Political correctness has gone too far - Kathy Jefcoats

As a child of the 1960s, I grew up with comedian Bill Cosby. My parents had his comedy albums, which I thought was cool, and we listened to them as a family. His comedy was clean and familiar to my brother and I. When he talked about fighting with his brother, Russell, it could have been me talking about feuding with my brother. I remember laughing until my sides hurt, listening to Cos reminisce.

When he got his own show, I watched every episode, this time with my own children. I knew that his television family mirrored his own, four girls and one boy. I have three girls and one boy so the humor surrounding that familiar set up was common in our home. We could all relate to what was going on in the Huxtable residence, despite the fact that we are white and not affluent. The message, I always thought, is that families endure the same problems whether they are white or black, rich or poor.

It was only later, when watching reruns, that it seemed to me that the show was more pro-black than pro-equal between the races. Did I change? I don't know but I know that I don't enjoy the reruns as much as I did when I saw them the first time.

Just in keeping up with Cosby through the years, I know he is an advocate of education, that he is philanthropic, that he puts his money where his mouth is, unlike some others who make it rich and forget that there are others not as fortunate.

However, it didn't surprise me to hear that he was super-critical of certain segments of society during a Constitutional Hall ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education. Only someone in his position could say what he did. Can you imagine if a white person had said what he did? It wasn't long ago that former Braves John Rocker was castigated and ordered by NAACP and ACLU officials to apologize for the remarks he made about welfare mothers and rude New Yorkers.

Ordered to apologize. I was flabbergasted. Isn't this still America where people have the right to say what they want? Doesn't freedom of speech still exist? Are we such politically-correct morons that we are offended by opinions that differ from our own or the acceptable norm?

There is a lot that offends me when I think about it. People who use incorrect English when they speak – I am constantly editing their remarks in my head – bother me. Just about anything on the WB offends me. People who walk around with pants so big and baggy the have to use one hand to hold them up so they have only one free hand. If the situation arises where they need two hands, their pants will fall.

I could go on, believe me, but I won't. I think my point is made. Not everyone is going to be satisfied every minute of every day. There is going to be something that bothers someone somewhere. I think political-correctness has gone too far and I know I am not alone. I don't want anyone to think I approve of being mean on purpose but if Bill Cosby wants to express himself, he has a right to as an American. I think what he said needed to be said. Sadly, it won't change things one bit. There will always be people who blame the consequences of their actions on others, who will never accept personal responsibility.

I worked in Twiggs County in the early 1990s. There was a man who lived there who was ultra-sensitive about the fact that he was born black. Since I was not, he would always hound me that I would never know what it was like to be him. He's right, I never will. But that doesn't mean I don't have compassion and understanding of what minorities have endured and continue to endure and I don't appreciate being targeted as guilty simply because I am not a minority.

None of us can help the situation into which we were born. It is up to each and every one of us to rise above our circumstances the best we can and not remain a victim of those circumstances.

Kathy Jefcoats covers crime and courts in Henry County. She can be reached at 770-957-9161 or by email at kjefcoats@henryherald.com.