You know I usually come up on the left side of the fence on these topics but for once I’m going to head a little to the right. It seems like these days it is fashionable to be offended if you aren’t up on the current brand of political correctness you may end up on the wrong end of a political cursing out. This is not a good slope for our society to be climbing up on. I want to isolate the factors that are running wild in our world and in the end show where we are headed if this does not veer off.
Before I proceed I do not want to be mistaken in what I am trying to say. There is a measure of politeness that we should have in certain situations such as on the job in a nice restaurant and so on. I am talking about political correctness itself which applies to all walks of life be it in a fancy place or alone in your room at night.
The Makeup of the Political Correctness Movement:
Paranoia: One of the most driving factors of political correctness is paranoia. At one point in time we had these things called conversations; people would shoot the breeze, tell a joke laugh and move on. These days everyone is looking to be offended so anything that is said is a potential insult to them. I will give you an overblown example:
Burt: “Hey Roger”
Roger: “Hey Burt”
Burt: “It’s a nice day today.”
Roger: “Maybe but there were other days just as nice as this one.”
Burt: “I guess so…I’m just saying what a nice day it is.”
Roger: “Are you telling me I don’t know what a nice day looks like? I’m gone I’ll talk to someone who doesn’t look down on me.”
Roger is mad due to Burt’s politically incorrect commend. Roger is also reading evil intent on Burt’s part. To Roger it is obvious that Burt thinks little of him and therefore is a terrible person. Burt is left scratching his head not understanding what he said wrong. People tend to jump at the negative too much these days focusing on themselves and not even trying to understand the other person’s real intent. Even when the other person states it they still find offense either considering the person an inconsiderate idiot or a liar. This is paranoia and a little bit of self centeredness. Listen people! Everything is not always about you! What was once civilized conversation is turned into angry discourse. Due to this no one is ever a lasting ally. You can agree and team up against others for a while but if your ally agrees with you in the wrong way or disagrees once they are now the enemy. In the end you have no friends.
Everyone is Evil: Remember that intent statement I made a little while ago? Well in the world of political correctness everyone is evil and hates everyone…except for you. Again we are being a tad self centered. I myself do subscribe to the belief that everyone is evil and must work to maintain the good but I do not believe that everything someone says has evil intent attached. We are again searching for evil intent in every comment someone makes. As per the conversation above Burt is considered evil because he is purposefully belittling the other days holding this one up as superior. Burt had no grand intent for what he said and certainly has nothing against all other days. This perception is not paranoia but works under similar measures it is just thinking how others hate the world instead of saying how they hate you. These two are of course combined to form the thought “everyone hates everybody and everything including me…but I’m better than that and am different.”
Sterilization: George Carlin said it best in the end. We are taking away any emotion or meaning from our language. We are making things less and less personal until it either has no meaning at all. Let’s take the mental health field for example. Patient was one of the first words used to describe the people we see. It sounds nice enough we are treating an illness and therefore it has implication. Patient then became offensive as people were saying “it sounds like I’ve got an illness or something this makes me different from everyone else”. So we moved on to Client; this reflected that you were getting a service and didn’t have any reference to illness or setting someone out of the loop. It did, however, imply some level of power that the provider (current correct term) may have over the “Client” so we couldn’t have that and moved on to the word Consumer. Consumer showed that the person had total control over the services provided to them yet still kind of set them out as someone having a service performed for them so it was changed again to individual which becomes totally anonymous and has no feeling to it at all. Individual, of course started to sound a little like we were calling the people being treated “it” and became an offensive term so we changed back to consumer for the time being while we pondered it some more. This progression took place over the last 10 years. There was no implied malice in the word patient and it conveyed a meaning that everyone could understand for the treatment provided yet people saw malice in the word just as they will for consumer again and for what ever word replaces it.
Fad Driven: The language of political correctness is fad driven. Much like fashion the appropriate wording at the appropriate time is the difference from regular conversation or being offensive. You have to keep on top of things as these words can sometimes change quickly (just like dresses or outfits). Remember: What is considered appropriate and inoffensive today can be evil and intolerant tomorrow.
What are we headed for? Well eventually in our society as we are readily offended all the time any form of communication or non communication will be considered offensive. We as a society will isolate from one another staying to our monitors and computers fearing to see another human being. What communication we will have will be unfeeling and cold eventually crossing emotion totally off of the human spectrum. It will be a colorless tasteless society where information gathering replaces conversation and laughing or crying will be a thing of the past.
How can we save ourselves from this future? It is quite as simple as understanding one simple fact “you are not the center of the universe”. Once you realize this it becomes much easier to read intent in what people are saying. If someone is trying to be offensive it is very easy to tell this via body language and tone. If you are online and you have a question of a person’s intent simply ask them if they are being serious and start a conversation. I hate computer conversing as it is very hard to read expression into things. We use the same words and phrases without altering them so much we try and embrace the meaning so no one is confused or left out.
In the end there are two big points to take with you:
1. Understand that not everything is about you.
2. Approach conversation from a neutral view
If you follow both of these things you will laugh longer and enjoy life more.
Here’s hoping that we can make your life a little brighter.