Posted on November 21, 2005
Brits go hog-wild with sensitivity
Q: How many British Muslims does it take to unscrew the Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council?
A: One, but she needs lots of help from impetuous liberal chowderheads.
Last month, employees at the Dudley Council received a shipment of stress balls -- you know, those small, spongy balls that are supposed to relieve tension when repeatedly squeezed. As it happened, these stress balls were novelty promotional items, that were made in the likeness of a pig. Naturally, somebody became offended. I mean, just how much do you expect a person to take?
The offended co-worker was a Muslim woman, who was reportedly upset that the unclean animals would be allowed in her presence so close to Ramadan. As a result of her complaint, all the stress balls were forbidden to be seen in the workplace, as well as likenesses of pigs on calendars, figurines, or anything else that might be found on someone's desk.
Councilor Pat Martin criticized the decision, saying, "we rightly pride ourselves on being fair and reasonable employers, but we will not accept extreme forms of political correctness." However, Councilor Mahbubur Rahman disagreed, and defended the ban as "a tolerance of people's beliefs."
As usual, the wrong people are being tolerant here. It's the individual that should be conforming to her society, not the other way around. If you're in England, where toy pigs are not taboo, you just might encounter some toy pigs someday. Anyone who's traumatized by that experience ought to seek professional help, not vengeance.
Somebody who's incapable of tolerating a visual representation of a pig isn't going to get very far, which must be why it doesn't seem to be a very widespread problem. An overwhelming majority of Muslims in Britain and the U.S. already manage to survive exposure to the likes of Porky Pig, Arnold Ziffel, and smiling pigs who wear chefs' hats on supermarket fliers. They even tolerate TV commercials that encourage people to eat pork. This Dudley Council employee who believes she is being affronted by the presence of snouted sponges in the workplace is not only unrepresentative, but she's probably the kind of zealot who should provoke suspicion. Instead of accommodating her, the Brits might want to consider sedating her, and implanting a microchip in her posterior, just to be on the safe side.
Even the terrorists at Guantanamo Bay can't be as sensitive. If they were, we'd probably be "degrading" them by dressing female interrogators in Miss Piggy costumes. Just think of the "torture" report Amnesty International could write on that one ("haiy-YAH!").
The sensitivity of British liberals, on the other hand, appears to be spreading. Just days after the Dudley Council story hit the papers, two English banks, Halifax and NatWest, announced that they will no longer give away piggy banks, or use images of piggy banks in commercials, in deference to Muslims who might find the ceramic swine offensive. News accounts give no indication of any demand for these concessions.
For all that most people know, it could be that the only person to complain about the piggy banks was that same woman from the Dudley Council. To whoever made the decision, though, that would only make it all the more important that they take action. To liberals, sensitivity equals superiority, and the degree of their sensitivity is inversely proportional to the number of people who are the objects of it. Hence, making a ridiculous gesture to placate a single complainer makes a liberal a better person than if he'd served the interests of the majority.
... But to be a really superior liberal, you've got to take it a step further, by committing acts of sensitivity on behalf of those who themselves are not even sensitive enough to realize that they should be offended. In 2003, an English nursery school in West Yorkshire made the news for banning the Three Little Pigs, and references to pigs in other children's stories. Parents had stumbled upon the ban when they noticed that words related to pigs had been conspicuously omitted from reading materials. What's next, suspending kids who draw pictures of pigs? Hiring psychologists to treat children who are scarred by the singing of Old MacDonald's Farm? Once they've accepted an absurd premise, there's no telling how far they might follow it.
The school issued the following statement justifying the ban: "Recently the headteacher has been aware of an occasion where young Muslim children in a class were read stories about pigs. This could have caused offense to religious sensitivities." Sky News, which reported the story, cited no evidence to support this concern. In fact, the article quotes Muslim religious and political leaders who criticized the ban, and insisted that there's nothing in their faith that precludes children from reading stories in which some of the characters are pigs. "This is bizarre," explained a representative from the Muslim Council of Britain. "There is nothing to stop children from reading about pigs. The ban is simply on the consumption of pork and pig products."
So there were probably no Muslim nursery school children who ran home crying because the teacher said "pig" to them. As the school's statement suggests, however, the impetus for purging the porkers from the curriculum was the mere potential that somebody might be offended -- or rather, the expectation that somebody should be.
Once liberals have designated you as someone in need of their protection, there's no refusing it, because they'll figure you're just too stupid to realize how badly you need them. In this way, their hypersensitivity serves as a justification for itself. If it is assumed that Muslims are too frail to tolerate storybook piglets, then they'll never be able to make their way in Western society, without benevolent liberals around to clear all the emotional and psychological obstacles from their paths.
To the contrary, the fact that there are Muslims like the woman from the Dudley Council, who know how to game the victimization system, goes to show that they know their way around Western society pretty well already.
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