Empty Attributes

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

As preposterous as political correctness seems to John Derbyshire, who grew up in the monocultural England of the 1950s, his children have completely internalized it:

My daughter, age 14 and brighter than average, reacts with horror — instinctive horror, from internalized revulsion — if I comment in any way at all on anyone’s group identity. I’m not talking about the n-word here, which I don’t use, but just saying things like, “So-and-so is Jewish, isn’t she?”

Nellie will grimace and say, “Really, Dad!” It is wicked, morally wrong, to notice anyone’s Jewishness, blackness, Hispanitude, Orientality, gayness, sex, disability, and all the rest.

You must go through life holding fast to the belief that these are empty attributes, carrying no information value, and that any reference to them must be — can only be — motivated by malice. Plainly people can actually go through life doing that. It’s amazing to me, but they can — sort of floating effortlessly above the reality of human nature, defying gravity.

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