BOSTON (CBS) – In some ways, the modern-day sensitivity toward uncivil behavior – call it political correctness if you like – has been good for us.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

While there are still too many who think it’s OK to toss around racial or ethnic slurs, the fact is that compared with a generation ago, much of that ugly stupidity is no longer considered acceptable by civilized society.

That didn’t happen because those of us who find those slurs repulsive and unacceptable asked those who used them to cut it out, pretty please.

It happened because it became widely accepted, as a matter of custom and, in some cases, law, that there was zero tolerance for racial or ethnic hate speech, and that indulging in it would carry a cost that few were willing to pay.

But political correctness as a way of life has its limits, mainly when it is used as an indiscriminate weapon by people caught up in a grievance culture gone overboard.

The most recent example of this was the firing of a 28-year old copy editor at for writing a headline on a story about Asian-American basketball phenom Jeremy Lin that included a word with two meanings – one, that a flaw had surfaced in his recent exemplary play, the second, a derogatory slur.

The young editor has apologized and insists he just didn’t understand the offensive meaning; Lin has graciously accepted his apology.

But that’s not enough for California Congresswoman Judy Chu, who insists the slur was intentional, while offering no proof.

Having helped create an atmosphere in which ESPN felt it had to fire the kid, I wonder whether the congresswoman will rest until Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki is drummed out of the league.

After all, he praised Lin’s game the other day by calling it “crafty.”

You see where this is headed – tolerance squeezed out in the name of fighting intolerance, and a dilution of the meaning of real hate speech by tossing that label around carelessly.

In a country this diverse, that is a formula for PC disaster.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

Comments (26)
  1. Enough says:

    Political correctness is a recipe for disaster in this country, people take it waaaaaay too far. That is why so many illegals have flooded this country, and particularly this state, because Liberals worry that addressing them might “offend” them. No matter how many crimes they commit (inlcuding just being here), no matter how many innocent citizens’ identities they steal and use, no matter how many citizens they kill, they are allowed to stay because heaven forbid we offend them by asking them to prove they are here illegally.

    1. gramps says:

      A lot has been made about ‘Lin’s’ eyesight & his ability to see the basketball court’s ever changing scheme as being one key to his success…..yet he seems to be ‘squinting’ all the time?



  2. Not cool says:

    PC disaster my ass! Would you dare to use the “N” word in a sentence that describing any African American athlete? Then simply use the explanation of “I only meant for the color of black, and I didn’t know it was a derogatory term to African Americans”. Remember Jimmy the Greek, Don Imus? Do they look innocent enough to you? To you the “C” word is just a description to describe a “flaw in the armor”. There are plenty of other words that have the same definition. It’s so obvious that young editor intentionally link the “C” word in linking Jeremy Lin and his race. Only a white ass would not think it’s offensive to anyone. Sorry, I only meant for the a donkey with white butts.

    1. fred says:

      I am sure you “N”‘d out all the references in your copy of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Oh and by the way, if it’s so awful why do many blacks refer to each other using that phrase? Perhaps if the reporter was Asian it would have been ok. A 28 year old may never even have heard the reference before. I am pretty sure that you are of the mindset that think only whites can be racist.

    2. Lisa says:

      I agree with Not Cool. 28 years old is old enough! Please – everyone has heard these slurs. This is a national magazine – the kid is expected to be a professional. If he is that ignorant of appropriate language then he needs to go back to school. It was disrespectful and unprofessional.

      1. fred says:

        Do they now have classes in racists epithets? Do you know how many derogatory words there are for Jewish people? Do you know them all? Many have double meanings. Perhaps he grew up in a PC environment where those words were never uttered. There are many people who are not street savy and take things literally. I would blame this more on tjhe copy editor for letting it go.

      2. Nab71 says:

        Let me understand your reasoning., Racial slurs should not be used. Society should work to eliminate racial slurs. Parents work not to be racist. Schools work to eliminate racism. If all this works an individual of age 28 would not have used any slurs. But according to your analysis he should know every possible slur to make sure someone doesn’t jump to conclusions. Doesn’t this defeat the PC purpose, if the intent is to end racism? Or would this eliminate some power for the PC gurus? It’s similar to saying that taxes on cigarettes are designed to end smoking, if it works you lose a source of revenue.

    3. Stanley11 says:

      How do you know the editor is white? Sounds like you’re the racist that assumes every white person has racist intentions with everything they say. YOU ARE THE PROBLEM!. Especially since the N word doesn’t have another meaning in any type of phrase.

    4. George Bush says:

      And nobody cares what a poor inbred old fool like you thinks either BOBO.

  3. tsalnew says:

    Lisa, I was right on board with your comment with him being old enough and professional enough to know better – until I saw what he said. I had to look up the term. I’m a professional. I’m 62. I would sooner cut off my hand than insult someone and have never in my life felt prejudice or judgement for another. But I have used the term and never, ever, ever had any idea what it meant. I’m right on board with Jon on this one. The man apologized. Give me a break. To the congresswoman – perhaps if she were focusing more on what can be done to fix this country things might improve.

    As far as PC – you only have to look at the comments by Matt and gramps above to understand why it is necessary.

    1. gramps says:

      I don’t agree with Lisa….


      ‘Chink’ went out with permanent press…As a young lad & the oldest son, one of my weekly chores was to take all the dress shirts, dads & 3/4 boys in Catholic School up to the ‘Chinks’….Once there I’d find a very nice ‘family’ all working very hard, 7days a week, washing pressing & folding shirts, some on hangers, others folded with a 1″ blue strip of paper wrapped around the garment….

      I’ll always remember my walks home from the ‘Chinks’ cause they were full of the sights, smells & warm smiles of the people who did the shirts…

      Permanent press caused the demise of many Chinese Laundries, like the 707 caused the decline of the railroads & E-mail the possible swan song of the PO…..How many of us have used the term ‘going postal’? I wonder how that makes the mailman feel?….It never ends!!!

      I’m sure that ESPN guy was born into a ‘permanent press’ world that’s why he lost his job!


      He’s another ‘Victim’ of the ‘Progressive PC’ers’ aka the……McCarthyism of the 21st century.


      1. tsalnew says:

        I don’t agree with Lisa either

      2. gramps says:

        She can’t understand normal thinking….


    2. Nab71 says:

      Isn’t this similar to a few years ago when a young Southwest attendant told people to quickly find a seat “Eeny, meeney. miney, moe” Two African Americans claimed harrassment and Southwest settled. I had always understood the child’s song as catch a tiger by the toe, as in the current Mentos commercial. Anyone under 60 knows it that way. At the time I had to ask what the version was that the two objected to, but under PC logic I should have known or someone much younger should have. The PC crowd is causing people who are in no way racist to have another form of racism caused by resentment of being unjustly accused.

      1. gramps says:

        How right you are….

        There are currently & unoffically 2,649 things you can’t say in public!….

        This is the PC Bible…..’The thought Police’ must memorize the whole thing B/4 getting their badges.

        Just plug in any ‘ethnic group’ or Country & you’ll find the things you can’t say!…For instance ‘Irish’ or Ireland, Polish, Spain, Greeks, Russians, Americans, Germans, Mexicans, Canadians…..etc

        You can even use combinations!

        There’s one particular group that has 6 To 9 X’s more things you can’t say to them or about them than any other group on Country.

        It’s a ‘Politically Correct’ jungle out there!


      2. tsalnew says:

        Nab – oops – I still say it as I knew it as a child also. It’s necessary but we have gone so far overboard – surprise – that it’s about as sad as it gets –

      3. dowdy says:

        It is all in the intent.

      4. George Bush says:

        A tiger does not holler “let me go” now does it? I am much younger than 60 and know where that came from, but I understand that most people just know it the way kids learn it today.

      5. Nab71 says:

        George Bush
        My understanding of the words always was ” and if he hollers (roars) let him go,”
        It’s a child’s song remember. Now since you understand where it came from , in PC logic wouldn’t that make you a racist?

      6. tsalnew says:

        george – he doesn’t holler “let me go” – put a comma in there and you’ll get it. And since there are so many baby boomers, I would also say that most is a bit of an exaggeration as far as using how it’s said now.

  4. tsalnew says:

    well one of the two of you may fit the description – I’ll agree with that – but as to which one……………………………..

  5. yamstar1 says:

    what happens when a color commentator questions his ability to “drive the lane”?

  6. firemanmark says:

    “If Larry Bird were black he would be just another basketball player”. Isaah Thomas “Welcome to Hymie-town”. Jesse Jackson.

    1. George Bush says:


      So your argument is that two black people said some off color remarks 30 years ago so it is OK for you to do it?

      Grow up, be man.

      1. gramps says:

        “There is nothing more painful to me … than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery, then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.” – the Reverend Jesse Jackson, as quoted in US News, 3/10/96.

      2. firemanmark says:

        Yup!They are race pimps just like AlSharpton.I have no use for them or any liberal idiot.Try reading Ann Coulter maybe you’ll learn something.

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