Humans are social creatures and always have been.
We want to be loved.
We want others to approve of us.
Today, this innate need for social acceptance explains why we try to be politically correct. By avoiding language and actions that might harm disadvantaged people, we’re able to show those less fortunate that we care, while gaining respect from our peers.
But lately, political correctness seems to have been weaponized; used as a tool to judge others who don’t abide by similar standards. As a result of this immense pressure, the “beneficiaries” of political correctness can quickly become the victims.
In a strong statement at the intersection of politics and morality, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred decided to move the MLB All-Star game from Atlanta to Denver. This followed the passage of a new Georgia voting law, which critics say disproportionately disenfranchises people of color. He said this decision was “the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport,” and added, “Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.”
Controversy avoided. Sigh of relief. In that regard, the move makes perfect sense.
But when I looked into the crowd at Coors Field Tuesday night, I was hard-pressed to find a single person of color. And I started to think, did this decision really benefit the African American community?
Which scenario would have benefited the African American community more: to keep the All-Star game in Atlanta, a city that’s 51% African American, and a top 5 city for Black-owned businesses? Or move it to Denver, which is just 9.8% African American – and ranks 106th out of 124 cities assessed for Black-owned businesses? To illustrate the economic impact, in 2000, the MLB All-Star game generated about $49 million for the Atlanta area. Taken together, these numbers tell the story.
In this situation, Major League Baseball reaped the benefit of political correctness, while the intended beneficiaries became nothing but pawns, victimized by what we now see is hollow rhetoric. For if league officials truly cared about fair access to voting and giving minorities an equal voice, they would also prioritize the consequences of fair voting: ultimately helping minorities improve their lives.
Actions speak louder than words. What if, in response to Georgia’s voting law, Major League Baseball did some sort of campaign to support minority-owned businesses around the Braves’ ballpark? Wouldn’t that have been more powerful than leaving Georgia’s minorities in the dust?
In order for anything to truly change, it’s going to require each of us to put less stock in political correctness. Instead, let’s applaud charitable individuals who tirelessly volunteer to help others, whether it’s delivering air conditioning units to the elderly on a sweltering day, or mentoring at-risk kids whose parents aren’t around to do so themselves. And let’s “walk the walk” ourselves, putting more time and energy into actually making a difference in people’s lives, instead of just mindlessly scrolling our newsfeeds, liking and sharing posts with nice-sounding rhetoric.
Saying the right thing is one thing. Doing the right thing is quite another. Let’s make that the new “politically correct”.