I want to start by saying; I fully embrace and value the diversity within our society!
There we are; that’s the political correctness statement done and dusted, now on to the subject matter and crux of this post…
You may (or may not) find additional PC comments within the following however, don’t hold your breath. If you do that’s fine, but they weren’t made because someone told me I had to, if you don’t, you’ll just have to live with it.
It’s my opinion, voiced because of the freedoms we (supposedly) have in our society and, even if we didn’t enjoy such freedom, I would still voice them any way. It is far better to actually speak your mind than hide behind something you neither believe in nor are uncomfortable expressing. Herein lays one of the fundamental problems of our society today.
Why are so many people actually uncomfortable expressing what they really believe? Why are we made to feel like we are walking on egg shells if we want to express an opinion about anyone who may be different from us, in any shape or form? Are human beings not all individual, diverse and prone to difference of opinion, based upon culture and upbringing? Is it so wrong or hard to believe that, someone my actually have a different set of opinions or beliefs to you? If not why not?
I believe the propensity for continually pushing political correctness and/or castigating any one who has an opinion, must shoulder much of the blame. Add to that the criminalization of certain words, acts or omissions that fall foul of numerous pieces of PC legislation and we have created a world where it is almost illegal to actually have an opinion. We are expected to think twice before we say or do absolutely anything, just in case we run the risk of offending someone. What a load of bollocks!
Throughout my life I have faced people who have a different opinion to mine or, totally disagree with my viewpoint. Have I collapsed into floods of tears or cried victimization? I haven’t but there are those who would say; “it’s ok for you, you’re white and heterosexual, I’m black and gay and I am being victimized because of my colour and sexual orientation”. If the latter statement is factually correct, then it is actually wrong however, if the person is simply being challenged about what they do or believe in, is that also wrong?
During my life I have met (and worked) with many people and I have been to several different countries. I have good friends who are gay or transsexual. I am friends with people who are black, brown and yellow who believe in Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and I even know a follower of Druidism and Wicca. Do I treat them in any different way to my white Christian heterosexual fishing buddy? No, why would I?
If anything I probably favour them in many ways, simply because I usually find their lives, their interests, beliefs and even their sexual orientation absolutely fascinating. It is different to me and mine, I want to understand, I want to learn about what makes them tick and why. Sometimes I am so interested it is nearly bordering on intrusive. Isn’t it this diversity in our life and our society that makes being a human being such a wonderful thing? But all this is being spoilt in many ways by political correctness.
“Political correctness does not legislate tolerance; it only organizes hatred” (Jacques Barzun – French Author & Educator)
“The two pillars of ‘political correctness’ are; a) wilful ignorance and b) a steadfast refusal to face the truth” (George MacDonald – Scottish author, poet, and Christian minister)
“Political correctness is simply a speed bump in the traffic of truth, free thought and speech.” (Unknown)
Apart from my inherent mistrust of and disbelief in political correctness per se, I believe that overtly pushing your beliefs or preferences on someone else is also wrong. From The Crusades to The Reformation or maybe even your local Gay Pride event (to a certain extent), are all examples of the methods used (by some) to foster your beliefs in someone who doesn’t already hold them. In many ways this type of action is reminiscent of the methods employed by Italy’s Benito Mussolini, Hitler in Nazi Germany or the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and maybe even the Rwandan dispute between the Hutu and Tutsi. It really doesn’t have to be that way!
As a small child in the early 1960’s, I grew up in Oxfordshire. My parents owned a pub which (even in those days) celebrated a diverse clientele; this was probably due to the University and its concentration of students from all over the world. My father once related a story to me that occurred when I was a very small boy; I think it illustrates a point…
Apparently, when I was a very small boy, there was a customer at the pub who worked in the building trade. He was called Herman, a second generation West Indian immigrant who owned his own small building outfit. He was about 6ft 5inch, just as wide, very muscular and always had a smile as wide as a builders bucket. One day my father and he were discussing the possibility of getting some sand; it was to be used in a sand-pit for my younger brother and I to play in.
At this point a small group of undergraduates entered the premises; they were very loud, very boisterous and so obviously worse for the amount of drink they had already consumed. Yes, although not nearly the widespread problem we have today, we even had drunken young men in the 1960s! As the group approached the bar, a member of that group shouted at my father (Frank); “get four pints of your best bitter over here landlord and make it bloody snappy!”
Quite obviously and especially if you knew the man, my father’s ethos of ‘manners cost nothing’ and somewhat of a Victorian type upbringing, made him take umbrage at the attitude of the drunken students. Well within his rights, he quietly and politely pointed out the unacceptable error of their ways and asked them to leave. At this point one of the smaller members of the group (apparently of Asian extraction) let loose with a loud tirade of slurred speech; “you refusing to serve us because I am black?” “Don’t you know it’s illegal to operate a colour bar old man?” “Just get the beer and don’t be so bloody stupid”.
At this point, Herman who had been quietly enjoying his beer after a hard day at work and observing the possibility of impending trouble came through to the main bar from the snug. On seeing that my father, a man small in stature but a giant amongst men, may be in need of support Herman stepped in and said to the students; “Frank aint got no colour bar man, you is carrying your own bar around with you… I think you best leave now else I will be making you go man! You understand?” Suffice it to say, the group hastily scurried out of the premises at a fair rate of knots. I think they might have (sensibly) feared for their wellbeing on seeing the bear of a man who was Herman… Little did they know that ‘bear’ was actually of the Teddy Bear variety!
The proverbial point of this story is; if you genuinely want to enjoy the benefits of being a truly valued part of a diverse and interesting society you really have to do your bit. If you crave the equal treatment, the equal opportunities and the respect of your diverse values and beliefs, you need to try to integrate; you also have to show some respect and understanding of the beliefs and values of others.
It is insufficient to continually hide behind diversity legislation and/or PC guidelines or indeed, try to use them in an attempt to mask your own inadequacies as a member of this country’s diverse society… If that is really what you want you are very welcome aboard this little Ark of diversity, pull up a bar stool and we’ll have a drink and chat about our backgrounds.
Can I buy you a beer or would you like a soft drink?
- How to be politically correct while still being political? (ask.metafilter.com)
- Mired in Political Correctness and Missing the Point (psychologytoday.com)
- Hideously diverse Britain: Wrongs and rights for whites (guardian.co.uk)
- Yvette Carnell: Why Is Pro-Black Being Attacked? The Unintended Consequence of Political Correctness (huffingtonpost.com)
- 12 reviews of Political correctness (rateitall.com)
- X stands for Political Correctness (beliefnet.com)