1990s Political Correctness -

TheProdigalStunna

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Gay jokes were still very much a thing in pop culture, and teenagers often used gay as an insult all throughout the 90's and 2000's, but true and honest full-on homophobia and gay bashing was condemned, especially after Matthew Shepard got killed.

"Casual homophobia" of jokes and ribbing was acceptable, but was also kind of seen as childish and immature as you got older, especially as the 90's gave way to the 2000's. Like, it was okay and expected if you were a kid or a teen, or even in your early 20's in some areas.

But once you hit your late 20's/early 30's, being openly homophobic was seen as pathetic unless you were an outright redneck or hood rat. Everyone had a more "none of my business/you do you" mentality for most of the 90's and 2000's, barring the fundies or fringe groups like the lefty proto-SJW's and OG Antifa punks or Neo-Nazis and Militia spergs.

Actual homophobia involving physical violence or threats was a huge no-no even back then.
In hindsight, it's really hard to overstate how quickly America did a heel-turn over gay issues in such a relatively short time period. I definitely remember friends using gay and fag well into the late 00's, even 10's. And looking at the political scene, gay marriage is one issue that really came into acceptance in an unprecedented way. Paul Wellstone, probably the most left-wing senator at the time, voted for the Defense of Marriage Act in addition to most other Democrats. Hillary and Obama were both opposed in the '08 election. Now it's basically heresy if you don't support it, and very few Republicans will go up to bat in overturning it.

Looking back, even in the past 10 years the overton window on what is socially acceptable has shifted greatly. Watch some old Louis CK bits or early episodes of It's Always Sunny and you'll be bombarded with jokes that they wouldn't be caught dead making now. And if you told people just 10 years ago that virtually every media outlet and corporation would cheer on people burning down their own cities and disbanding the police in the name of justice, you would be considered insane.
 

Kosher Dill

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I think the main difference between '90s PC and '10s SJW is that there's more genderspecial stuff in the Current Year and less hippie stuff. And, of course, that SJW took root much more firmly than PC got a chance to.

Language acrobatics was in full force - a lot of it was well-meaning things like using "chairperson" instead of "chairman", but we also got neologisms like "womyn" gaining currency.
Check this parody from 1994: Politically Correct Bedtime Stories
Besides being amusing, it's illustrative of the kind of stuff a mass-market reader would have recognized as "the excesses of PC language and going overboard with cultural sensitivity".

Modern-style sexual paranoia was invented in the '90s - you surely all know the infamous Antioch College rules from 1993.

"We Wuz Kangs" was already around too. See Not Out Of Africa for a survey and refutation of Kang tropes that were insufferably common in 1996.

The "academic" foundations of SJW had already been laid too: Judith Butler published "Gender Trouble" in 1990; Susan Faludi wrote "Backlash" in 1991; Kimberle Crenshaw coined "intersectionality" in 1989; if you're the type to blame French postmodernism Foucault was still warm in his grave and Derrida was a celebrity.

I'd say there's less of the Greenpeace/tree-hugging/save-the-whales/no-nuclear kind of stuff culturally associated with the left now than there was in the '90s. Climate change activism is big of course, but it's not a cultural shibboleth in the same way, I don't think.

Bill Clinton, of all people, deserves some credit for pushing back against leftist extremism - remember his "Sister Souljah moment"? Before he came along the Democratic Party, from what I understand, was much closer to being the parody of empty-headed liberals it's sometimes portrayed as.
 

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Look at Western stuff from the 1990s, and you'll see it wasn't normal for pop culture media to be political, let alone have identity politics - subtle or obvious - soak into everything.
 

Kosher Dill

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and you'll see it wasn't normal for pop culture media to be political
I think it's part of a larger shift toward the didactic, not just toward politicization. The '90s gave us stuff like "Captain Planet" and "FernGully", for example, but those were for kids. Back then "preachy" was something you said about unsubtle kids' media, but today everyone wants to be preached to.
 
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ToroidalBoat

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Back then "preachy" was something you said about unsubtle kids' media, but today everyone wants to be preached to.
Even the preachy was normally tame by Current Year standards.

And like others said, true equality was promoted, not this divisive hierarchy bullshit "equality" of "oppressor" and "marginalized" that lumps people into "communities" of identity.
 
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Syaoran Li

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I think one of the biggest reasons why the pseudo-punk SJW leftism of the 2010's was able to take root in the wider culture more successfully than the pseudo-hippie PC leftism of the 1990's was from social media.

Social Media is the real catalyst in all this, especially Twitter, and it was able to give woke culture a far greater amount of force projection than any other moral guardian movement.

Before, your options of getting the message our were far more limited and made it more obvious that the moral authoritarians were an extremely loud vocal minority.

Every so often in the 80's and 90's, you might have some redneck traditionalist from the Religious Right or some sneering soccer mom Karen from the PC Left get upset at whatever big name media that the youngsters liked and they'd raise a fuss.

But all they could do is boycott the show and write angry letters, and hope to God that Geraldo Rivera or Phil Donahue are having a slow enough week in the ratings to invite them on the show and bitch about how rock music and vidya were degenerate and sinful. It was far easier for the producers to dismiss the Karens and the traditionalists as the insufferable vocal minority they were.

Social media doesn't have that flaw. It's instantaneous, is far more widespread in its reach, and thanks to retweets and sharing posts and the whole echo chamber effect, it can make a small fringe issue look a lot bigger of a concern than it actually is.

Combine that with a far more consolidated media and tech landscape than there was at the start of the 2000's along with the Great Recession, an utterly compromised academic system that was paired with the most over-educated yet under-informed generation in history AKA Millennials, and the traditionalists finally having shat the bed enough times that the neocons cut the line and threw them under the bus once Bush was out of office. You got the conditions for the perfect cultural shitstorm.

It was the conditions for the perfect storm of an extreme left-wing cultural zeitgeist that began in 2011 in earnest with Occupy Wall Street and hit its fever pitch in 2020 with the George Floyd riots.

TLDR-Social media and its consequences have been a disaster for the entire human race.
 

Kosher Dill

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Social Media is the real catalyst in all this, especially Twitter, and it was able to give woke culture a far greater amount of force projection than any other moral guardian movement.
I don't agree that it's social media in particular. It's the ghost-ship culture that internet technology has created, where only a relative handful of people - quite often bizarre, autistic, or sociopathic people - are left controlling platforms and media outlets. Social media is just where these people currently congregate and form their echo chambers.
We've always had elites of various sorts, but the internet has allowed them to grow smaller, weirder, and more widely influential.

Amplifying the ghost-ship effect is that a lot of internet companies are new and still controlled to a large degree by their founders. Zuckerberg has more of an influence on Facebook than, say, the CEO of General Mills has on his company. So if you want to change the way the world communicates, just work on that one weirdo, his top lieutenants, and his friends, if any.
The chains binding society together are now made largely of weak links and single points of failure, and we're seeing the results of that.

Bringing this around: compare the current situation to the right-wing "Moral Majority" and similar. While this too was a case of a certain segment of society punching above its weight in national politics, they had to organize, and there were substantial numbers of people who agreed with Christian fundamentalist values, voted at the ballot box, and voted with their wallets.
By contrast, very few people actually want SJWism, but the right very few people do.
 

Dom Cruise

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Having an entire white cast wasn't uncommon. Friends was one of those. Friends and Seinfeld probably couldn't even be made today because of that.
This is one thing that has really gone wrong with media, there should be nothing wrong an all white cast just like there's nothing wrong with having an entire non-white cast, it just depends on the context of the material.
 

Mr. Bung

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It was all about inclusiveness without needing to pander. Like others have said you'd have the token Asian, Black, and wheelchair kid included in any group. Environmentalism was there but it was mostly in the form of "save the ozone, save the rainforests," I rarely remember climate change being mentioned at all. Guilting or shaming the public was also pretty rare.

Today, being a white male means you're literally a demon from hell if you're to listen to any of these people.
 
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TheProdigalStunna

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It was the conditions for the perfect storm of an extreme left-wing cultural zeitgeist that began in 2011 in earnest with Occupy Wall Street and hit its fever pitch in 2020 with the George Floyd riots.
It is interesting when you consider how much times have changed even since OWS. In its original state, OWS tended to avoid using the S-word or the C-words (socialism, capitalism, communism) and instead tended to focus on the much more narrow goal of financial reform. I'm aware that the philosophy of anarchism was indeed a part of it (and of course its own undoing), and that every group on the (very anemic at the time) far left latched onto it, but by and large it was primarily based around goals most Americans supported at the time. Campaign finance reform, re-instate Glass-Steagall, stop home foreclosures, etc. At the time, when I was a Ron Paul lolbertarian (and also a high schooler) I supported it because it was against "crony capitalism". Even the aesthetics tried to embrace a kind of Americanism. Look back at the old ADF videos and it was clear they wanted insane tankies as far away from the spotlight as possible. I'm not saying there weren't a lot of cancerous elements, especially near the end, but in the early days it was a Godsend compared to what we have now.

If OWS happened now, I can only imagine how bad it would be. DSA and Antifa would be given pride and prominence, flag burning would be necessary, property destruction would be rampant, the message would be incredibly divisive. The progressive stack would be ten times as bad. It would be a nightmare.
 

CDWLTY

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I was a small kid in the 90's, but a lot of the PC culture of the 90's did hang around into the first half of the 2000's.

Granted, this is from the mind of a small kid, so I'm mostly going to be bringing up stuff like kids' shows and the like.

Most of the PC culture of the 90's was just politeness, sappy PSA's, and diversity via tokenism like the Burger King Kids Club or kids shows like The Puzzle Place and Captain Planet.

But the token diversity of the Burger King Kids Club and similar kids cartoons was different from the woke forced diversity of today, with blackwashing, ugly gender blobs, and utterly unlikable "strong wahmmen" of 2010's pop culture.

Like, the white males weren't portrayed as inferior to the minorities and females, with the noted exception of Captain Planet, which was pretty mild compared to the stuff you see today.

They were all on a mostly equal footing and sometimes you'd have the white guy be the leader of the group, but it was mostly a coincidental thing.

Looking back on the media, especially the more ephemeral stuff like commercials and old sites or archived news articles and footage, the PC culture was mostly just "don't be an asshole" more than anything else.

Like, gay rights wasn't a new thing per se, but normies viewing it as a legit movement was very much a new thing.

Gay jokes were still very much a thing in pop culture, and teenagers often used gay as an insult all throughout the 90's and 2000's, but true and honest full-on homophobia and gay bashing was condemned, especially after Matthew Shepard got killed.

"Casual homophobia" of jokes and ribbing was acceptable, but was also kind of seen as childish and immature as you got older, especially as the 90's gave way to the 2000's. Like, it was okay and expected if you were a kid or a teen, or even in your early 20's in some areas.

But once you hit your late 20's/early 30's, being openly homophobic was seen as pathetic unless you were an outright redneck or hood rat. Everyone had a more "none of my business/you do you" mentality for most of the 90's and 2000's, barring the fundies or fringe groups like the lefty proto-SJW's and OG Antifa punks or Neo-Nazis and Militia spergs.

Actual homophobia involving physical violence or threats was a huge no-no even back then.
This misses the idea that 'faggot' was and still mostly is a term of endearment in male-dominated circles. It was a term you could use that on the surface seemed derogatory but allowed you to show your affection for your friends in a way that wasn't sappy or artificial.
"My Nigga" would be a close analog to many circles today. It's offensive to those outside that in-group, but it belies friendship in a way that's hard to replace.

A LOT of PC culture was built towards the idea that we focus on our commonalities, and try to build our identities apart from our race. We were supposed to build a sense of community by sharing our passions and likes with each other and reach across the racial divide, but that's not going to get votes these days, so back to identitarianism for us!
 

ToroidalBoat

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One tactic I've noticed of the "woke" of Current Year is to discourage labeling them - or identity politics - as such, likely to try and manipulate people into thinking of the "woke" way as the natural "default" way. For example, they'll claim "anyone who uses the term 'soyboy' is an alt-righter", or "anyone who uses the term 'identity politcs' is a white supremacist", or other BS.

Were the left or politically correct in the '90s trying to do that too, or did they identify themselves as liberal or leftist?
 
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5t3n0g0ph3r

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I remember a time, during the late 1990s, when I was trying to describe a person to one of my peers and how much of a hassle it was.
I tried pointing them out and my peer said they couldn't see them.
I tried describing the clothes the person wore and I still didn't get through.
I eventually said the person was "black" (didn't use "African American") and the person I was talking to said I was racist for pointing out the other person's ethnicity.
 
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Syaoran Li

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One tactic I've noticed of the "woke" of Current Year is to discourage labeling them - or identity politics - as such, likely to try and manipulate people into thinking of the "woke" way as the natural "default" way. For example, they'll claim "anyone who uses the term 'soyboy' is an alt-righter", or "anyone who uses the term 'identity politcs' is a white supremacist", or other BS.

Were the left or politically correct in the '90s trying to do that too, or did they identify themselves as liberal or leftist?
I think they mostly identified as liberal, leftist, or progressive.

As far as I can recall. most of the PC crowd of the 90's didn't work on the assumption that their beliefs were the default like the SJW's do.
 

Mr. ShadowCreek

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In hindsight, it's really hard to overstate how quickly America did a heel-turn over gay issues in such a relatively short time period. I definitely remember friends using gay and fag well into the late 00's, even 10's. And looking at the political scene, gay marriage is one issue that really came into acceptance in an unprecedented way. Paul Wellstone, probably the most left-wing senator at the time, voted for the Defense of Marriage Act in addition to most other Democrats. Hillary and Obama were both opposed in the '08 election. Now it's basically heresy if you don't support it, and very few Republicans will go up to bat in overturning it.

Looking back, even in the past 10 years the overton window on what is socially acceptable has shifted greatly. Watch some old Louis CK bits or early episodes of It's Always Sunny and you'll be bombarded with jokes that they wouldn't be caught dead making now. And if you told people just 10 years ago that virtually every media outlet and corporation would cheer on people burning down their own cities and disbanding the police in the name of justice, you would be considered insane.

Transgender kids weren't even a thing. Even in the 2000s they were rather taboo. You didn't see liberals coming out and saying 10 year old need hormones and blockers. 20 years ago the youngest transgender people were in their late teens. Because stopping puberty wasn't a thing either they already went though their natural puberty. Sure, their were tomboys and feminine boys but you weren't seen or be encouraged to be the other gender. I think that took off in the late 2000s with Jazz. Jazz first came along on 20/20 on 2006 and became father popular by the early 10s. Jazz then convinced a lot of kids they were also trans even when they weren't. When I was a kid in the 90s and early 2000s the thought of becoming the other gender was mind-blowing. Sure, we would what it would be alike. I wondered what it would be like to be a girl. But I didn't want to be one. I remember back then teachers would be confused and concerned if their was a kid who had gender problems. They may try to snap them out of it. Today, if a boy happens to be girly it means he's trans or if a girl is into boy stuff she trans.Considering I hung out with a lot of girls as a kid and even had some dolls I would probably be trooned out if I were a kid today.
 

Syaoran Li

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When did that delusion really take off? After Occupy? After TDS?
I'd say after GamerGate/Ferguson at the earliest and after the 2016 Election at the latest.

The years between 2011-2014 were sort of a slow burn and wokeshit was much more nascent and confined to the internet for the most part..

I first heard about SJW's from lurking on /cow/ back in 2012 when I was first getting interested in lolcows and I figured it was just a weird Tumblr fad or something and that was it. The topic got brought up mostly in threads regarding ADF or Tumblrinas, so it didn't seem too serious.

Anita Sarkeesian was the first SJW I saw who I felt could have mainstream credibility since she wasn't a highly visible freak show at first glance and knew how to talk to the normies. Even then, I underestimated how big she would get at her height.

Really, it was the internet slapfights of GamerGate combined with the IRL havoc in Ferguson that really kicked off the SJW cult going fully mainstream and spilling over into the real world, and both happened in the summer of 2014.

At the same time, I think this is the peak moment. It's the point of no return and depending on how things play out, it will either be the darkest hour before the dawn or the true beginning of the next Cultural Revolution.

But at the same time, I honestly think we may be more leaning towards a "darkness before dawn" scenario more than anything.

The blackpill doomers and the traditionalist faggots will no doubt disagree and consider me an eternal optimist, but if a relative normie like @The Last Stand is pissed off at what's going on, then I think it's not quite as bad we might think.

I think there's a lot of silent majority types who are trying to wait out this summer and vote in a second term for Trump. The radical leftists think that the revolution is now and that a new era has begun, but it remains to be seen if they proclaimed victory a little too soon.

The neoliberal bigwigs that run the big corporations and the DNC view BLM and Antifa as useful idiots at best and will cut the line if they're no longer useful or outright liquidate them if they are too dangerous of a liability.

Honestly, the best Trump can do right now is keep reminding the city and state governments that it's primarily their problem and not his right now, and for the GOP to actually maintain law and order in the red states and ensure any peaceful protests actually stay that way.

Really, I get the feeling that the GOP are trying to keep understated and relatively softball on the current situation at this moment so they can give the Dems just enough rope to hang themselves in November.
 
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