot in the back seven times as his three sons watched on, the problem of racial discrimination has not been fundamentally resolved despite decades of political correctness. 

Rather than speaking with political correctness resolves problems, it is better to say that it's covering up problems. The carefully-worded and politically-correct expressions seem to care about the feelings of US ethnic minorities on the surface. But in fact, they don't provide any help to improve these people's lives. Such extreme political correctness only serves to enforce hypocritical harmony.

It took the US 100 years to outlaw racial segregation. But the US of 2020 is still replaying the scenarios that were commonly seen in 1968. What's worse, from some perspectives, ethnic minorities in today's US suffer more than ever. US President Donald Trump has used words such as "lowlife and scum" to describe US protesters, further aggravate racial inequality.

In the US, a developed country, discrimination on the surface has basically been eliminated. However, racial discrimination is still deeply rooted in many American people's hearts and in the social structure. Political correctness brings nothing but a sense of fake peace. It carefully bypasses racial issues and only consolidates the stereotypes of ethnic minorities in people's minds.

Trying to use such political correctness to resolve stubborn racial problems reflects the hypocrisy of American democracy. If the US does not fundamentally improve the living standards and social status of its ethnic minorities, but only hopes to use carefully-chosen words to maintain a superficial peace, then racial conflicts in the US will explode on a larger scale sooner or later.

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