I don’t like Lewis Hamilton. And the team he drives for. That’s an understatement. This was evident in my last post. My dislike of the man has nothing to do with his being black. Surprisingly, two comments – from people whose thinking I respect – did bring up the black angle, which left me wondering if, in today’s world, expressions of personal likes or dislikes – without any demographic connotations or aspersions – are nevertheless measured against the demographic profile of the individual being spoken about. In other words, I can’t pan Hamilton and say that he is, as far as the world of F1 goes, an extremely privileged individual who has had the best of F1 opportunity handed to him on a platter, without someone being pained by the fact that I criticized the first black in F1. Forget the fact that his race was never a factor in my opinion of him. Disregard the fact that no one remembers that Lewis is to the manor-of-F1 born. And that no one would have blinked an eyelid if I had said the same about any other (non-black) driver.
Are we in an era of an extreme level of political correctness? And before anyone takes umbrage, let me clarify – I am all for political correctness. But are we approaching a point where we have to take our positions only at either end of the spectrum? Are we at a point where the rule is “if you’re not with us, you’re with them”? Is any criticism to be seen only in the broad context of the demographic profile of the person, and not in the immediate context of the criticism itself?Does the demographic profile of the person dictate our views of her? And if we only look at the broader demographic context, what happens when you suddenly have to choose between members of two marginalized groups?
I then remembered having come across this very insightful article on the recently-concluded Democratic primary. The author writes that Hillary got the short end of the stick, and was the victim of blatant misogyny. In contrast, as another article mentions, the attacks on Obama were apparently not blatantly racist . This is something that many people may not acknowledge. Of course, there were so many other factors involved in the Hillary-Barack battle that I may be guilty of reductionism myself. But one can’t help wondering if in the gender versus race factor, some white American Democrats preferred erring on the side of race.
Could the reason for this be a misplaced sense of political correctness? Could it be that this misplaced sense of political correctness dictated that charges of alleged misogyny were preferable to charges of alleged racial bias?
I have only the questions. Perhaps some of you could provide the answers.