Why 'Political Correctness' Won't Save Us

Why 'Political Correctness' Won't Save Us

I've never been able to completely subscribe myself to this notion that political correctness is one of the key remedies for a diseased society.

And despite what this Donald Trump character or any other fascists may have you believe, it's not because I'm racist. It's not because I'm prejudice. And it's not because I'm desperately seeking an excuse to spread any other form of hatred.

The Merriam Webster Dictionary describes the term Politically Correct as 'conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated'.

Now I don't entirely agree with this idea. (Which is to also say that I don't entirely disagree).

But it does beg a few questions...

The first being; who exactly is it that gets to decide what is and isn't classified as politically correct?

In toying with the question it became obvious that political correctness is a social construct that changes over time. It's a seed planted by the few in power and adopted by the masses.

During one era it was politically correct for a black slave to refer to their white counter part as 'Master'. But thankfully things have changed a little since then! Which should move us to revisit the question, how can we then use such a dramatically changing and time bound concept as a respective measurement of our humanity?

It might be time to consider the possibility that putting the PC bug to bed and finding other ways to make the world more habitable, might actually hold some merit.

But first and foremost we should probably face the fact that we need a better reality, not a better illusion...

We convince ourselves that pushing the PC agenda makes the world a better place. But this is far from the truth. The world doesn't become 'bad or good' merely as a result of what people say. We know that the things people say are merely an extension of how they think and feel anyway.

In short, the only way we can really improve society is by positively influencing the way people think, feel and view the world.

But this feat becomes pretty problematic if we don't even know what these thoughts and feelings are to begin with.

Unfortunately when people show their ignorance or as I'd like to put it 'their need for education', it also exposes a potentially bigger problem. The bigger problem is that we've become more comfortable with shaming these people as opposed to actually educating them. And to be fair, this attitude says much more about our own flaws than it does theirs.

It's only through education that we can lift their veil of ignorance.

We really can't expect people to learn or evolve individually or as a society when we create a culture that instils a fear of 'getting it wrong'. We need to create a society where people aren't so ashamed to be pulled up on their ignorance. Which in turn may hopefully leave them a little more open to learning from those who are pulling them up.

A Lesson from Srebrenica...

I visited Bosnia last spring to research the Srebrenica massacre. While talking to one of the many survivors he echoed time and time again; that to move beyond the hate and avoid a repetition of these disgusting acts of genocide we need to foster honest and open dialogue between disconnected cultures and communities. Where people are free to ask the awkward questions, get things wrong and say the things that our tongues get tied up saying. Even if at first it's painful or uncomfortable.

Kind conversations would be nice. But honest conversations are needed.

We need to harness real relationships...

If you've been reading those articles with what I feel to be condescendingly aggressive titles such as "10 things never to ask a black person" or "Five things POC wish you wouldn't say" please rest assured that when you're around me, you can ignore them.

A world that stifles honest dialogue is not something that I want to be a part of creating.

How can we expect to address social problems while essentially encouraging people to cover them up?

I'm all for creating a world where people are less inclined to say hurtful things or spew out hoards of negativity. But I don't believe that a world which is free of those things could be attributed to 'political correctness'. I'd simply attribute this to love and respect.

In our desire to be good people, please let's not allow ourselves to get lost in the illusion of positive repression. To repress or cover something up allows it to grow unmonitored - giving it space to grow stronger than it would if we'd have had it under adequate surveillance.

As far as I'm concerned the only thing that could possibly be more dangerous than creating a world of hate, is creating a world of hidden hate. Where we leave that hidden hate to grow while it builds it's strength, quietly unseen, until it strikes in it's full force.


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