Inadvertent DI?

Foucault’s ideas of power are interesting and profound, essentially stating that power is not an inherent ‘thing’, but an action that a person, people or institutions can exercise on and impress upon people and culture.  When this power is exercised, it can make changes, but it also is accompanied by resistance.  In this article (, Chris Rock makes an interesting and intriguing observation about college students today.  Basically, as I understand it, he is saying that college students have gone too far with the movements towards political correctness, and have in a way undone themselves.  The concept is a little tricky to grasp, but it seems that he is saying that in an attempt to be politically correct (essentially a progressive idea), people have inadvertently become conservative.  The idea behind political correctness is too avoid insulting minorities, and remove power from majority biases.  Rock implies that in going too far with this, people become blind to the fact that in ignoring the differences between people, they remove diversity from the dialogue.  People, and social groups, are different; and embracing, discussing and celebrating these differences can occur without necessarily attaching bias to them.  With extreme political correctness, the biases are removed, but so is the diversity.  In that way, Rock implies that people (ostensibly progressive college students) have actually become stuck in a pattern where they cannot accept change – a behavior historically attributed to the conservative-minded.  I think that Foucault would agree with Rock.  Foucault discusses the power struggles between people and systems within society, and how resistance also occurs.  With political correctness, the attempt was to resist the power of the (white) Dominant Ideology.  However, in generalizing society too much by refusing to express, recognize or discuss people’s diversity, tiptoeing around descriptions – as Rock exemplified with his ‘red shoes’ remark – afraid of hurting people’s feelings, people actually impede social progress.  I believe that Foucault would argue that these movements toward political correctness, to the extreme as Rock argues, has created its own sort of Dominant Ideology, to which it is now producing its own resistance, on the grounds of social and cultural hypersensitivity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *