INDEPENDENT NEWS

Mapp: Political Correctness - Next Steps

Published: Fri 9 Dec 2005 04:59 PM
Political Correctness - Next Steps
In the six weeks since my appointment on Political Correctness Eradication there has been growing interest in the role.
It was obvious when I wrote my speech on the Problems with Political Correctness that there was real concern about the pervasive effects of political correctness. However, there was also a great deal of misinformation about what political correctness actually meant, and as a result, much scepticism about my new role.
Now that the media has witnessed the numerous letters to the editor and the 100s of examples sent to my office, they are beginning to appreciate that excessive political correctness is a serious issue for New Zealanders. As the role has gained momentum the media has becoming less cynical. In fact, they are regularly coming to me as a source for their news stories.
I receive examples of political correctness on a daily basis and have already compiled two Eastlight folders of examples ranging from the serious to the zany. As a result of this correspondence I have added a new section to my weekly Mapp Reports - PC Madness Example of the Week.
The first example we chose to publicise was the "essential" requirement that bus drivers at UNITEC "demonstrate understanding of and commitment to Te Tiriti O Waitangi". Obviously this is a departure from common sense. In what situation would a bus driver need to demonstrate their commitment to the Treaty? And how would such knowledge be tested by UNITEC?
Qantas's policy that unaccompanied children are not to be seated next to adult males was the second example published on the Mapp Report. This example became headline news when it was revealed in the media that Air New Zealand also have such a policy.
This is a classic case of how political correctness demonises people because of irrational fears. Yes, it is true that men are statistically more likely to be paedophiles than women, but this does not mean that we can make embarrassing and discriminatory generalisations by assuming all men are dangerous to children. Several men have come forward since we made this situation public and the Human Rights Commission will now be investigating.
The decision by District Health Boards not to pass on information about new born babies to Plunket is the third example uncovered by the Mapp Report. Plunket provides a valuable service to the community, but is unable to effectively carry out its role successfully due to excessive legislation and the Privacy Act. The DHBs do not even have consent forms that mothers can sign so their details can be passed to Plunket. As a result, new mothers and their babies are missing out.
This week's example of PC Madness demonstrates just how ingrained political correctness has become in New Zealand. (Scroll down for this week's example.) Again, this case illustrates a departure from commonsense, almost to the point of absurdity.
However, what is more concerning is that this particular use of language, and the connection of the Maori spiritual world to the world of science, will do little to actually promote understanding of Maori language and culture. Over the next few months I will be putting together a paper on political correctness. This will incorporate many of the examples I have been sent, and provide a historical context for political correctness in New Zealand. It will also outline what steps need to be taken in order to bring sensible balance to the issue of political correctness.
ENDS

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