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Tag: identity politics

The (in)correctness of political correctness

by Ton Salman

I’ve just finished reading “The Golden House” by Salman Rushdie. I enjoyed it: it is amusing, irritating, timely, biting and a delight to read. Of course, I am biased; he has been one of my favorite novelists for years. And he is one of the authors that in audacious ways often addresses the clashes between cultures, religions, ideologies that characterize our current globalizing, fidgety and agitated world, in provocative, foolhardy and sometimes pestering bravado. His novels, in my view, are must-reads for anthropologists.

In “The Golden House” he demonstrates his skill again. The novel plays in the USA, during the Obama-years and the first shrieking of his successor. Rushdie expresses in unequivocal terms what he thinks about the incredible events, without the message getting the upper hand. But he also comes to speak about other current developments, in the realms of cultural encounters, clashes and allergies. First, by mocking a tendency, for instance at USA-universities to be hypersensitive about concepts and labels for human “categories”, and second about (public) lectures on, again, university campuses by lecturers or on subjects that might make specific student groups feel “uncomfortable” or “un-safe”. Although universities are the loci here, the topics are larger, and trigger critical thinking about how, as societies and also within our ranks of anthropologists, we could address such controversies.