Had a conversation in the comments section of my post “Islam is Evil!” and I just wanted to clarify a quick point. See, the commenter accused me of political correctness and I just wanted to clarify that my ideas were not about political correctness in the slightest. I might write a full post about my ideas on being PC but for now, here’s why I wasn’t being PC in that post.
If you don’t want to read that post, in short I argued that I think calling all Islam evil etc is inaccurate because the part of Islam you’re using to call evil isn’t representative of all Islam. You wouldn’t call all bread brown – because there is also white bread. Both brown and white bread are still bread though. That was essentially the crust of my argument. However I want to go a little further than that and say its also practically a bad thing to do.
Why? Because I think that it contributes to the negative environment that begins the cycle of radicalisation. Here’s an article and a couple quotes from it if you’re lazy:
“Governments are waking up to the fact that hard security tools cannot reduce the wellspring of violent extremism; their strategies need to work on addressing the underlying grievances and conflicts that feed violent extremism.”
“Certainly, economic, social, cultural and political exclusion and marginalisation are all contributing factors,” she said. “Local manifestations of violent extremism may differ, but often the underlying causes were similar and rooted in development – a lack of education, poverty and gender inequality.”
So its not just me that thinks this, its actual experts in the subject of extremism and radicalisation. If we continue to reverse engineer this we find that the way we speak about Islam and the way we behave regarding Muslims are contributing factors. This could happen in a variety of ways, one of which being using phrases like “Islam is evil” as I described already – it inherently makes followers of Islam – ie Muslims – feel as though they are evil. It causes people to treat all Muslims badly because all Muslims follow a form of Islam. Islam is a tree with many branches, and if you want people to sit on the non-extremist branches in your society, you can’t treat the tree like its all just one branch.
Do I think this should be legislated? Heck no, freedom of speech all the way. This is a social change that is going to take people actively making a choice to not take the easy route and tar everyone with the same brush. It takes far more effort to respect the diversity and nuance of people than it does to generalise. But if it is, as experts suggest, contributing to the cycle of radicalisation, then isn’t it worth it? You could literally help stop terror attacks by changing one little thing about the way you speak.
I don’t argue this from a political correctness standpoint – this isn’t about muh feelings. It’s purely a practical solution to a problem. If you know that not getting enough protein is contributing to you feeling sleepy all the time – you don’t continue to not get enough protein, you fix the problem. This is what I advocate for, fixing a problem. If you want to end the cycle of radicalisation which results in terror attacks – then you need to address the causes. Whether you like it or not, that involves you and changing something about you. It’s your call.