By: Erin Havel
And start being polite and respectful. Political correctness is a buzz phrase we began exploiting in the 20th century. It has run its course and I, personally, am fine with doing away with it. However, what I am not fine with is doing away with being polite and respectful to others.
The current push to stop being politically correct is misguided. Especially when many screaming the loudest for its demise are also those who believe all terrorists are Muslim, all African Americans are criminals, and that changing the name of the Washington Redskins is far worse than offending an entire culture of Native Americans.
It’s not that anyone wants to stop being politically correct, per se. They just want to stop finding pieces in others to respect, and stop being polite about our differences. That’s all it is. Being “politically correct” in our society means trying to understand how another person might feel, and based on that understanding, thoughtfully consider our words before causing harm.
We teach our children to not call people names. We tell them to not bully someone for being unlike themselves. Yet, when we grow up we toss those lessons aside because it makes us feel better.
It feels good to be privileged. It feels good that we are not at the bottom of the pack. It feels good to put down others in order to raise ourselves up. We have done this to every minority since the begining of time. Take your pick on which group we correctly decided was unworthy of our respect; Slaves? Women? Gay people? Transgendered people? Mexicans? The Irish? People with disabilities? The Japanese? How about Italians? or the Jews?
Our idea of political correctness has nothing to do with religion, or politics. Rather, it has everything to do with being kind to one another. Have you been injured by someone? Are you afraid of someone? Then say that. Educate yourself. Don’t call a person names and belittle them with lables used to define who you think they are. Faggot, spook, wetback, Jesus freak, mick, towel head, gook, gringo, kraut, cracker, half-breed, liberal, conservative… I’m sick of it.
We do not all agree. We never will. But what happened to having spirited respectful debates? What happened to agreeing to disagree? When did we become so arrogant to believe we can say whatever we want, and it does not matter who we hurt?
Saying goodbye to political correctness does not mean we can say goodbye to good manners. Talking with people unlike ourselves, learning from them instead of stereotyping them is what will lead to a more peaceful world. Political correctness is, and has always only been, one feeble attempt to encourage us all to coexist. Don’t we want that?
So let’s do it. Let’s stop being politically correct. What’s next?