Political correctness — some call for it to be laid to rest. However, political correctness is not down, its stock value is.
Political correctness is definitely experiencing a decline. Looking at Donald Trump’s Cabinet alone would make me sell my futures in political correctness. Trump fought political correctness throughout his campaign and cites saving time as a reason for not being politically correct. Recently on “Face the Nation,” Trump said that he thought America was being too politically correct on Muslims.
Political correctness in the chivalrous sense is dead, the attack on the politically correct has gone on even after the election. The alt-right are an easy target for examples of the death of political correctness.
After the Ghost Ship fire, there was an alt-right-linked call to hunt DIY spaces. Such spaces are known for being all-inclusive, but were labeled as liberal hideouts. Twelve spaces in total were shut down, Nashville being hard hit as well as California.
Chicago’s scene had its casualties over the course of 2016 for unrelated reasons, but it remains a stronghold for the creative and the inclusive. The Oakland fire shined a light on an art scene in the midst of a housing crisis. The alt-right saw it as an opportunity to “report all ‘artspaces’ and illegal venues to crush the radical left.”
Gabe Meline writes in an article for KQED Arts about the Oakland space: “They don’t understand why the floor is so rickety, the lamps don’t have shades, the wall is painted three different colors and the table is made of scrap wood.”
Meline says that those who criminalized the attendees of the Ghost Ship space as attendees of an illegal event don’t understand why those spaces exist.
Often, spaces don’t last. I remember seeing pictures of former Chicago venue The Keep being disassembled soon after attending one of its last shows. These venues are not often permanent fixtures. In recent years, the community has organized an annual poster listing the DIY venues and the deceased venues. The dead venue count and the currently active count are often close.
The Chicago DIY community reacted to the Oakland fire by calling for town halls to resume and for venues to have clearly labeled exits and fire extinguishers. While initially people tossed around ideas such as holding a benefit show to raise money for fire extinguishers for every DIY venue in the city, venues have already begun purchasing them on their own, if they did not already have them.
The reactionary witchhunting of safe spaces for dialogue and art is a sign of the downturn of political correctness. Ten days after the election, 867 hate crimes occurred, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 23 of which were anti-Trump.
In the defense of political correctness, the ACLU received record amounts of donations after the election, although Time magazine says this is because organizations like ACLU and Planned Parenthood may feel under threat from the Trump administration. Fear of retribution for not being politically correct may have driven some people in the past, however, fear of being politically obsolete may drive some people now.
Donald Trump took office on Jan. 20, 2017. Whether or not this will result in even more hate crimes or donations to special interest organizations remains to be seen.