In the United States there has been plenty of conversation about Political Correctness (PC). Being politically correct is avoiding language or actions that are used to insult other groups of people.
The main question, “Have we become too politically correct?”
I’m probably going to offend some here – so I hope you just read me out.
What? Have we become too politically correct? Are you kidding me?
Of course…taking into account people’s feelings and not wanting to cause undue duress is completely overrated. (Dripping with sarcasm-if I can’t use it in my home, I’ll use it here.)
In my lifetime I’ve always tried to be PC, mainly because I don’t want to hurt other people – but I’ve had my moments as well.
My husband was a college football coach when I met him. I was a lifelong supporter and advocate of the arts. Inherently, this means I didn’t like him. Nope – not one bit. Not at all. One day we happened to be exiting a building on campus at the same time and were heading in the same direction. He continued to walk beside me even though I was…well…annoyed at his presence.
We were making small talk when I said, “I meant that as a metaphorical reference. You do know what I mean by that, right?”
He stops in his tracks and stares me down, “You think I’m some dumb jock don’t you?”
My brain was RACING…of COURSE I did. He’s a football coach and I knew just enough about his past…he was also an All-American tight end, a High School Hero, and a former PE teacher. I was also trying to stop my brain because I knew I shouldn’t assume. I think he saw this conversation going on inside my brain as I remained silent but probably had this look on my face.
He finally responded, “I also played the cello in my school’s orchestra, I had one of the highest GPA’s in my graduating class, I achieved a 31 on my ACT’s…”
I stopped listening…but he kept going. Telling me all the reasons he was not, in fact, a dumb jock.
Well, damn. I knew better – but here I was assuming.
Political correctness is opposite of assuming.
I’ve also felt it in my life. I grew up on a farm in a conservative family. I now teach at a Liberal Arts College…which happens to employ plenty of liberal-thinking folks. When others attack conservatism or large farms it hurts – not because I necessarily agree or disagree with what is being said, but because it is a part of me.
Phrases like, ‘Those Republicans’ or ‘You know farmers’ light my fire. Because those phrases play on assumptions. My parents are proud Republicans and they don’t always agree with everything other Republicans do or think. My parents are proud farmers and they are constantly taking care of the land and working to feed the world.
Here is a BIG difference though – athletes, farmers, and conservatives are not generally socially disadvantaged or marginalized in our society…and it still hurts. So just imagine. Imagine what it’s like to be a member of a marginalized, disadvantaged, or less privileged part of society and continually hear rude, demeaning comments. Not just once in awhile – but often and from people who you perceive have power over you.
So, yes – I’m politically correct. I’m politically correct because I don’t appreciate it when people assume things about me. I’m politically correct because I don’t want to hurt others. I’m politically correct because I never know someone else’s struggle in life.
I’m politically correct because when someone says the word, ‘retarded’ I cringe.
I cringe for them – that they don’t know better. That they have yet to know and love a person who has differing intellectual abilities.
I cringe for them – because maybe they just are that insensitive to another’s experience.
I cringe for my Tucker. The last thing he needs is to be reminded of his differences or his marginalized standing in society. His road is tough enough as it is.
So, yes – I am politically correct and I will continue to be. Not just for Tucker – but for all the people I have yet to meet, for all the people I have yet to hear their story, for all the people who feel marginalized, for all the people who feel ‘less.’
I refuse to add to an existing struggle…life is hard enough as it is.