Sean Lennon has warned that political correctness may be segregating society and "over-sensitising people" to skin colour.
The 45-year-old musician – whose father John sang "Imagine all the people living life in peace", and whose mother is Yoko Ono – posted a lengthy thread on Twitter, musing: "Race relations seem to be in the middle of a ‘two steps back’ moment."
He tweeted: "When I was young ppl used to say racist s*** about Asians around me all the time and then be like ‘Oh sorry! But you’re not reeeally Asian so…’ and I think they sincerely thought that would make me feel better.
"I’m not exactly sure why I brought that up but I think it’s because I want to say that I grew up in a time when there was zero political correctness.
"I literally saw political correctness being invented right in front of me (at certain schools) and then distributed and eventually enforced as a mindset and ideology."
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He went on: "When I grew up New York truly felt like a melting pot. It wasn’t perfect, but ppl did not self segregate along tribal lines to the degree that I am seeing today. There is something wrong with the strategy and direction we have chosen, in academia, in politics, and elsewhere.
"It’s not working. And to be clear I am not blaming all of the bad things we are seeing in culture today on political correctness. Yes we inherited a problematic history (yada yada) and I think PC culture has achieved some good and some progress for society.
"I am simply saying we should check our strategy if we are not getting the results we intended. I don’t know what the solution is, but I suspect that over sensitizing ppl to arbitrary characteristics like skin colour may be doing more harm than good."
Lennon said the racist abuse he receives on social media has never been worse and is often filled with "WWII era" racist terminology.
He concluded by invoking Martin Luther King, who famously said: "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character."
Lennon said: "I know very well that the idea of being ‘colour blind’ is out of fashion, that MLK’s vision of character over skin colour is considered to be naive. But that vision surely made our society better. I’m not sure the modern vision of ‘race consciousness’ is making things better."
The death of George Floyd one year ago sparked Black Lives Matter protests around the world, which in turn sparked a debate over "critical race theory" – which reframes American history around the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans.
Critics of the theory argue it divides people into categories of "privileged" or 'oppressed' based on their skin colour, while supporters say it is vital to eliminating racism because it examines the ways in which race influences American politics, culture and the law.
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