The Triumph Of Political Correctness Over Humor?
On April 26th, Ryan Felton posted this story on Crains Detroit Business webite:
Ex-state GOP chief’s Facebook post pokes fun at Detroit:
Former state GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis, whose name has been tossed in the pool of potential candidates for the soon-to-be-vacated U.S. Senate seat held by Carl Levin, created a stir this week with a Facebook post that took aim at Detroit.
Writing “I’m sure this is news to many!!!” Anuzis posted an image on April 21 of Detroit Police Headquarters with a caption that pokes fun at the city and its residents.
Under the image, which had been shared more than 350 times by Friday afternoon, a satirical news story reads: “Detroit Community Stunned: Police in Detroit last night announced the discovery of an arms cache of 200 semi-automatic rifles with 25,000 rounds of ammunition, 20 tons of heroin, 5 million in forged U.S. banknotes and 25 trafficked Latino prostitutes, all in a semi-detached house behind the public library on Woodward Ave. Local residents were stunned, and a community spokesperson said: ‘We’re all shocked; we never knew we had a library.’ “
One commenter, Timothy Miller, admonished Anuzis for what he said was an insult to Detroit voters.
“There’s a reason the Republicans can’t get the Detroit vote,” Miller wrote. “Not because Detroiters are too dumb to understand free market economics, but because few voters are going to vote for politicians who despise them.”
Anuzis responded: “I’m not insulting anyone…sharing a joke.”
Some followers of Anuzis’ Facebook page added similar commentary on Detroit in the comments section, but when one individual acknowledged the inability to find a “reliable source” to confirm the fake story, Anuzis replied: “It’s a joke…we’re having some fun!”
The origin of the copy associated with the photo is unclear.
Anuzis’ post follows Facebook follies by several other community and state leaders. Former Troy Mayor Janice Daniels generated controversy over anti-gay remarks she made on her Facebook page and was eventually recalled in last November’s election. Michigan Republican National Committee member Dave Agema was criticized and called upon to resign last month after posting a factually dubious article critical of gay people.
As of Friday afternoon, Anuzis hadn’t responded to requests by Crain’s for comment via email or phone.
This article begs many questions: Have we as a society become too sensitive in adhering to political correctness? And how large a part of modern-day society is political incorrectness? Are we overly sensitive, and do we overreact to situations that are deemed by society to be politically incorrect?
Racism, fascism, sexism, bigotry and homophobia have all been, and are still, heightened issues in society. Most can agree we’ve made strides. But being able to discern the difference between malice and humor is important. And that’s what’s ultimately missing from the political correctness debate.
Society has definitely changed for the better. People of different races and sexualities, all with different opinions, beliefs. Tall people, short people, fat, skinny, bald, brown, white, yellow, not a single one of us is alike. If we were all the same in this world, how boring would we be?
Saul Anuzis said he wasn’t insulting anyone, he was just sharing a joke. There is a line, if Saul ragged on time after time and constantly made Detroit the brunt of jokes, none of us would stand for it. All of us know what it’s like to be associated with something and have it used not necessarily against you, but used in a derogatory way that refers to something you associate with.
Saul shared a joke, some laughed, some admonished. If we cannot all laugh together and laugh at each other, how will those lines of difference ever diminish? How will we ever learn to get along?