By Chris Barts
Fairness is a very important concept. It is taught to us from a very young age as being the only concept needed to get along in a very complex and dangerous world. Everyone, from our parents to our teachers, taught us that if we would just be fair, everything would somehow turn out right. Perhaps the reason fairness is so stressed is because we, as a species, are so greedy, ignorant, and sometimes mean that only by stressing fairness can we be made into functional adults. That philosophy has caused some of the worst abuses of rights in this country since the Jim Crow Laws.
The most obvious abuse of "fairness" is the concept of affirmative action. Affirmative action guarantees certain people jobs simply because of their race, at the same time excluding those who happen to fall into less favored categories. This practice was begun with the best intentions, hopefully making workplaces more diverse. But it never worked. All if did was give jobs to people defined as ethnic groups rather than human beings. It created gap between those groups favored and those groups not favored, as those not favored would assume that a member of a favored group got there, "there" being any position of power or profit, simply because of the color of his skin or some other irrelevant criterion. Human beings cannot be classified as being "black" or "white" anymore than a car can be judged by its paint job. Yet affirmative action does just that. In my book, racism is racism no matter how you cut it, and it all stinks just as bad.
But perhaps the worst crime committed in the name of "fairness" has been the reworking of the language to make it politically correct. No longer are my words my own, as every time I call someone whose ancient ancestors once were African "black" I run the risk of being attacked as being racist. I've never once demanded to be called a European-American, even though my ancestry is clearly European. Just being American is good enough for anyone. But ethnic groups aren't the only one trying to rewrite the language. Any group who thinks it's been slighted can get a few days in court and a few million in punitive damages if anyone so much as calls them by the name they've been called for the 30 years. Perhaps we should be taught that any plain language used in reference to human beings is, by definition, vulgar, and, therefore, should be sanitized by the use of an opaque legalistic term designed to avoid lawsuits. Dodging suits is good, but I'd rather speak and be understood. I'd rather have my First Amendment rights.
Common sense is all I'm asking for. I want things to be rational, because making things fair just makes them unfair to larger groups of people. Human beings deserve to be treated as human beings. A human is more complex than surface properties can determine. Therefore, just observe the golden rule. If they find fault, it's their problem.