Sunday, October 27, 2013

That Pesky Political Correctness

It's 10 days till the special election for the NH House in Nashua. As I've pointed out, there has been some controversy surrounding remarks made by candidate Pete Silva. He said that on the day of the primary election "I thought I was in New Delhi." His opponent is Latha Mangipudi, who is of Indian descent. His further comment about how Indian voters would be "coming out of the woodwork" to vote for Mangipudi seemed, to many, to carry the unappealing aroma of racism. Silva, and the NH GOP have been quite aggrieved since the story aired, bemoaning "political correctness." 

It has been my experience that people who complain bitterly about political correctness are people who miss the good old days of racial/ethnic, homophobic, or misogynistic slurs. Back when a broad was a broad, a fag was a fag, and a nigger, a kike, or a spic knew their place. Forgive me if I don't miss those days. Feel free to call me a bleeding heart - I just don't think we need to speak to each other with that kind of contempt and disrespect. 

In the Nashua Patch, Silva offers up some unrepentant attempts at justification:

"I'm standing by what I said, because people are turning it into something it isn't. If there had been a huge turnout of Italian voters, and someone said, 'It looks like Little Italy,' I wouldn't have a problem with that.

How generous. He might, however, have a problem if someone said "look at all the dagos, greaseballs, guineas, and wops crawling out of the Sicilian woodwork." I'm betting his disgust with political correctness might be tested by the use of ethnic slurs that apply to HIS background. 

Those words show contempt and a lack of respect. The same kind he displayed when speaking of Ms. Mangipudi and the voters in her district. 

His comments are inexcusable. 

There were 50 to 60 people there who heard what I said. I was a Majority Leader – I know how to speak in a group of people, and I wasn't trying to be guarded, because what I said was harmless," Silva said.

Silva was the House Majority Leader under former Speaker O'Brien. He was part of the O'Brien leadership team.  That alone should instill some fear into the voters of Nashua. That he thinks he knows how to speak in front of a group of people is certainly worrisome. Silva's refusal to apologize was stupid. By refusing, he's kept this story alive far longer than it needed to be. Unless he thinks he's going to win BECAUSE of those comments, the refusal to apologize is a big tactical error. Someday the NH GOP is going to want the immigrant community's votes. This isn't the way to get 'em. 


Anonymous said...

Right on, Susan! Apologizing for offending people is what adults do. Apparently some folks think that asking Silva to do so makes us "radicals" and "cultural Marxists." My Mom would have slapped those silly folks right in the head and asked, "Where are you manners?"

Stephen D. Clark said...

Comparing Silva's comments to spray-painted swastikas and expressions of support for Hitler is hysteria.

susanthe said...

The only thing that is hysterical here, Stephen, is you.

There's nothing in this blog piece about Hitler or swastikas.