As an end-of-year treat, here's my list of the 2007's most egregious examples of political correctness.
Some have made an appearance before. Others are new additions to the Hall of Shame. But each one is a glaring reminder that, if we don't watch out, the inmates will take over the asylum. Only they'll call it a community center.
The Duke rape case
If we wanted to be correct, instead of just politically correct, we'd call this the Duke (There Was No) Rape Case. But that might force us to focus on the train wreck called Crystal Gail Mangum, the victim-who-wasn't.
But we don't do that sort of thing. When rape is involved, we give women the benefit of the doubt, protect their identities even after their alleged attackers are acquitted, shield their past behavior from jurors. Especially if their alleged attackers have the misfortune of being white, privileged males who happen to excel in sports.
Harvard's fragile females
Harvard prez Larry Summers suggested that men and women might have organically different brains, quoting respected neurobiologists. A female MIT professor got the vapors and screamed for his head. Other women and the men who love them smelled blood in the water, and faster than he could say "I'm sorry" about 8,000 times, Larry was gone. This year, they named his replacement. A woman, of course.
Don Imus and the end of chivalry
The radio shock jock made an utterly tasteless comment about the Rutgers women's basketball team. He was disrespectful, but no more so than the charming young fellows who rap about "ho's" and "bitches" and other things that my editor won't print. Imus humbled himself in front of the Rev. Al Charlatan, lost his job (temporarily) and became the new face of the KKK. Which leads me to wonder why a real Klansman like Sen. Robert Byrd, Democrat of West Virginia, still pulls his paycheck.
Woe unto the Boy Scouts
The city thinks the Boy Scouts need sensitivity training. Scores of gay boys across the city are allegedly feeling left out because they won't be allowed to learn how to tie a square knot.
Of course, no one asks why the sexuality of an eight-year-old is any business of the city solicitor's office and a City Council that bends, like sheep, to its will.
In an age where everyone feels compelled to tell us who they love and why they love them (not that there's anything wrong with that), the sexual orientation of eight-year-olds seems to be worth about $200,000 a year.
Alycia in Wonderland
Speaking of sexual orientation, beautiful anchorwoman Alycia Lane was arrested in New York for allegedly hitting a cop. Alycia has an interesting track record, strewn with e-mails and bikinis.
But now she finds herself in water even hotter than she is. And maybe it's not only because she socked a female officer. In the end, it may have more to do with what she said while she was supposedly flailing away. The word that rhymes with bike could leave tire treads on her career.
Chaka & the 'black enough' issue
Rep. Chaka Fattah, slipping in the polls and feeling the heat from an increasingly popular Michael Nutter, felt the need to put the "race" back in "mayoral race."
Pretending to make a legitimate point about stop and frisk, a program he opposed and Nutter supports, he implied during a debate that his opponent wasn't "black enough" - as if there's a definition of that phrase.
Hello, Mayor Nutter.
Nooses . . . and nooses
It's a hate crime - or at least a hateful action - when some bigot in Jena, La., hangs a noose in a tree and black students are justifiably offended.
Apparently, it's not a hate crime when a Baltimore fireman hangs one on his own locker. So what we should we call that?
The city Human Relations Commission, having nothing better to do (its members must hang out at the city solicitor's office), decides to use taxpayer money to go after a man who still believes that the First Amendment applies in Philadelphia.
He thinks everyone should "speak English." He also wants them to "eat cheesesteaks."
And no one has been denied service. Case closed.
These are those who argue the "political correctness" is a phony issue. But worrying about protecting women even when they lie, selectively prosecuting bigots, caring more about the public sexual orientation of potential scoutmasters than about the safety of little boys in a violent world and wondering who is the "blackest of us all" might make some people feel virtuous and tolerant.
But it might just be another type of prejudice. *
Christine M. Flowers is a lawyer.