May 26, 2008

Creativity is Politically Incorrect

Those that know me, know that I don't like the notion of "Politically Correct"(PC), at all. Not only because I am not politically correct, but also because I believe that there is something wrong with the concept. And it is not just "something" really, but several things that -from my point of view- make the whole concept unacceptable.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for being "correct"... just not POLITICALLY correct. I guess you can see the difference. But if an example is needed, I find more correct to call black people 'black' that "Afroamericans". First of all, we ALL have our roots in Africa. Secondly, some of the black people living in the US have their family coming originally from the Caribbean or Brazil, to name just a couple. Of course, you can argue that their ancestors came from Africa, but that takes ut to the very first point. And last but not least, how do you call the blacks living in France or Jamaica? Blacks, right?

So, even when they are not technically black (but dark skinned) black is still more correct than "afroamericans".

My second issue with the concept of PC, is that it doesn't help creativity. Why?

Easy. Creativity needs freedom of the mind. And especially when it comes to words, PC is a form of censorship. To make things worst in some way perpetuates what is trying to accomplish. Using my previous example, if you "read" something bad in the words 'black people', is either because the "sender" of the message is using those words with a tone that implies something bad or because you are giving to those words an underlying meaning that in fact is not there. Because black is still more correct than afroamericans and should not imply anything more than dark skinned people.

I can write endlessly about this issue, because it is core to education, communications and creativity. But I will stop here for now and let you enjoy (or not!) a polemic spoof ad that has been called funny and tasteless and racist... you be the judge:

Me? I find it slightly funny and while I do understand the reasons a brand wouldn't want to have this type of communication, the ad simply takes portions of reality (a harsh reality but reality nevertheless) and plays with it to show off the main characteristic of the product.

Not a commercial I would approve -as it is now- to be aired, but a good example on how creativity starts its process. If an intern would present this idea to me, I would probably considered it a good starting point for a similar commercial playing on a James Bond type of character, instead of using a suicide bomber. What do you think?

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