Beyond Political Correctness: Social Transformation in the United States

Beyond Political Correctness: Social Transformation in the United States

Beyond Political Correctness: Social Transformation in the United States

Beyond Political Correctness: Social Transformation in the United States

Excerpt

This book is about political correctness, or PC. It is also about social transformation. It is especially about how political correctness impedes the kind of social change that could greatly improve our country. It is written for students and scholars of politics, for social activists, and for concerned citizens. In the glossary at the end of the book, you will find definitions of key terms such as "political correctness," "progressive," "liberal," and "conservative." These definitions are neither right nor wrong, but are simply the ones I have found most useful in my own thinking. You will notice that particular people you know may fit the generic definitions imperfectly, because few people fit into a single definitional box.

A particular term, for instance "adultism," may push your buttons, perhaps because it feels too PC or anti-PC. Please don't throw the book across the room, as a student of mine did recently with a book I had assigned, but intellectually gird your loins to engage my argument. As I make my "progressive" case against PC, I will take positions that may surprise you. My purpose is not to create a new set of politically correct proposals, but to bring out of the closet and into the light of day some provocative ideas that have been shortchanged by PC. I'd be happy to engage you further at . I enjoy passionate, conscientious disagreement more than casual or unconsidered agreement.

The ideas in this book have been inspired by many thinkers, from Plato and Marx to W.E.B. Du Bois, and Betty Friedan to Christopher Lasch and Jeanne Bethke Elshtain. They have been enriched by the work of many public servants, including my distant relative Blue Jacket, Cesar Chavez, Ina May Gaskin, Clarence Jordan, Ralph Nader, Nellie Story, Norman Thomas, Harriet Tubman, and George Wiley. They also have benefited from my engagement with a generation of students, colleagues, and political activists.

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