Thursday, July 26, 2007

PC Bias

John McWhorter on how saying that creole is a less complicated language than Polish can get you labeled as racist. An excerpt:

I have similar experiences on the race punditry scene. At least once a day someone approaches me on the street. Often, they say they were prepared to loathe me, but that after reading one of my books they realized that I am sane. “I don’t agree with everything,” they usually say. But I’m not the Antichrist. Yet, while in linguistics, I find that it is relatively easy making people see that all I am doing is trying to make some sense, with race, it’s harder.

There are only a few thousand linguists, but countless millions of people interested in race. I can’t lecture personally to any but a sliver. And for every person who has bothered to read one of my books, there is another one who has heard some shard about me as “anti-Affirmative Action,” “hating rap,” “wanting black people to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.”

I have neither written nor said any of that. But those who think I did, reasonably, never put forth the effort to read my books. And why would they trawl through my opeds written over seven years?

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