Trump and Political Correctness

So Trump tweets:

Because, of course, being decent and polite and not making menstruation jokes as a means being denigrating is being “politically correct.”

While Trump takes it to his own special level, I am weary of people who want to complain that being asked to civil and decent is some manifestation of  the tyranny of “political correctness.”

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, US Politics,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Tony W says:

    Well said. You can’t just bloviate any nonsense then respond to the backlash with PC victimization. Unless you’re Trump.

  2. Argon says:

    Righto.

    Mind you, it was Eric Erikson who once wrote that Justice David Souter was a ‘goat f**king child molester’ and who is now concern trolling Trump about his language. So that cesspool is pretty deep and wide among a certain populist mindset.

  3. Gustopher says:

    Was it even a menstruation joke? He said she was bleeding out of her eyes and her wherever — that sounds more like Ebola then menstruation to me.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I am weary of people who want to complain that being asked to civil and decent is some manifestation of the tyranny of “political correctness.”

    Hmmmm…. Funny thing I have noticed about the people who complain about “political correctness” the most vociferously, they all come from the right of the political spectrum. Wonder why that is?

  5. grumpy realist says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Because a certain section on the Right wants to be able to make rape jokes and use the N-word and call people “spics” and they’re mad that they can’t do it without backlash.

    In other words, why some white guys REALLY want to go back to the 1950s….

  6. Stephen Bloom says:

    Being polite and decent is certainly not the sole purview of the left. Consider the treatment accorded the Palin children.

  7. Tillman says:

    It’s a function of time. People get settled into their long-standing prejudices, and the greatest prejudice is the name of something. Witness the reaction we had around here when Caitlyn Jenner “debuted.”

    And it’s not as if we don’t have commenters around here (including me) who occasionally get that righteous boner over calling something “what it really is.” This is human nature. I would argue, though with great reluctance, that Donald Trump is just more human than the rest of us. 🙂

  8. @Argon: I will confess, the only thing about Trump’s recent statements that I have found amusing are those directed at Erickson, as he has no standing in being the defender of virtuous/high-minded political language.

    @Gustopher: That was my interpretation, and I am not alone. When one makes comments about bloodflow and a woman who is allegedly being overly mean or emotional, it is not a leap to see that as a “time of the month” crack.

  9. Tyrell says:

    There was a time when people would disagree and not get bent all out of shape about it. Now if anyone offers a differing view point they are called “racist”, “hatemomger”, “homophobic”. Look at the universities. At one time synonomous with free speech. Now professors talk about the chilly atmosphere and if they encourage or offer a differing viewpoint, the student thought police will report them to the administration and there will be a big mess.
    Target has announced that they are removing signs that reference “boys” or “girls” and not dividing their merchandise out like that. Have we become so sensitive that some people are offended by any reference to a person’s sex ? It seems that way. Toys are one thing, but I hope that I don’t have to start looking for men’s clothing in the women’s section.
    Even some state governments have adopted regulations removing any references to male or female in state documents. Bizarre !
    So let’s just agree that we can disagree and not get all bent out of shape about it. Just take a chill pill !

  10. JohnMcC says:

    @Tyrell: Here I am trying to cut back on those ‘chill pills’ and now they’re recommended.

  11. @Tyrell:

    There was a time when people would disagree and not get bent all out of shape about it. Now if anyone offers a differing view point they are called “racist”, “hatemomger”, “homophobic”.

    This has been the complaint by many on the right–and specifically Rush Limbaugh since at least 1988.

    While it is no doubt the case that people are sometimes mislabeled or that these terms are poorly deployed, it is an utter deflection to pretend like a) all disagreement met with these terms, and b) that they aren’t appropriate. Trump has said numerous racist and misogynistic things. There is no getting around this fact.

    Look at the universities. At one time synonomous with free speech. Now professors talk about the chilly atmosphere and if they encourage or offer a differing viewpoint, the student thought police will report them to the administration and there will be a big mess.

    Speaking as a university professor, this is a) a recurrent theme dating back to at least the 1990s, and b) it is overblown in the press.

  12. @Tyrell:

    Target has announced that they are removing signs that reference “boys” or “girls” and not dividing their merchandise out like that. Have we become so sensitive that some people are offended by any reference to a person’s sex ? It seems that way. Toys are one thing, but I hope that I don’t have to start looking for men’s clothing in the women’s section.

    A) I am having a hard time believing that claim.

    But, B) if a business wants to do that, so what? (And I suspect that you will still be able to tell the difference between men’s and women’s clothing if they take the labels down…)

  13. @Tyrell: Ends ups, not for clothes:

    Target will no longer have boys and girls sections at most stores after customers complained about gender stereotyping.

    The chain is also removing gender labels from toys and bedding sections.

    Signs designating some items for girls and others for boys will be taken down.

    Gender labels will remain in the kids’ clothing section because of sizing and fit differences.

    (link)

  14. The horror!

    “As guests have pointed out, in some departments like toys, home or entertainment, suggesting products by gender is unnecessary,” Target said. “We heard you, and we agree. Right now, our teams are working across the store to identify areas where we can phase out gender-based signage to help strike a better balance.”
    In June, Ohio mom Abi Bechtel called out Target’s gender designations in its toy aisle. She posted a photo to Twitter that showed store signs for “Girls’ Building Sets” next to regular “Building Sets.” The outcry was swift, with angry shoppers calling for change.
    “It stood out to me as a good example of the way our culture tends to view boys and men as the default, normal option and girls and women as the specialized option,” Bechtel told CNN at the time.

  15. Gustopher says:

    @Stephen Bloom:

    Being polite and decent is certainly not the sole purview of the left. Consider the treatment accorded the Palin children.

    I was unaware of any Democrats comparable to a leading candidate for the presidential nomination, saying anything about Palin’s kids. Did I miss Biden referring to Bristol as a tramp?

    Also, Palin kids are pretty objectively more troubled that Megyn Kelly. I don’t recall Megyn Kelly crashing parties and getting into drunken brawls, or becoming a spokesman on abstinence by being an example of what not to do (kudos to Bristol for dashing to that trough of cash — raising a child is expensive, and hard as a young single mother, and grabbing that easy money is a smart move)

  16. Tyrell says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: See, that is what I am talking about.
    Thanks for your replies. I usually “don’t get no attention”

  17. Gustopher says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    In June, Ohio mom Abi Bechtel called out Target’s gender designations in its toy aisle. She posted a photo to Twitter that showed store signs for “Girls’ Building Sets” next to regular “Building Sets.” The outcry was swift, with angry shoppers calling for change.

    I think building sets are great for kids, and in general they are stereotypically considered boy’s toys. If adding a sign for “Girl’s Building Sets” and making some in pink is going to steer some parents or grandparents to consider them for young girls, I think that’s great.

    The only people who object to the signage, and the pink Legos, are the people who were already going to buy a building set for their daughter.

  18. grumpy realist says:

    @Gustopher: There seems to be an age that a certain percentage of girls go through when growing up where PINK is the default color. (I don’t remember this in my own childhood–my mother tells me my default color was green.) And not just a sweet insipid pink, but the color of flamboyant pink that screams “decorated with shiny stuff and rhinestones galore.”

    I agree that the sign would be more precise if it said: “Construction sets for girls whose default color is pink, the rest of you girls can go over there to where the normal construction sets are”, but that’s a little hard to fit on the standard sign.

  19. grumpy realist says:

    @Tyrell: No, it’s not that “people would disagree and not get bent out of shape about it”. It’s that women and black people had to put up with the N-word jokes, the “she’s on the rag, hrr, her” jokes, the “women can’t handle money” jokes, the “hey I was just kidding!” excuses, and the continual pick-pick-pick needling day in and day out, because if women and blacks complained about such jokes they would be FIRED. That’s what your “hey, it was so great in the old days!” actually boils down to.

  20. JohnMcC says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I jumped to the conclusion that our friend had just read “God and Man at Yale” and thought it was current events.

  21. Tillman says:

    @Gustopher: @grumpy realist: I recall a dad talking about how his toddler daughter out of the blue got really into pink. She also renamed herself Dee Dee Bones which, as the dad was quick to point out, is the most punk name ever.

  22. Grewgills says:

    @Tyrell:

    See, that is what I am talking about.

    Speaking as the father of a little girl, what you are talking about is a good thing.

    @Gustopher:

    If adding a sign for “Girl’s Building Sets” and making some in pink is going to steer some parents or grandparents to consider them for young girls, I think that’s great.

    Putting up the sign that said “boys” over most of the building sets, trucks, trains, etc steered more parents and particularly grandparents away from those toys more than adding a few, generally less complicated and interesting, pink and sparkly options under “girls” does to steer anyone to them.

    The only people who object to the signage, and the pink Legos, are the people who were already going to buy a building set for their daughter.

    The signage also steers a lot of little girls away. This is, or should be, much more about the kids than the parents. Boys should be able to play with princess castles and girls with Tonka trucks without people thinking something has gone wrong with the world.

  23. Tyrell says:

    @Grewgills: I agree with that. As far as the color pink goes, I have seen just as many high school guys wearing pink as the girls here recently.
    I used to love putting on jewelry when I was little. Didn’t mess me up, I don’t think.

  24. Kylopod says:

    I decided to do a little post about my thoughts on political correctness and Donald Trump:

    http://kylopod.blogspot.com/2015/08/political-correctness-and-sincerity.html

  25. Tyrell says:

    @grumpy realist: No, that is not it. Have we gotten so weak and fragile as a people that toy designations in a department store offends someone ? Or some tv commercial ? Anyone who takes a tv commercial seriously needs to get a life. And then there is the inevitable boycott or lawsuit from these activist groups that don’t have anything better to do then stir up trouble; doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks, they want the world to stop turning for them. And anyone who disagrees is called “racist”, “hatemonger” and other. These fringe groups are trying to put limits on freedom of speech.
    I guess next some misguided group will complain and want limits placed on the harsh language of Marine Corps drill instructors ! Ain’t ‘gonna happen!!
    Toy designations signs: see Target news article about new policy.

  26. Davebo says:

    Remember Dr. Carson reminded us all during the debate that objecting to the use of torture was also just political correctness run amok.

  27. gVOR08 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: So Target made a business decision. Why do conservatives like Tyrell hate free enterprise?

  28. mantis says:

    @Tyrell:

    Have we gotten so weak and fragile as a people that toy designations in a department store offends someone ?

    If one person is offended by something, it in now way implies that “we” have become anything.

    As to that person’s objection to the Target labeling, it was rather reasonable. Why have a section for Lego sets, and then a separate section of legos for “Girls?” Why would Legos be gendered, and why does the store need to tell girls, “these toys are not for you” by implication? Target has heard the complaint and made a wise decision to stop using those signs. Some non-zero number of customers found the unnecessary gendering of items unacceptable, while I suspect zero customers will be offended by the fact that they are not. As a business, that’s an easy decision to make.

    And I should note that businesses making decisions to appeal to more customers or retain their current customers is in no way a free speech issue, and customers have complaining about how businesses market/display/sell their products since businesses started existing. If you think any of this is new, you must have just fallen off the turnip truck.

  29. the Q says:

    I guess they will have to drop the “women’s maternity” section.

  30. Grewgills says:

    @the Q:
    Do they have women’s and men’s maternity sections or just maternity sections?

  31. bill says:

    i just thought he ran out of analogies- i didn’t immediately think of a “menstruating women” slam, but then neither did he i think..
    but then i didn’t blink about romney’s “binders…..” one either. maybe my mind isn’t stuck in the gutter or something?
    but back to the “pc” bs- i think a lot of the country is so sick of the “chronically offended” crowd that they find trump to be a somewhat refreshing. how many of us watch a debate/interview just to see who will spew out something that didn’t fit in the the sanitized way these suits are supposed to speak in and try to imagine how they’ll “apologize”?

    @Grewgills: the way this country’s going i wouldn’t be surprised at anything.